Keeping track of multiple pensions is causing confusion, and means savers risk losing track of their retirement savings, according to new research.

Interactive Investor’s Great British Retirement Survey, which questioned more than 10,000 Britons about their finances, found that around two-thirds of respondents who have yet to retire have multiple pension pots, and 15% have four or more pensions. This can make maintaining up-to-date retirement savings records tricky, let alone understanding the various pensions’ underlying investments.

If you have several different pensions and find it difficult to keep track of them, one option you might want to consider is combining them into one plan. You can read more on how to go about this, and whether it could be a suitable option for you in our article Should I consolidate my pensions?

One in 17 survey respondents, or 6% of those questioned, did not know how many pension pots they have at all, which places them at risk of losing track of part of their retirement income. If you have lost details of one or more pension pots, you can find out how to track these down in our article Tracing lost pensions.

Turning to retirement plans, the survey found that as a result of falling investment returns amid the pandemic, around one in 10 people (10%) think they will need to delay retirement, one in five (20%) are more likely to need to work in retirement to make up for shortfalls, and 7% are more likely to buy an annuity to ensure a guaranteed income.

When it comes to producing a retirement income from your lifetime savings, respondents said the amount of choices can be bewildering, since the introduction of pension freedoms in April 2015. For example, deciding on how to manage the risks of pension drawdown can be stressful for people with workplace defined contribution, or money purchase pensions, and personal, or private pensions. Find out more in our articles Your pension options at retirement and What is pension drawdown and how does it work?

Rebecca O’Connor, head of pensions and savings at interactive investor, says: “The complexity of drawdown has left many feeling under pressure to make the right decisions but not always feeling they have sufficient knowledge to do so. The flipside of freedom may be less simplicity and more time spent considering your options.”

Despite the challenges faced by pension savers, responses showed nearly half (49%) see retirement as a time of financial freedom and independence, up from 35% last year. More also saw retirement as an opportunity for new business or new hobbies.

Meanwhile, travel tops the list of retirement plans. An extra 9% of non-retired people said they saw retirement as a time to travel, with an additional 7% compared to the previous year putting travel as their top priority – perhaps no surprise given the restrictions imposed during the pandemic.

Where to seek help

If you have multiple pensions and/or you are unsure how to manage your pension savings, the Government’s Pension Wise service, run by the Pensions Advisory Service and Citizens Advice, provides people aged 50 and above with free guidance on their pension choices at retirement.

It’s always worth taking advantage of a free appointment with Pension Wise. But if you want professional financial advice, you’ll need to speak to a financial advisor, as Pension Wise can only provide general guidance and not individual recommendations. Find out more in our articles How to find the right financial advisor for you might be helpful.

Alternatively, if you’re considering getting professional financial advice, VouchedFor is offering Rest Less members a free pension check with a local advisor. There’s no obligation but once you’ve had your review, the advisor will discuss the potential for an ongoing paid relationship if you think it might be useful to you.

Do you have multiple pensions and how do you manage these? Have you consolidated your pensions, or are you considering doing so? We’d be interested to hear from you. You can join the conversation on the Community forum or post a comment below.

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