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    Why the odds on finding a lost pension are better than you think

    08 September 2021

    Johanna Nelson

    View all blogs


    2 minute read

    Introducing National Pension Tracing Day

    Lost pensions

    For many of us, lockdown meant locking our eyeballs on the TV most evenings.

    So it was for me until I was sufficiently stirred by a Netflix documentary covering just how social media fed our inbuilt biases which, in turn, bolstered instead of healthily challenged what we think about the world around us.

    To consciously broaden my view, I took to the broadsheets as part of my media browsing and a pull-out in the Sunday Times caught my attention.

    In it, an article highlighted that there’s an estimated £19.4 billion in unclaimed pensions in the UK, which I believe is this many zeros...


    That’s a big number. And more importantly, it’s so much ‘lost’ money.

    Looking at the sum, it brought to mind an Everest that can’t be climbed, the summit of which remained permanently out of view above the clouds.

    But in the best traditions of journalism, a view was offered to help the reader spy the peak. It estimated that the pensions of 1.6m people made up this £19.4bn. On average, £13,000 each.

    That had me reaching for a metaphorical ice axe and crampons.

    In the UK there’s something like 54 million adults. If we think of the estimate that 1.6 million people could find a lost or forgotten pension then we could assume that one in 34 of us have a chance of finding a lost pension.

    I’m no gambler but my inner mathematician tells me those are attractive odds.

    So who could the winners be?

    • Many of us have 30 or so people in our close circle of family/friends – could one be a ‘pension lotto’ winner?

    • More to the point, I’ve invited about 30 guests to my wedding this year, could it be one of them?

    • Or you may be an employer with more than 30 workers. How many of them could qualify for such a windfall?

    At the time of writing, I travelled into London, once more among throngs of people.

    This got me thinking - what if it were one of them? Each of the potential winners with a virtual thought bubble over their heads with: “I’ve found £13,000!”. That would be some crowd scene – and more smiles than you’d see on the average commute.

    It could help transform everyday lives and help you plan for retirement. Our mums, sisters, cousins, best pals, bridesmaids, colleagues... it’s people we know!

    So the obvious question is - how do we buy a ticket for this pension lotto? Or prepare for our ascent? (pick either mental image to suit!)

    National Pension Tracing Day

    We’re launching National Pension Tracing Day.

    Every year on the Sunday the clocks go back, we’ll be encouraging everyone to use this extra hour to start tracing lost pensions. This year it’ll be on Sunday 31st October.

    And we know we’ve hit on something because Scottish Widows, Aegon, Legal and General and Standard Life have joined us as sponsoring founders.

    These are significant supporters. With them, our reach is extended and deepened: potentially nudging far more people to take action.

    Aspire to Retire

    In the lead up to the day itself, we hope to share:

    • How we’re going to encourage our Aspire to Retire members to make the most of National Pension Tracing Day

    • How you as a friend, relative, colleague or business can support the campaign

    • Recommendations for communicating this to your staff if you are an employer

    And, we'll be launching our National Pension Tracing Day online resource centre, detailing – and demystifying – what to do to track down a missing pension pot.

    Please do support this effort if you can. We want to make sure we spread the message far and wide.

    So far and so wide that, even if you’re on the side of a mountain, you can look down at the towns and villages in the valleys below and, perhaps, imagine those £13,000 thought bubbles mushrooming to form a view really worth enjoying.

    Company news

    Where’s yours? Punter Southall Aspire launches first ‘National Pension Tracing Day’
    Read more

    One in 34 of us have a chance of finding a lost pension post.

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