We are ardent fans of reviewing pensions regularly to ensure they remain on track. However, the information you need to do this might not always be available. What if you have lost track of your pension scheme?
If you change jobs, it can be easy to misplace or lose old workplace pension information. This article aims to inform you about how you can find old pensions and boost your retirement funds.
Tracking down an old pension.
Losing track of an old pension is not catastrophic, so there’s no need to panic. The simplest means of relocating it is via the pension tracing service on the government website. All you need to do is enter some basic information, and you can start your search.
Of course, dealing with pensions can be a bit stale and time-consuming. Therefore, you might consider using a regulated financial advisor to help. Check out Portafina. Once they’ve found it, they can also assess your pension and compare it to other current products.
Valuing your pensions.
If you’ve lost track of a pension, it’s unlikely you are still contributing to it. Therefore, it will not have grown significantly since your contributions ceased. However, your pension could be worth a fair bit of money, and you should find out how much.
It’s also good to know what features your pension has, as these can often influence what you do with your pension. For instance, you might have an older pension, and these tend to come with higher fees.
As with tracking your pension, a financial advisor can help you assess your pension’s value and features. Then, you can make the best decision regarding what to do with it. A few options available follow below.
Transfer your pension funds.
One of your options is to transfer your pension funds to another scheme. Why might you want to do this?
The first reason is to cut down on management charges. As we mentioned above, older pensions tend to have higher fees, which can erode your pension’s growth. Also, a different pension might perform better, which is an excellent reason to switch.
Another benefit of switching to a more modern scheme is that it could fall under Pension Freedoms regulations. Introduced in 2015, these changes allow many pension-holders to access their funds from 55.
Before switching to another pension scheme, it may be prudent to speak with a financial advisor. They can guide you through your options and help you make the best decision.
Another option you might have is pension release. We say it might be because not all pensions include this feature. With pension release, from age 55, you can take up to 25% of your pension funds in tax-free cash. The remainder can stay invested, or you can take further lump sums, but these are taxed.
Although the prospect of a significant cash lump sum might seem appealing, you should think carefully before taking it. Removing too much money from your pension fund could leave you short of income in retirement. Before making a decision, consult a regulated financial advisor.
Restart your contributions.
You could have an option to restart your contributions into an old pension scheme. However, not all schemes allow you to do this, and whether you can depends upon the initial pension terms.
Even if you can restart contributions, that might not be your best option. It would be best to have a financial advisor assess your pension plans, compare them to other available products, and decide after that.
You might have thought it is challenging to lose track of a pension, but it happens frequently. If you are in this situation, hopefully, this article will set you on the path to finding your old pensions and boosting your retirement income.