How to manage your pension pots and state pension contributions

Putting all of your pension savings in one place to make it easier to manage your retirement plans sounds like a sensible idea — but it’s not necessarily the right solution for everyone. Claer Barrett meets 51-year-old Tina who has spent lockdown searching for all of her old pensions: some have performed better than hoped, but others have had high charges, and she has a gap in her UK state pension contributions due to working overseas. Experts Sir Steve Webb of Lane Clark & Peacock and Catherine Morgan, a financial planner behind the ‘In Her Financial Shoes’ podcast, provide tips for people of all ages looking to sort out their pension savings.


If you would like to talk to Claer for a future podcast episode, email the Money Clinic team money@ft.com with a brief description of your story. Follow Claer on Twitter and Instagram @Claerb and read her weekly Serious Money column in the FT Money section of the FT Weekend newspaper.


Further reading:


Let’s start with the basics. If you’re struggling to get your head around what a pension is, why you need one, and how they work, then check out this free to read column from Claer, A lunchtime lesson about pensions for millennials. Also Claer has written on the pandemic and pensions planning


Tina’s first task was to work out what she had in which pensions, and where. To track down lost pensions, try the UK government’s Pensions Tracing Service, which is free to use - but please do be careful of copycat websites run by commercial firms


To check how many years’ worth of UK state pension contributions you’ve made, what you could receive in retirement and if you have any missing years, use the government’s free Check your State Pension service


The UK government page Your State Pension Explained contains more information on what counts as a qualifying year 


Read this UK government advice page about making extra National Insurance contributions to your UK state pension


Contact the Future Pension Centre to find out if you would benefit from voluntary NI contributions 


The UK government’s International Pension Centre provides advice and information for those who have lived or worked overseas


Want to talk to someone about your pensions options? If you’re over 50, then you can use the UK government’s free Pension Wise service to get detailed guidance from an adviser on your retirement options


Emma Maslin, who blogs as The Money Whisperer, wrote this FT column asking self-employed women how good their pensions are


Finally, if you need some...


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