Published On: Fri, Oct 27th, 2023

Man tracks down six lost pensions and puts thousands towards moving house | Personal Finance | Finance

A man from Somerset has been able to reclaim £8,000 from lost and forgotten after using the Government’s pension tracing service.

Ceri Hatton, 61, who lives in Bridgwater, said he found four pensions while a further two were identified after pension companies got in touch.

Mr Hatton said: “I was considering slowing down for my retirement. I read about unclaimed pensions and ended up finding four pensions and two found me! They were all for quite small amounts so I cashed them in and ended up with around £8,000.

“Whilst this amount wasn’t life-changing it was still a welcome surprise to receive cash I hadn’t been expecting and it’s enabled me to move house.

“It’s also made me realise just how important it is to keep track of these things and every week I now keep an eye on my other pensions and how they are performing.”

Mr Hatton said he found the whole experience “very easy”. He explained: “Pension companies want you to have your money and I felt the whole journey was very positive. Everyone involved was very helpful.

“I’d recommend that anyone, especially those nearing retirement age who have been working all their lives, check if they have lost a pension.

“I had worked for several companies as well as being self-employed over the years and it’s so easy to forget what you have and for that money just to disappear. I plan to retire in a few years and this little bit extra has given my finances a little extra boost.”

A pension is one of the biggest investments most people will ever make, however, a YouGov survey, commissioned by the National Pension Tracing Day campaign, found that while 95 percent of Britons who’ve owned a car can recall the model and brand of their first motor, less than half (44 percent) can remember the company that provided their first pension.

A significant 78 percent of respondents who have a pension plan have accumulated between one to three pension pots in total, with six percent having four to six pots. However, 16 percent don’t even remember how many pensions they have.

This lack of awareness could be contributing to the growing number of unclaimed pensions, which has surged by over a third to approximately £27billion since 2018.

Alan Morahan, chief commercial officer at wealth advisory firm Punter Southall, said: “The fact nearly everyone can remember their first car but not their first pension supports what most of us already know: making people more interested in their pensions is really tough, even if it means finding thousands of pounds you didn’t know about.

“Around one in 20 people in the UK may have lost pensions, estimated to be worth on average £9,500 each and finding them could make a significant difference to their retirement.

“We urge people to think back and use our simple checklist to see if they might have overlooked a pension. With approximately £27billion waiting to be claimed, it is a concrete opportunity.”

If a person discovers they have a pension gap, there are a number of ways people can track down their old pots, one being through the Government’s Pensions Tracing Service.

The tool doesn’t disclose the value of a person’s pension, but it will provide details of schemes a person has opted into. People just need the name of their employer or pension provider to conduct the search.

Another way to trace a pension is through Gretel, a free online hub which reunites consumers with lost and dormant accounts. To use Gretel, people just need to input their address and date of birth, after which it will conduct a free search.

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