On average most people change their jobs at least five times before they reach retirement age. The more job changes a person has before retirement the more likely they are to have old pensions and investments that can be tracked down.
Changing Jobs before Retirement and Lost Investments
Changing jobs five times before retirement is an average number; but many people changes jobs more than 15 times. Job hopping before retirement is now standard and a great number of people will change jobs every two to three years. Constantly changing jobs is one of the reasons why people lose track of their pensions. It is estimated that there are around three billion pounds of unclaimed pensions in the UK. Tracking down these pensions is not a hard task and does not require a large fee.
Tracking down Old and Lost Pensions
Anyone who thinks they may have old pensions from various companies should start their hunt with the Pension Tracing Service. This tracing service is part of the government’s Pensions Service and is completely free of charge. The Pension Tracing Service has access to 200,000 pension schemes via its database and details can be completed online. The database holds details on company pensions and personal pensions supplied through banks and other pension providers. It is important to supply as much information as possible to conduct a thorough search.
Tracking Down Old Savings Accounts
Throughout their lives many people change and open new bank accounts without closing down their previous accounts. Although the banks will try and contact customers these unclaimed accounts are often left dormant. My Lost Account is a free to use online savings tracking service run by the British Banker’s and Building Societies Association. This service can access 43 banks and 48 building societies in the UK. Details can be completed online and the entire process should be completed in around 12 weeks.
Other Lost Investments
There are a few other investments that can be traced using online services. These can include old investment trust funds and even insurance policies. The Investment Management Association, The Association of Investment Companies and the Unclaimed Assets Register can all be used to track down these investments. Again these tracing services can search online databases and contact companies if a search proves positive. Not all of these companies are free to use and there may be a fee to conduct a search.
Searching for a Spouse’s Assets
It may be the case that a spouse has died without leaving any details of their assets. It is possible for a spouse to search for a deceased husband or wife’s assets; this is also applicable for children. If the search does turn out to be positive then their will be checks undertaken to verify identity and proof of eligibility to any funds. This will also be the case for searches made on personal assets. Banks, building societies and investment companies will all require proof that the person claiming is entitled to the funds.
Points to Remember When Searching
Searching for old investments and savings is usually quite straightforward. Points to keep in mind when searching should include:
- Bank sort codes and account number will be helpful but are not completely necessary
- If interest has been accruing on old savings accounts then this can also be claimed
- Remember that accounts may have been opened in a maiden name or a previous address
- Just because companies have closed down or been taken over does not mean that the policy or investment does not still exist
- Tracing companies update their databases regularly and it may be worth rechecking at a later date
- Try and remember old employers; an old CV may be helpful in jogging the memory
- The more information that can be supplied on the online applications forms the more thorough a search can be
- Free to use search companies should be used before considering fee paying tracing services
It may seem like a long shot but it is a fact that there are billions of pounds of unclaimed assets in the UK. With the free to search tracing services available the applicant really does have nothing to lose. Remember, you do not have to wait until retirement to begin searching for old investments and savings. But old investments and savings could prove to be a windfall and can help to top up finances during retirement.