News, Culture & Society

Opting in and keeping track of your workplace pension

Thanks to advanced communications, access to training, and transport facilities, people are more likely to change their jobs frequently in the modern world. Over any working life, you are likely to see movement between work bases and countries, and businesses and industries.

Unfortunately, amid all the hubbub, essential information about pension schemes and money saved can get lost or forgotten. Not only could your hard-earned cash go to waste, but you are also putting your financial future at risk.

Nowadays, whenever you begin a new job you will automatically opt into a pension scheme by your employer. The good side of this is – you don’t have all the hassle. But on the other hand, it can also be taken for granted and indeed forgotten when the money you have saved is needed most.

So, in this article we are going to look at how opting in works and how – if you need to – you can track down work pensions in your earlier career.

Opting into a work pension

Thanks to a new government act, your employer is obliged to opt you into their pension scheme if you meet the following criteria:

  • You are classed as a worker
  • You are aged between the ages of 22 and pension age
  • You earn at least £10,000 a year
  • You usually work in the UK

By opting into a workplace pension scheme, you are automatically preparing for your post-work years. Statistics show that this is a great asset for the “now generation” – money is filtered off for the distant future. However, this is not mandatory – you can opt-out if you wish to. There are many reasons why people may wish to opt out: perhaps they have their own personal pension; perhaps you wish to continue their previous employers’ pension scheme.

Seek out a pension check

Whichever direction you wish to go in – you are in control. It is your money, your savings and your future. For this reason, there couldn’t be a better time to get a pension check. To find out how your pension pot is progressing, which pension schemes are out there and what would be the best route for you, given your unique circumstances.

There is no doubt that there is a lot to be said for an occupational pension. Your employer will support you with your savings by topping up your contributions with an extra 3%. But check out a regulated financial advisor to be sure the scheme is the right one for you and you will be getting the most money out of your hard-earned cash.

Previous work pensions

Few people stay with the same employer throughout their whole career. This means that it is likely you will have bits and pieces of savings from different pension schemes started from different workplaces. These savings may seem quite small on their own, but they all add up and can lead to a substantial sum.

Over 1.5 million pension pots worth just under £20 million have not been claimed by their owners. They have either been lost or forgotten. It is therefore a good idea to look back over your career and get as much data about any previous pensions you may have had.

If you have a problem tracking down a pension then the government has its own Pension Tracing Service. You will just need the pension scheme name or the employer’s name.

Conclusion

If you are going to opt into your employers’ occupational pension, all well and good. But get into the habit of monitoring any pension growth alongside your needs and aspirations. In the complex world of pensions, a regulated financial advisor can be a great benefit.

Before thinking about your pension, get in touch with a regulated pensions specialist like Portafina or, view the information at The Money Advice Service.