We always aim to take an original direction to solve stubborn challenges.
That’s one of the reasons my colleagues Johanna Nelson-Vanner and Alan Morahan, who manage our Aspire to Retire pension communication business, came up with an eye-catching way to reconnect people with pensions they may have forgotten about.
Instead of dreading the moment the clocks go back on October 31st, ending what we may euphemistically call British Summertime, they took a different view.
Why not use the extra hour that heralds shorter days and even worse weather to track down money you may have lost or forgotten about? Surely that’s a cheerier way to greet the advent of winter?
It’s estimated that there are around 1.6 million pension pots worth £19.4 billion unclaimed – this equates to nearly £13,000 per pension pot.
Forgetting about a pension is nothing new. Indeed, the Financial Conduct Authority directs big pension companies to spend money on reuniting savings with people who have changed jobs, homes or, in the case of women, their names, and have lost touch with a pension.
To be clear, it’s through no fault of the companies themselves but more to do with the priority people tend to give to their pensions while busily getting on with their lives.
There’s a well-established sub-industry to join the threads linking people to their pension pots, and no shortage of communications to bring what is really a positive story to life.
We’ve likened it to a ‘great pension treasure hunt’ and I don’t think that’s too wide off the mark.
We already, happily, see the subject raised through Pension Awareness Week and the sterling work of the brains behind Pension Awareness Day, complementing existing, day-to-day contact and tracing activity.
So we thought we would add our weight to the existing effort to overcome a perennial stumbling block: the fear, reluctance or even refusal some people face when it comes being more involved with their savings for retirement.
It’s a further reminder that there is much to be positive about in a sector that can, unfairly in my view, be characterised as inward-looking and a touch impenetrable. Or, looked at another way, one that fails to capture enough of the attention of those it serves by not trying a bit harder to be a bit more imaginative.
So we’ve tried a bit harder.
In an era when more of us have to take personal financial responsibility for our retirement, it’s a reminder that you don’t face it alone. There’s a great deal of guidance to get you started on rounding up what you may not knowingly have realised is money well worth having.
Pension tracing resources
We’ve put together a helpful website with the information you need to get your pension search started.