Over time, it is easy to lose touch with pension savings providers as we change jobs, move home and the companies we have worked for change ownership or close down.
All these events over time may make it very difficult to find your valuable pension savings. So that means potentially ending up with a number of different pension pots. If you’re one of the millions of people with multiple pensions, it may be appropriate to consider consolidating your defined contribution pension pots and bring them together.
Number of different pensions
Even if you have not had many jobs, you could still have a number of different pensions to keep track of. If appropriate, pension consolidation can simplify your finances and make it easier to keep track of your retirement savings.
Having said this, not all pension types can or should be transferred. It’s important to obtain professional advice so you know and can compare the features and benefits of the plan(s) you are thinking of transferring.
What is pension consolidation?
Pension consolidation is the process of combining multiple pension pots into one single pot. This can be done with a pension transfer or by opening a new pension and transferring your other pensions into it. You may want to do this to make it easier to keep track of your retirement savings, or to try and get a better rate of return on your investment.
But there are a few things to consider before consolidating your pensions, such as any exit fees that may be charged, and whether or not you will lose any valuable benefits such as guaranteed annuity rates.
Consolidating your pensions
Reasons why you might want to consolidate your pensions
Simplify your finances: If you have multiple pension pots, it may be difficult to keep track of them all. Consolidating your pensions into one pot could make it easier to manage your retirement savings.
Save on fees: If you have multiple pensions with different providers, you may be paying multiple annual fees. Consolidating your pensions may help you save money on fees.
Get better investment options: Some pension providers offer a limited number of investment options. By consolidating your pensions it could give you access to a wider range of investments.
Reasons why you may not want to consolidate your pensions
Loss of valuable benefits: One key disadvantage is that you may lose out on valuable benefits that are specific to certain pension schemes. For example, some schemes may offer better death benefits than others, so consolidating your pensions into one pot could mean giving up this valuable protection.
Paying higher fees: Another potential downside is that some schemes may have higher charges than you are actually currently paying, which means you would end up paying higher fees. This is something that needs to be carefully considered before making any decisions.
More difficult to access: It’s important to remember that once you consolidate your pensions, it may be more difficult to access them early if you need the money for an emergency. This is something that should be taken into account when making any decisions about pension consolidation.
Locate your pension funds
If you think you might have lost a pension pot from a previous job, you can use the government’s Pension Tracing Service at www.gov.uk/find-pension-contact-details.This enables people to locate money previously saved for retirement, that is unclaimed. So, it is worth checking if you could have pension funds that have not been claimed.
Finally, one thing you also need to bear in mind is that pension savings are big targets for fraudsters. If someone contacts you unexpectedly offering to help you transfer your pot, it’s likely to be a scam. If you’re concerned, contact the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to check they’re legitimate.
A PENSION IS A LONG-TERM INVESTMENT NOT NORMALLY ACCESSIBLE UNTIL AGE 55 (57 FROM APRIL 2028 UNLESS PLAN HAS A PROTECTED PENSION AGE).
THE VALUE OF YOUR INVESTMENTS (AND ANY INCOME FROM THEM) CAN GO DOWN AS WELL AS UP WHICH WOULD HAVE AN IMPACT ON THE LEVEL OF PENSION BENEFITS AVAILABLE.
YOUR PENSION INCOME COULD ALSO BE AFFECTED BY THE INTEREST RATES AT THE TIME YOU TAKE YOUR BENEFITS.