4. Tracing a lost personal pension
Do you remember taking out a personal pension but cannot now recall any details about it? If you do, you are not alone. Thousands of people every year try to trace their lost workplace pension. It can often be a little bit more difficult than tracing a lost workplace pension because you don't have an employer or former employer to contact to obtain the details of the pension provider. However, don't be disheartened, many people successfully track down their old pensions every year. Follow our steps below:
Start at home
Have you moved house in the past few years? That can be one of the major reasons for losing pension paperwork. Whether you have or not, the best place to start looking is at home. Think about where you keep official documentation such as your driving licence, benefit information or bank statements. Don't just flick through all of this, you need to scan them carefully to see if there is any mention of words like pension, contributions or annuity.
Have you ever used the services of a financial adviser? If so, you may have taken advice from them when taking out your personal pension; in which case contact them and see if they have any details.
If you have a partner, it may be worth asking them, as they may remember the time when you took it out and may remember the name of the pension provider in question. Friends too may be worth asking, just because many people discuss financial decisions with friends and they may have recommended a provider to you.
If you are still struggling to find your personal pension, then you can use a service run by the government that was set up to help people trace pensions they may have lost track of. You can call them on 0845 6002 537 or go to their website www.gov.uk/find-lost-pension.
I now know who my pension provider is. What details will I need to provide?
The simple answer to this is as many details as possible. You need to provide as many of the following as you can:
- Name (both now and your name at the time you took the policy out, if different)
- Address (current and the address you resided at when taking the policy out)
- Date of birth
- National Insurance number
- Date joined
This should hopefully get you the details of your lost pension. Now it is important to find out more about it.
The questions you need to ask
Unlike a workplace pension, you do not need to ascertain what sort of scheme it is because as it is a personal pension, it will be a defined contribution scheme, also known as a money purchase scheme. The questions you need to ask include:
- What is the value of your pension pot?
- What is the current value of your pension pot?
- What is the estimated value of your pot on your expected retirement date?
- Are there any pension scheme management charges? How much are they?
- How is the pension pot being invested?
- What death benefits does the scheme have? How much would my nominated person receive in the event of my death?
- Is there a name on file as my nominated beneficiary if should I die? Who is it?
- Are there any charges if I were to transfer my pension elsewhere? How much would they be?
- Can I start contributing to the pension again, should choose to?
Once you have these details, it is important to take advice as to what your next actions should be. Dependent upon the provider, you may have several options as to what to do with your pension pot including: doing nothing and simply taking it when you retire, transferring it to another provider or combining it with other pension pots you may have. As to what it is best to do, that will depend upon a number of factors including what your retirement expectations are.