“Pensions blind spot” means one in five people could end up with less in retirement

27 February 2020

We explain how you can track down any lost pension pots

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A “pensions blind spot” means one in five people could end up not getting the retirement they hope for.

According to a survey of over 2,000 people by the Association of British Insurers (ABI), 19% of people do not access information about their pensions.

The research comes as Parliament debates the Pensions Schemes Bill. The Bill includes legislation for the introduction of the pensions dashboard, an initiative to allow pension savers to see all of their savings pots in one place.

Research by the Pensions Policy Institute (PPI) estimates that one in five adults has lost a pension  – collectively worth £19.4 billion.

When asked where they wanted to access the information about all of their pensions in one place, 20% of people said a government service, while 49% of people said they preferred their pension provider.

Tracking pension pots

A separate survey from consumer group Which? has found that pension savers are having difficulty in tracking down their retirement pots.

The group asked 12 volunteers to track down key pieces of information about their pension schemes.

Three-quarters of the group encountered gaps in their data, while only a quarter were able to find all the requested information via paper statements, online accounts and phone calls.

Which? also questioned 300 members on whether they would use a pensions dashboard to manage their retirement. More than three quarters said they would be likely use the dashboard to find out about their pensions.

Rob Yuille, assistant director and head of long-term savings at the ABI, says: “People need support to engage with their pensions to make sure their retirement lives up to their expectations. Pensions dashboards will be critical to achieving this.

“To make it easier for people to engage, both Government guidance services and private companies, like pension providers and banks, need to be able to offer pension dashboards. Employers, charities and trade unions could also provide these services, so that people can access the information wherever is comfortable and convenient for them.”

What is the pensions dashboard?

With the average person having 11 jobs in their lifetime, keeping track of multiple pension pots can be confusing.

The pensions dashboard will allow you to see all of your pensions in one place online.

Experts believe the pensions dashboard has the potential to significantly change the way people engage with their existing pots, giving them greater control over their savings and ensuring they have a more comfortable retirement.

The Department of Work and Pensions estimates that without pensions dashboards, 50 million  pots will be lost or dormant by 2050.

The pensions dashboard was first announced in the 2016 Budget, with the Government originally planning to launch it in 2019.

However, after various delays, industry experts now believe that a prototype will not be available until 2021 at the earliest.

How to track your pensions down

When planning for retirement you need to know how much income you will be receiving from all of your pensions.

For people who lose track of their pensions all is not lost as the Government provides a free online pensions service which allows you to search for lost workplace pensions.

All you need is the name of an employer or a pension provider to use the service.

Alternatively, you can contact the Pension Tracing Service by post or your former employer.

When you have tracked down all your funds you can then consider combining your pensions into a single plan to make them easier to manage and to reduce fees.

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