16th April 2013
Twenty-three per cent of UK adults have lost track of at least one pension according to research of more than 2000 adults by Age UK.
It also found that 23% of younger workers aged between 25 and 34) have already worked for five to six employers – matching the average total for those aged 65 or over.
The poll of 2,312 people commissioned to understand more about people’s attitudes and plans for retirement, reveals that 30 per cent of UK adults would try to trace a pension if they realised they had lost track of it. However, people are unsure about how and where to start hunting these pensions down.
Age UK gives the following reasons behind the UK’s missing pensions:
47% are simply ‘lost in the mists of time’
20% of people say they have lost their pension paperwork
10% blame the fact that they’ve moved jobs too many times to keep track of their pensions.
It says that younger generations are more likely to have lost track of a pension, with 37% of those aged 18-44 already having experienced this
The research also found that the average person over 65 has worked for around 6 (5.6) employers in total, while a quarter (23%) of those aged 25-34 have already worked for a similar number – yet have more than approximately 35 years left before they are likely to retire. Age UK indicates that the younger generation will almost certainly have a greater variety of pension pots as they get older.
It also found 24% of adults said that they were aware that they should be financially planning for their retirement, but currently can’t afford to.
Tracing a pension
Age UK’s research shows that there is much confusion and uncertainty about how to trace a pension. If they realised that they’d lost a pension, nearly a quarter (23%) of potential pension-hunters would ask previous employers for help; 15% would consult the government or tax office; 11% would look online for advice; and seven per cent would turn to a friend or relative for help.
Lucy Harmer, Head of Services at Age UK, said: ‘It’s really important we all set aside time to keep on top of our personal admin, such as organising paperwork and keeping details of any financial products safe and secure. This is especially crucial for pensions as it may be some years down the line until they need to be accessed.
‘With the number of jobs we have over a lifetime increasing, it’s likely that people will accumulate several small pension pots. In many cases these bring a less fruitful income in later life than one large pension pot.’
Tips from Age UK on finding a lost pension include:
Collect as much information about your previous employer as possible including names, the type of business it ran, previous addresses and scheme dates
Search for any paperwork that you may have received with the pension
Type of pension – try to remember if it was a workplace or personal pension
Call the Pension Tracing Service which can help to track down your lost pension on 0845 600 2537.