Action needed to address 'looming problem of lost pensions'

Concerns have been raised over the “looming problem of lost pensions”, after research from Hargreaves Lansdown found that one third of 18-24 and 35-44 year olds have three or more pensions.

In total, the survey found that 45 per cent of savers had one pension, whilst over a quarter (28 per cent) had two and 12 per cent had three.

However, younger people were more likely to have accumulated a larger number of pensions, with one third of 18-24 and 35-44 year olds stating that they have three or more pensions, compared to 22 per cent of those aged 55-64.

Hargreaves Lansdown warned that younger people are also likely to have several more jobs in their lifetime and therefore could risk losing track of several pensions.

Indeed, recent research from Blacktower FM also found that 17 per cent of savers are expected to lose track of one or more pensions during their working life.

Commenting on the findings, Hargreaves Lansdown senior pensions and retirement analyst, Helen Morrissey, warned that there could be a "looming problem of people losing track of what they have", meaning that they aren't going to get as much pension as they should when they retire.

She said: “The concept of a job for life no longer exists and the reality is most people will work for several different employers and accumulate a number of pensions over their working lives.

“As you shift employers and then move house you can forget to keep your details updated and before you know it you have lost track of old pensions and this can be further complicated if an ex-employer was to be taken over and change its name, or go out of business.

“The DWP has stated this could result in up to 50m lost pensions by 2050 with these people potentially missing out on thousands of pounds of hard saved pension savings that could really boost their income in retirement."

Industry organisations have been emphasising the need to address lost pension concerns ahead of National Pension Tracing Day, which was founded by Punter Southall Aspire and supported by supported by Scottish Widows, Aegon, Legal and General and Standard Life.

As part of this, Punter Southall Aspire has launched a website to support savers in finding lost pension pots, with individuals urged to use the final hours of daylight saving on Sunday 31 October to track down unclaimed pensions.

The campaign has also received support from Money and Pensions Service, which sees more than 400 people call its government-backed MoneyHelper phoneline to track down their pensions every month.

Money and Pensions Service pensions expert, Angela Kirkwood, commented: “Our research suggests fewer than half the adults in the UK (45 per cent) say they understand enough to be able to plan their retirement.

"Tracing forgotten savings is just one way they can prepare for what lies ahead.”

Adding to this, Punter Southall Aspire director of communications, Johanna Nelson-Vanner, said: “When those billions of ‘lost’ pensions are whittled down, it means something like one in 30 people could be reunited with money they didn’t know they had.

"So if I tell 30 people and they tell 30 more and so on, I might help someone find theirs.

"That’s what this campaign is about. We’ve also been supporting employers and trustees to spread the word with ready-to-go communication toolkits.”

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