I found £200,000 of lost pensions and now I’m £2.5k a month richer. Do you still have debts?

WHEN Carole Railton tried to track down a lost pension, she discovered the adviser had remained silent.

But two years ago the 73-year-old, who lives in Wapping, London, tracked down the lost money and is now £2,500 a month richer.

Carole Raiton is thousands of pounds better off after unearthing old pensions

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Carole Raiton is thousands of pounds better off after unearthing old pensionsCredit: Gary Stone

She is one of 30 million Britons who have collectively lost almost £90 billion.

According to online classifieds Gretel, the money is sitting in more than 30 million UK pensions, savings accounts, insurance policies and investments, and is unclaimed.

Gretel today announced a partnership with insurance giant Aviva to help find more lost accounts.

In the late 1980s, Carole was working for Xerox when a financial advisor convinced her to switch from a corporate pension.

She, like thousands of others, had fallen victim to pension mis-selling, where savers were lured away from gold-plated corporate pension schemes in favor of inferior, self-funded personal pensions.

Carole, a body language expert, tried to find retirement after leaving Xerox in the 1990s.

She said: “When I went to see my pension I discovered the adviser had kept his mouth shut.”

“It was very frustrating, but I wasn’t thinking about retiring at the time, so I left.”

Despite numerous attempts to track down the money, she was unsuccessful and even decided to sell and rent her house to continue living in London.

Last year, Carole contacted a financial advisor. “My illness made me rethink everything, so I wanted to get my finances in order.

The advisor asked about any pensions and I told them about the pension I had with Xerox.

“Luckily, because I had worked for Xerox, they were able to track down the pension company it was transferred to, even then that wasn’t easy,” she said.

“I think it was a long paper trail, but it turned out that my pension had been commuted at least three times.”

Her lost fund was worth just over £200,000, which she used to buy an enhanced annuity that pays her £2,500 a month.

If she is ill for a long time, the insurance company that sold her the annuity may pay her more than if she were predicted to live another thirty years.

Carole has no regrets about selling her house and uses her newfound wealth to spend more time with her friends.

“Covid and the lockdown made me realize who my friends were and what makes me happy.

“Now I have fantastic views of London and views of the Shard, I have some great friends and I don’t have to worry about paying the bills.

“You can’t ask for more.”

Duncan Stevens, CEO of Gretel, urged Brits to use the free service to track their lost savings.

He said many account holders may not have been aware they even had the policy.

He added: “We hope to help savers locate their missing money. That’s why we founded Gretel.

“It’s not just about old savings accounts, but the automatic enrollment of pensions, which means employers have to set up a new pension for all their employees, is likely to result in lost pots.”

DO YOU OWE MONEY?

THERE IS £89 billion owed to customers in Britain on dormant accounts. Where can you find the cash?

Pensions – 2.8 million pension accounts – worth £64 billion – average value of £23,125 each. You can look up a pension using the Pension Tracing Service on 0800 731 0193 or https://www.gov.uk/find-pension-contact-details

Bank and building society savings accounts – 14 million accounts – worth £4.5 billion – average value £321 each. Find a savings account via the My Lost Account website at https://www.mylostaccount.org.uk

Securities – shares, bonds and exchange traded funds – two million accounts – worth £2.5 billion – average value £1,250. You can find lost stocks through Gretel and the Investment Association’s unclaimed assets portal at https://www.theia.org/unclaimedassets

Investments – total value £2.8 billion – average unclaimed amount £2,800. These can also be claimed via the unclaimed assets portal https://www.theia.org/unclaimedassets

Life insurance – 3.5 million accounts – total value £8.1 billion, average £2,380 each. If you have an idea of ​​the company the insurance policy was with, contact that provider. If you are unsure, use the Unclaimed Assets Register on 0844 481 81 80.

NS&I accounts – total £81 million – average value £35. Complete an online form at NS&I https://www.nsandi.com/help/lost-touch-with-nsandi/track-lost-investments or use the service My Lost Account at https://www.mylostaccount.org. UK

Child Trust Funds (CTFs) – 2.6 million children – total value £5.7 billion or £2,175 each. Find your child’s CTF or your lost CTF using HMRC’s CTF tracing service at https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-revenue-customs/contact/child-trust-fund

Gretel’s free tracking service is available at www.gretel.co.uk. Simply enter your date of birth, name and address(es).

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