Your guide to tracking down and transferring your pension

by | Nov 25, 2021 | Articles

Sponsored by Penfold

For all of the attention, we pay to our immediate financial situation – how much is coming in and going out, how we’re going to pay the bills, etc – very few of us are actively engaged with our pension. For something that can dictate how much time we get to enjoy later in life, and how much we’ll be able to afford to actually enjoy that time, it’s something that still lies behind a curtain of mystery. 

But it doesn’t have to. 

I don’t have a huge pension history, thanks to periods of part-time working or very low pay, and the fact that compulsory workplace pensions weren’t brought in until a few years into my career. Still, I know I had something squirrelled away, and past Clare had done me a favour by keeping the paperwork in a box in the big cupboard under the stairs. I weighed up the pros and cons of transferring my small sum to my current provider, Penfold, and decided that it was absolutely worth it for the transparency, peace of mind, and ability to plan everything through an app. It took just a few weeks and barely any effort on my part to track down and transfer across my workplace pension, and now I finally have full visibility and control of my future. 

I know this is something that many of you will find confusing and exhausting, too – you might know or have a hunch that you have old pensions lurking, but no idea how to find them, or you might be unsure where your current workplace pension is invested and what return you’re getting on it. So, here’s a guide to tracking down and (if it’s right for you) transferring or consolidating your pension pots to give you more control over your future:

Track down your old pensions

It doesn’t matter if you’ve lost all the paperwork, as long as you can remember either your old employer name or the old pension provider name, then you’ll be able to track down the details. You can use Penfold’s ‘find my pension’ service to find out more about your old pension pots before you decide what to do with them. Once you’ve found your accounts, you’ll be able to see how much you have saved, how it’s performed in terms of growth, and what the specific details and conditions of your account are.

Decide whether or not to consolidate

Whether or not it’s best to consolidate will be completely personal to you, and this article does not constitute financial advice. For me, with my fairly small sum and simple setup, the decision was an easy one. I compared fees, looked at exit penalties, and could clearly see that it was best on all counts to bring everything together. I’m also now self-employed, with no immediate plans to return to an employed role, so it makes sense for me to focus on my private pension for peace of mind about my future.

If your situation is a little more complex, now might be the time to gather all of the information you have and take it to a financial advisor. Things like defined benefit pension schemes can’t easily be transferred, and there can be other complicating factors.

Get ready to transfer

Once you have all of the details and you’ve made your decision, your transfer should be quite smooth and easy. Simply set up or log into your Penfold account, select ‘transfer a pension, fill in the details and the team at Penfold will take care of the rest. I needed to change a few details with my previous provider before things could proceed – I’d got married and moved house since it was set up – but the team kept me well informed and I felt really well looked after. At the moment Penfold are offering a huge bonus of up to £500 for each successful transfer over to Penfold. You can find out more about the bonus and the T&Cs here. You can also use the referral code ‘myfrugalyear’, or simply set up through this link, to open your pension with £25 from Penfold!

Put your feet up and embrace the control

My transfer completed a couple of weeks ago, and it feels great to be able to start planning in earnest. With everything in one place, I can see really clearly how much I should be setting aside each month, how much I’ll end up with, and when I can afford to retire. I can also instantly see the return I’m getting. I’ve got a long way to go, but I feel like I’m actually fully at the wheel of my pension – and my future – for the first time. 

For all of the attention, we pay to our immediate financial situation – how much is coming in and going out, how we’re going to pay the bills etc – very few of us are actively engaged with our pension. For something that can dictate how much time we get to enjoy later in life, and how much we’ll be able to afford to actually enjoy that time, it’s something that still lies behind a curtain of mystery. 

But it doesn’t have to. 

I don’t have a huge pension history, thanks to periods of part-time working or very low pay, and the fact that compulsory workplace pensions weren’t brought in until a few years into my career. Still, I know I had something squirrelled away, and past Clare had done me a favour by keeping the paperwork in a box in the big cupboard under the stairs. I weighed up the pros and cons of transferring my small sum to my current provider, Penfold, and decided that it was absolutely worth it for the transparency, peace of mind, and ability to plan everything through an app. It took just a few weeks and barely any effort on my part to track down and transfer across my workplace pension, and now I finally have full visibility and control of my future. 

I know this is something that many of you will find confusing and exhausting, too – you might know or have a hunch that you have old pensions lurking, but no idea how to find them, or you might be unsure where your current workplace pension is invested and what return you’re getting on it. So, here’s a guide to tracking down and (if it’s right for you) transferring or consolidating your pension pots to give you more control over your future:

Track down your old pensions

It doesn’t matter if you’ve lost all the paperwork, as long as you can remember either your old employer name or the old pension provider name, then you’ll be able to track down the details. You can use Penfold’s ‘find my pension’ service to find out more about your old pension pots before you decide what to do with them. Once you’ve found your accounts, you’ll be able to see how much you have saved, how it’s performed in terms of growth, and what the specific details and conditions of your account are.

Decide whether or not to consolidate

Whether or not it’s best to consolidate will be completely personal to you, and this article does not constitute financial advice. For me, with my fairly small sum and simple setup, the decision was an easy one. I compared fees, looked at exit penalties, and could clearly see that it was best on all counts to bring everything together. I’m also now self-employed, with no immediate plans to return to an employed role, so it makes sense for me to focus on my private pension for peace of mind about my future.

If your situation is a little more complex, now might be the time to gather all of the information you have and take it to a financial advisor. Things like defined benefit pension schemes can’t easily be transferred, and there can be other complicating factors.

Get ready to transfer

Once you have all of the details and you’ve made your decision, your transfer should be quite smooth and easy. Simply set up or log into your Penfold account, select ‘transfer a pension, fill in the details and the team at Penfold will take care of the rest. I needed to change a few details with my previous provider before things could proceed – I’d got married and moved house since it was set up – but the team kept me well informed and I felt really well looked after. At the moment Penfold are offering a huge bonus of up to £500 for each successful transfer over to Penfold. You can find out more about the bonus and the T&Cs here. You can also use the referral code ‘myfrugalyear’, or simply set up through this link, to open your pension with £25 from Penfold!

Put your feet up and embrace the control

My transfer completed a couple of weeks ago, and it feels great to be able to start planning in earnest. With everything in one place, I can see really clearly how much I should be setting aside each month, how much I’ll end up with, and when I can afford to retire. I can also instantly see the return I’m getting. I’ve got a long way to go, but I feel like I’m actually fully at the wheel of my pension – and my future – for the first time. 

Get £25 when you sign up to Penfold and up to £500 when you transfer your old pension to them. New customers only.