Should I bring my pensions together?

Financial ombudsman woman looking out window thinking about bringing her pensions together

Pensions

MoneyPlus Features Team

4th September 2015 at 2:29pm

It’s an occupational hazard that pension questions tend to follow me around.

Recently, at a talk I was giving for supporters of the charity Smart Works, I was asked: should I bring my pensions together?

The answer to this is yes, possibly, if you’re happy with the various points below.

It’s easy to see that having all your pension savings in one place makes them easier to manage. You can have one log-in and password to remember for viewing online. And then there’s only one pension company to deal with when it comes to managing how you want to take money out to spend later on, whether as income or lump sums.

It also makes it far less likely that you’ll lose track of one of your pension pots if you only have one to remember.

Things to check would be:

• Does your pension have any valuable guarantees such as a guaranteed annuity rate or a defined benefit where your pension is linked to years of service and salary? If so, and the value of those benefits is £30,000 or more, the government requires you to take advice before you can move these kinds of pension.

• If you have a public sector defined benefit pension which is “unfunded”, this type of pension can’t be transferred.

Where to start

The starting point is to ask your pension scheme for a transfer value to see what lump sum you’d be given in exchange for giving up your right to an income for life from your existing pension scheme. Transferring out of a defined benefit pension which offers a guaranteed income for life is not a decision to take lightly but, for some people, it will feel like the right thing to do.

If none of these issues crops up for you, then bringing your pensions together could be relatively straightforward and possibly something you can do online.

There’s more information about transferring pensions here. You can find a lost pension by contacting the Pension Tracing Service online, for free, at www.gov.uk/find-lost-pension

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This blog and any responses to comments are not financial advice. A pension is an investment. Its value can go up or down and it may be worth less than you paid in. Tax rules can change in the future and this blog reflects our understanding in August 2015.