Pension service swamped by 250,000 calls as Britons scramble to track down lost savings | Personal Finance | Finance newsbhunt

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Britons who could be missing out on thousands of pounds in pension savings have flocked to the phonelines to try and track down their lost money.

The Pension Tracing Service has received a total of 251,733 phone calls between July 2018 and August 2023. Figures suggest the average lost pension is worth £9,500.

Researchers at investment group Hargreaves Lansdown uncovered the phone calls figure through an FOI request. Helen Morrissey, head of retirement analysis, said: “This is just a fraction of the potential need with the Pensions Policy Institute last year estimating the number of lost pension pots at 2.8 million.

“Tracking down a lost pension could have a transformative effect on your retirement so taking the time to think through what pensions you have and filling in any gaps could be an hour extremely well spent.”

A person may lose track of a pension pot when they take up a new job or when they change their personal details such as their address.

Ms Morrisey encouraged people to check if they have any forgotten pension savings, as they could make a huge difference for a person’s retirement.

She explained: “The pension may only be small but over time it will grow, and you could be missing out on thousands of pounds that could contribute towards your pension income.

“This could prove the difference between having to scrimp and save to get by in retirement or being a bit more comfortable. It could also give you the flexibility to retire a little earlier or go part-time in your final working years.”

How to track down a lost pension

The group also provided some tips for how to track down a lost pension:

  • Make a list of all employment and check for pension paperwork for each place
  • Talk to any old colleagues to see whether they kept any of the paperwork
  • For those who have lost details of an old pension scheme, contact the Government’s tracing service, which may be able to provide contact details. The tracing service is available on 0800 731 0193 – Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm.

To avoid losing track of pensions, it’s good practice when moving home to add pension providers to the list of people to notify of this, so they have up to date details.

A person with several pensions can also consolidate them to avoid losing track of them. The group said: “This can help you have a much clearer idea of exactly how much you have, so you can plan with more certainty.”

However, the experts said people should think carefully before they consolidate as there may be extra costs involved. The group explained: “Some pensions might operate expensive exit fees if you transfer, or you might miss out on valuable benefits like guaranteed annuity rates, so take advice or guidance as necessary to make sure you come to the right decision for you.”

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