What does pension consolidation mean?
Employment now is very different to ten, even twenty years ago. We no longer stay at the same company from graduation to retirement and the days of the final salary pension scheme are long gone for most people under the age of 40.
I have worked for six different companies throughout my sixteen years of employment. At each company I had the opportunity to pay into a pension scheme. Regrettably (one of my biggest financial regrets) I only paid into the pension scheme at two of these companies. When I left those companies, I forgot about those pensions. I assumed that they were frozen and locked away until I reached retirement age.
I have friends with five or six pension pots from different employers. It is a challenge to keep track of the money, its growth over time and all the paperwork. That annual pension statement was chucked in a pile with the rest of the paperwork that I didn’t really understand.
This is where pension consolidation comes in, making it easier to get on top of your retirement savings. You can transfer all the pension pots from your old providers into one consolidated private pension pot FOR FREE with PensionBee.
Why Would you Consolidate?
Simplicity and Easy to Track
I love the fact that I can see all my pension money in one place. I can track this via my account on the PensionBee website or via their app. This shows me very clearly how much I paid into my new pension via transferring old pensions across or my own contributions, £44k. And how much that transfer is now worth right now, mid-March 2019, £48k. My contributions have grown by £5k in the two years since I consolidated my pensions into one. A return of 10%, which is very good considering 2018 was a volatile year for investment (note the scary dips at the beginning and end of 2018)
It was simple to set up my pension pot and to transfer the money in from my previous employer funds. So simple as all I had to do was give PensionBee a few details such as name, address, national insurance number, pension fund provider and reference number and they then did all the work to chase down the funds and move the money over to my new consolidated pot.
Potential Lower fees
Watch out for high fees on your current pension provider. I had two pots with Legal & General and Zurich and one of the pots had fees of 1%. This is a high fee and you can get much lower. For example, PensionBee’s plans range from 0.50-0.95%, depending on which one you choose.
Your frozen ex-employment pots may be sat in generic funds where you have no influence over what level of risk and thus return they are taking or what companies they have invested in.
There is a choice of seven different funds at PensionBee. Maybe you want to invest your pension in ethical funds or maybe shariah. Maybe you are happy with a riskier fund as you are investing your money over a long period of time?
I originally chose the tracker fund, managed by State Street Global Advisors. This has low fees of 0.5% and a risk level of 5/7. I am thinking of switching this money over to a fund with a higher risk level as the money is locked away for such a long period of time. The switching process is easily done via the website, and I can change my plan whenever I want.
Ability to contribute to my pot
This is my absolute favourite feature that I have just started taking advantage of. You can contribute to the pot as and when you see fit. One of my financial goals for 2019 was to restart my pension contributions after a three-year break whilst building my business. Adding a contribution is very easy, as easy as doing a bank transfer. And I could see my fund in my balance within a couple of days. I used the PensionBee calculator to work out how much I needed to contribute to reach my desired pension pot.
Transferable to self-employment
This has enabled me to have a ready-made self-employment pension pot. There was no hassle of setting up something new as I was able to simply add to my previous employers’ pensions via my consolidated pot. I’m not locked in to minimum contributions which is perfect for self-employment, because I can choose to contribute, or not, when an invoice gets paid.
Innovative company with great customer service
PensionBee are a young company with a great reputation and track record in the fintech world. Every bank or investment company I have spoken to admires what they have achieved in the few years they have been around.
They have taken a perceived boring product and made it interesting and fun. They have encouraged me to think more about my future and to ensure that I put money aside into my pension pot. And I want to do it!
I have my own personal Beekeeper, Priyal, who I can call or email with a question concerning my pension pot. I can send a Tweet or a Facebook message with anything I need to know, and my query is replied to in a personal manner and with speed. Super great customer service.
Is Consolidation for you?
Are you reading this nodding along that you must sort out your collection of previous work pensions? Feel free to drop me a line with any questions about what I have done with my pension, or head on over to PensionBee and start the process.
Please be aware that any form of investment can go up and down and you may want to consider advice from a qualified IFA. Just make sure they are recommended by a trusted friend and check their investment levels as some will only work with clients with an investment level of at least £150k. This post was written in collaboration with PensionBee