Stuff!

Over the years, we all usually accumulate stuff! From an early age, it might be toys, a bicycle, favourite music player and so on.

As we get older, these tangibles evolve to more adult stuff, like cars, accommodation, kitchen utensils even, along with some intangibles, like pensions.

With the change in the law some years back, pensions now invariably just happen. You get a new job, your employer sends you a contract and on the second to last page there's something about joining you into a pension and deducting money from your pay as part of the deal. You only wanted to know about the pay and holiday entitlement, so you sign away and that savings stuff just seems to happen. Great!

However, as time goes on, you move job a few times (some stats here: https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/nationalaccounts/uksectoraccounts/compendium/economicreview/april2019/analysisofjobchangersandstayers ) and seem to collect these pension pots. It is a bit like the stuff that you used to collect when you were a child, just less cuddly or interesting. However, if you don't look after them, they may not achieve what you want from them, and unless you die, these funds are likely to be with you for decades. So, pay attention please, noting that it's a bit dull and only needs probably half an hour of your time every now and then.

Let's start with data:

Keep in contact with your pension funds. Most of them let you log in to update your data. So, if you move, or settle down with a partner, you can update your address and nomination of death benefits to make sure that if you do die, the pot goes to who you want it to.

What about risk?

With all this strange stuff happening in 2020, has your view on investment risk changed? You might have been really aggressive on risk when you first started out but might have changed your mind. Or did you do nothing and just have the default fund? That's OK, but does it meet your view now? If not, you can usually change this online and if you want to understand risk a bit better, you can have a look here: https://www.chaptersfinancial.com/pdfs/investment_risk_scale.pdf

Can I just merge them into one pot?

Yes, but would you want to? Sometimes having a few horses in the race can help to spread risk, and that might be a good thing, but check in your own circumstances.

Paying in enough?

Probably not, if it is the basic minimums (8% gross per annum from you and the company), but make sure that any contribution is affordable. Once it's in the pot, it's tied up until your age of 55+.

State Pension?

You should also still get a State Pension. When? I hear you ask. Check here: https://www.gov.uk/state-pension-age4

Stuff

Pension stuff is usually good for your future, it's just not as much fun as your first bicycle…sorry!