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Review your pension savings to make sure you're on track

Young woman sitting at home, checking paperwork with a hot drink

Do you know where all your pension pots are? And how often do you review your retirement savings?

One in seven UK adults has never looked at how much is in their pension pot -- and the figure is even higher for those who are closer to retirement.

The survey of 2,000 adults by Standard Life found that one in five over 55s has never checked their pension.

Among those who do review their pension savings it's most likely to be an annual check, with 23% doing this. Meanwhile, 40% review their cash savings at least weekly.

"While you don't necessarily need to check your pension as regularly as you'd check your bank account, you should aim to review how much is in your pot, and what this could mean for your financial future, at least once a year," said Gail Izat, managing director for workplace pensions at Standard Life.

"This will give you a better idea of how to plan, whether that's deciding if you should increase your pension contributions or change the type of investments in your plan. It may also help you decide how long you'll need to continue working and the type of retirement you'll be able to afford."

Three simple steps

The findings coincide with an industry campaign fronted by TV presenter, broadcaster and childhood favourite Timmy Mallett.

'Pay Your Pension Some Attention', co-ordinated by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA), invites people to take a nostalgic look back through the years and uncover forgotten pensions from previous jobs to help maximise their retirement funds.

With an estimated £26.6bn currently sat in lost pensions across the UK, the campaign outlines three simple steps to review your pension savings:

  1. Look back to yesterday -- do you know where your pension is? You are likely to have more than one from your working life!
  2. Lean in to what you've got today -- do you know how much you already have today? It's your money from your hard work.
  3. Move forward to your future -- what are your dreams? Do you know what income you might need in retirement?

The right support at the right time

In a survey of 3,000 adults who had not yet retired, long-term savings and retirement company Phoenix Group found that more than half (58%) reported low confidence in their pensions knowledge. Over a quarter (28%) said they knew 'little or nothing' about pensions, and just just one in 10 (11%) reported a 'good' knowledge of pensions.

For many people, an internet search is their first port of call for financial information.

An analysis of Google search results by financial services company Hargreaves Lansdown reveals that people searched for the term 'state pension' 6.5 million times in the past year -- a figure that rises to more than 7.5 million when you include related search terms such as 'pension credit'.

Another 784,000 searches were made on annuities, and almost 717,000 on self-invested personal pensions (SIPPs).

Savers searched around 630,000 times to find out how much money you need for retirement.

The investment platform said that although it's encouraging that people are seeking more information on pensions, there is a risk that this information could be out-of-date and inaccurate -- which could cause problems if you base your retirement decisions on it.

"There are great government sources in the form of the Moneyhelper website and the Pension Wise service, which delivers telephone and face-to-face guidance sessions for the over 50s," said Helen Morrissey, head of retirement analysis at Hargreaves Lansdown. "You may also choose to go down the regulated financial advice route to get recommendations targeted to your specific needs. Accessing the right support at the right time can make a huge difference to your retirement."

Posted by Fidelius on October 9th 2023

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