Do you have a forgotten pension?

It's easier to find out than you'd think

Updated: 

Savings , horizontal

Brits are still sitting on unclaimed pension pots totalling hundreds of millions of pounds, unaware that they're entitled to the money.

With the average person having 11 jobs over the course of a lifetime, it's easy to forget all about a tiny pensions that you might have contributed to decades ago.

See also: State pension age increase - what it means for you

See also: Your questions about workplace pensions answered

And according to recent research from Aviva, as many as one in eight people with one or more pensions have forgotten all about at least one.

"It's unsurprising that so many people have pensions they have forgotten about. The 'job for life' is now a distant memory with people much more likely to change employer on a regular basis," says Andy Curran, Aviva's managing director for corporate and business solutions.

"With auto-enrolment doing such a great job of getting more people saving for retirement, we are likely to see the number of pension pots that people hold increase further as each time a person gets a new job they get a new workplace pension."

So could you have an unclaimed pension pot?

Last year, the government launched the Pension Tracing Service, making it far easier to find out if you're entitled to anything. If you're trying to trace a workplace pension, you'll need your employer's name; you'll then be given contact details for the right pension administrator.

You can then contact the administrator with your name, National Insurance number, date of birth and the rough dates you think you were paying in.

You can also use the system to track down lost personal pensions, or civil service, NHS, teacher or army pensions.

There have been more than a million searches using the system since it launched last May.

If you do find an unexpected pot or two, you'll need to decide what to do with it.

"People need to be aware of the potential risks of having a number of different pension pots with small amounts of money in each. It's likely that there will still be charges taken out of those pots for their management and administration and that can have implications if you are no longer contributing into them," says Curran.

"Consolidating all your pension pots into one place can have its advantages, but needs to be looked at carefully as some pensions come with valuable guarantees that could be lost."

How we spend our pensions

How we spend our pensions