How being absent-minded can cost you money

We can all be forgetful on occasions, we’re only human after all. However, when it comes to our finances, losing track of what we have can be a costly mistake to make. It’s been estimated that a staggering figure of £15bn is tied up in old bank accounts, pensions, life assurance and investments1.

Bank Accounts 

Tracing old bank accounts can be done by searching a website called My Lost Account. This site is maintained by UK Finance, the Building Societies Association and National Savings & Investments (which covers Premium Bonds too).

Pensions

People change jobs more frequently nowadays, meaning that they can often have small pension pots with past employers that they fail to keep track of. Incredibly, there are around 1.6m2 pensions that have been forgotten about by UK workers. If you’ve lost track of a pension from a previous employment, then the Pension Tracing Service will help you find an up-to-date contact for the scheme.

Child Trust Funds

These were available for babies born between September 2002 and January 2011. Parents received a government voucher for £250 to invest (up to £500 for lower income families) and could add further funds within limits. Figures from HMRC estimate that around 700,000 Child Trust Fund accounts are dormant. HMRC has a dedicated page for those looking to track down these accounts.

Other assets

For help in tracking down lost investments in unit trusts, the Investment Association can provide help. Experian run an Unclaimed Assets Register which allows you to search the 4.5m records it holds from 75 different providers covering insurance policies, pensions or shareholdings.  

1 MSE, Nov 2018
2 Research carried out by Pensions Policy Institute on behalf of ABI, Oct 2018