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What to do if you’ve got multiple pensions from multiple jobs

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What to do if you’ve got multiple pensions from multiple jobs

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Gone are the days where we enter the workforce with one company and stay there for the remainder of our working lives. While this may have been the norm for older generations, job hopping is much more common for Millennials and Gen Z, with a recent study finding that Millennials will have at least 12 different jobs in their lifetime.

So what does this mean for our pensions? While your pension is probably something you’re not thinking of right now (we’re more concerned with whether we can ever afford a house, thank you very much), it’s certainly something you should have in the back of your mind. 

“A pension is designed to be a long-term investment (usually decades-long). The magic of saving into a pension is that you benefit from compound interest, that is interest that is built up over time, so the longer you invest, the better,” Samantha Gould, pensions expert at NOW:Pensions says. 

“It’s good to understand how much money you have saved into your pensions, as this will help you get a clear picture of the type of retirement you might enjoy.”

The good news is that those who entered the workforce after 2012 and were aged over 22 and earning more than £10,000 in a single role would have automatically been enrolled into a workplace pension. So it’s likely you’ll already have some pension funds squirrelling away. 

The bad news? If you’ve already had several jobs then it’s likely that you will have several different pensions with several different companies, which can make it tricky to keep track of them all.

If this is you, then it might be time to start thinking about consolidating your pensions – i.e. combining all of your pension pots into a singular pot to make it easier to keep track of.

How to consolidate your pension pots

The first thing you need to do is write down all of your previous jobs and the pension providers for each. 

“Every year your pension providers will write to you with your ‘annual benefit statement’. We all put them in a kitchen ‘drawer of shame’ so dig those out to find the name of your old pension provider and email them to find out more about your savings,” Gould explains. 

If you can’t find which pension provider your old company used, then Gould suggests contacting your old company – usually via the HR or finance department – to find out who their pension provider is. 

Gould adds that you will need your National Insurance Number for this, and an easy tool to use could be the government’s free Pension Tracing Service to track down a lost workplace pension.

Once you’ve found where all of your pensions are, it’s time to combine them into one pot. Unfortunately, says Gould, there is no easy way to do this. 

“At the moment, there is no automatic way of reuniting pensions with their owners so it is something that you will need to investigate,” she adds. 

While you can leave all of you pensions in their separate pots, the benefits of combining them include saving money, convenience, and achieving better pension growth. 

You will need to decide which pension provider you want to have your singular pot with. For this it’s good to consider what investment options and charges this pension provider offers. 

You can then ask for your existing pots to be transferred to this pot by telling your new pension provider as many details about your old pots as possible. They will then contact each provider to move your pensions across. You can expect this process to take a few months.

Before combining your pensions, it’s best to speak to a financial advisor to figure out what the best route for you would be.

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