Saving enough money for a comfortable retirement is tough enough without having money locked away in a frozen pension that is forgotten.
Hundreds of thousands of retirement savers have money in lost pensions.
At the latest count the amount of cash adds up to at least £400 million mostly left behind when workers changed jobs and failed to keep fund managers up to date with a forwarding address.
Savers also lose track of their pensions when a firm they worked for goes bust or is swallowed in a merger.
The data is stored by the government’s Pension Tracing Service.
Expats can trace lost pensions for free
Pensions Minister Ros Altmann explained that thousands of expats may have money tied up in frozen pensions and that they can use the free service to try and find them.
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Once identified, the funds can stay where they are or are available for consolidation in another pension or even a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS).
Any money locked in a frozen pension still belongs to the retirement saver, regardless of how long the cash has been on deposit.
The updated Pension Tracing Service is available online, telephone or letter.
The service allows retirement savers trying to find lost pensions from workplace or personal schemes, funds set up for civil servants, National Health Service workers, teachers or those who have served in the armed forces.
Beware copycat scammers
Altmann disclosed that government research found that the average worker changed jobs at least 11 times and may leave pensions behind every time they switch employers.
“If they know their employers they can find who is managing their pension and are given the details to contact them for reuniting with missing funds,” said Altmann.
She also warned that bogus pension tracing schemes that closely resemble the government web site will try and charge fees for accessing the free service.
“All they do is charge you to input the details into the government web site, if you have the information, then it’s easy to do yourself. If you have a problem, just give the helpline a call,” said the minister.
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