Portfolio careers and pensions

by Barrie Hopson on November 25, 2010 · 0 comments

in Managing money,portfolio careers

A new study by Aviva point out some potential problems as people change jobs more often and also have more than one job.   More than half of Britons are unaware how to access previous pension schemes and  two thirds are unaware that combining pension pots can lead to greater retirement income.

Job-hopping and “portfolio careers” could threaten future retirement security, as workers fail to keep track of their pensions.

As switching jobs every few years is now the norm for most, people are increasingly contributing to several private pension schemes during their working lives. The Aviva research suggests that one in three workers (30%) have five jobs throughout their lifetime. However, a worrying number of people are failing to keep details of their different pension pots, which could ultimately affect their private pension income in retirement.

Nearly a third (28%) of the UK’s full-time employees (past and present) anticipate contributing to two or more different private pension schemes during their working lives. Yet worryingly, nearly two thirds (60%) are unaware they can combine their private pension pots at retirement, potentially increasing their retirement income. Aviva is therefore urging people who have had multiple jobs, or who are in the early stages of their career, to mind the details of their past pension pots when they pack up a desk and move to pastures new.

Aviva’s research highlights the number of people who have lost track of their pension schemes. Over half (54%) of Britons have no idea how they can access previous private pension schemes, with 37% oblivious to the fact they need to take action with their retirement savings when they move jobs. A further 31% of respondents assume their previous employers will take care of matters and 29% refuse to worry about it until nearer the time of retirement.

The data also suggests men are more responsible when it comes to staying on top of their retirement planning. Over a quarter (28%) of men know exactly how much money they have saved into pension pots compared to just 16% of women.

Clive Bolton, ‘at retirement’ director for Aviva said: “The modern day job market is much more fluid and this is having a direct impact on the pension landscape. People are now finishing their working lives having had several employers – and several private pension schemes. It is more important than ever that people make best use of all the funds they have saved.   When it comes to retirement, not only should people be shopping around for their annuity, they should also be combining the multiple pension pots they have accumulated over their working lives to help maximize their retirement income. People who have built up several smaller private pensions across their working life are often quoted worse annuity rates by their existing pension providers. At Aviva we offer to combine small pension pots into a single monthly payment, which usually offers a more attractive sum for pensioners.”

For those who experience a change in pension providers, Aviva offers the following guidance:

– Talk to your employer. If you are in a company pension scheme, speak with your HR department to clarify key details of the scheme. As a minimum, you should have the name of the pension provider, their contact details, your policy number, retirement date, contribution levels, choice of funds and all tax relief due.

– Keep your documents safe. It is essential to keep a record of all your pension policies to ensure you can access all your savings at retirement.

– Stay in touch with your pension provider. If your contact details change, you should notify all your pension providers, even if you are no longer contributing to the plan.

– Review your retirement planning regularly. Your financial planning needs will change throughout the course of your life, so regular reviews with a financial adviser could help you save enough to meet your lifestyle needs in retirement.

– Ask the experts. If you do not already have a financial adviser, you can use the independent website www.unbiased.co.uk to help you find one.

I know that financial companies are of course trying to sell their services but this is very sound advice and is exactly the kind of detailed task that many portfolio workers find boring. I should know!

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