Let’s start at the beginning. Your number is the amount you need to retire and enjoy the retirement lifestyle you want for the next 30+ years.
Every would-be retiree has their number, which is currently one of three types:
- Not enough – you’ll need to work a little longer to achieve your retirement goals
- Enough – you can retire now without worry
- More than enough – you’ve got plenty in your retirement pot to do what you want and have some left over too.
In my experience, most hard-working people believe they won’t have enough until they can claim their state pension. In fact, a remarkable number not only have enough, but more than enough.
That’s why any retirement planning should start with a comprehensive review of your current retirement pot, including pensions, investments, savings and income. Once you check the figures, you’ll know what your number is and how close you are to it. Talk to a financial advisor who can assess your portfolio and advise on its value now and moving forward.
Three tips for researching your number
In order to assess your number, a financial planner will want to know the values of your investments, properties, savings, and pensions. If you don’t have all the figures at your fingertips, collating that information will inevitably involve a little detective work.
Here are three tips for tracking down ‘stray’ investments and accounts that you may have forgotten about or whose details are out of date.
Tip 1: Track down old pensions
The days of working for one company all your life have almost disappeared. So, you might have multiple smaller pensions with various former employers, rather than just one.
The good news is that you can track them down yourself with a little internet research. If you have the paperwork from when you joined the scheme, you should know who the pension provider was. If not, start by creating a list of your former employers. You can then use the government pension tracing service to find the contact details of providers, and to search for a lost pension.
“You can find contact details for your own workplace or personal pension scheme … This service will not tell you whether you have a pension, or what its value is. You need the name of an employer or a pension provider to use this service.”
Once you have the pension provider details, you can contact them directly for your pension statement.
Tip 2: Track down old shares
You may hold shares as part of a “wrapped’ investment package such as a stocks and shares ISA. You may also have a portfolio of shares managed by a fund manager at an investment house. If so, you will usually receive a regular valuation report, or be able to download one, to give you a snapshot of the worth of these shares.
You may also have shares that you self -manage, whether:
- Bought direct by yourself
- Acquired through company mergers
- As a work bonus or payment
- Inherited from family
Hopefully, you should have share certificates for these, and receive an annual bonus which will appear on your bank statement. Again, you can contact the company for a current valuation, or for larger companies, simply look the current share price up on Google.
If the company you hold shares in has been taken over or merged, you will need to track down what share registrar now manages those shares. As MoneyWeek says:
“Your first stop should be a company’s registrar, assuming you remember which company you have shares in. The three largest share registrars are Equiniti, Capita and Computershare. You can find out which registrar deals with your company by contacting the firm or checking with the London Stock Exchange.”
And if you really don’t know where to start, try the Unclaimed Asset Register. “For a one-off payment of £25 it will search unclaimed share dividends, unit trusts, pensions and life-insurance policies to see if anything belongs to you.”
Tip 3: Find your Premium Bonds
Premium Bonds are a traditional way to gift money to a child. In the past, you might have received a paper bond, or in more recent times, had them added to your account. You can cash these in any time or keep them for a chance of winning a cash prize. Indeed, you might have already won a prize – according to National Savings and Investments, there is currently over £50million in unclaimed prizes.
if you’re wondering why you haven’t heard about the status of your Premium Bonds for a while, My Lost Account has an idea:
“The most typical cause is a change of address. Banks, building societies and NS&I seek to keep in touch with their customers and will contact a customer if an account has been inactive for an extended period. If no response is received, the bank, building society or NS&I will stop sending correspondence and will class the account as ‘lost’. This is done to prevent ID theft and fraud.”
You can also use My Lost Account to track down any lost bank, building society or National Savings & Investments accounts for free.
Want to know more about researching your number?
Call us at Panthera LIFE for an initial consultation. We can help with further advice on where to find your assets, and help you work out what they may be worth in terms of a post-retirement income. Then you can plan your retirement lifestyle for the next 30+ years based on real figures and projections, not just guesswork.