How I Sexed-Up My Pension

One of my biggest headaches as a self-employed person is my pension.

Who am I kidding? One of my biggest headaches as an employed person was my pension.

I’m a words person, not a numbers person, and my pension is just one of those things I would rather not have to decipher. I know it’s fiscally irresponsible of me; I’m very keen to work hard and earn money (and believe this is something one should be proud of saying!), but some things, like pensions, ISAs and investments I find very hard to get my head around.

I will do pretty much anything before I have to address the admin of my finances. Which is why working from home becomes dangerous (and by dangerous I mean fiscally unproductive!); whenever there’s a tax return to do or an invoice reconciliation to figure out, all of a sudden I will find it incredibly pressing to do six loads of washing, or clean the kitchen cabinets. Heck, I’ll de-gunk the hair out of my shower drain before I sit down to work out why one of my spreadsheet formulas isn’t working.

I have not had a handle on my pensions for a really long time I get drips and drabs of paperwork about them throughout the year, but these get filed in my ‘to look at later’ file with only a cursory glance.

Spoiler: I have not managed to look at them later.

That being said, I am ashamed to say I have not had a handle on my pension for a really long time. I have one – I have about four via my various employers over the years, actually – but do I know where they are? Not one clue. I get drips and drabs of paperwork about them throughout the year, but these get filed in my ‘to look at later’ file with only a cursory glance.

Spoiler: I have not managed to look at them later.

money management pipe dreams

My very lovely Mulberry purse, which I might not be able to afford if I don’t keep up with my pension payments ;) 

I really have been meaning to collate all the information I had about my pensions and to start contributing again – I have standing orders for savings and ISAs but not for this, mostly because I didn’t know how – but I wasn’t sure where to start. Is it possible to transfer all my pensions into one ‘master pension’? Who offers such a service? Do I have to create (another) spreadsheet? Can I lie down now?

But lucky for my financial stress, a couple of weeks ago I was contacted by PensionBee, a service that offers exactly what I’ve been looking for; a platform that allows you to locate and amalgamate your AWOL pensions into one pot, and then continue to contribute into them via a plan you pick yourself.

I signed up and within fifteen minutes had entered all the information about my old pensions (you don’t need policy numbers to transfer them but it helps speed up the process) and had set up a direct debit from my bank account for a monthly contribution. Another five minutes later and the app was on my phone, pending information from my pensions that are about to be transferred over to my new account.

PensionBee dashboard

What your dashboard might look like

I took some time to use their pension calculator; this looks at your current pot and what you’d like to contribute monthly, and uses that information to advise you how much you’ll get upon retirement if you continue (evidently I need to start sticking a bit more in!).

It’ll take a few weeks to transfer my old pensions – I’ve managed to locate some policy numbers to expedite this process – and as soon as that’s done I’ll see them all on my easy-to-use dashboard (PensionBee call it the ‘BeeHive’). The company are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority so you know they’re subject to strict scrutiny, and all of my dough is protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

In my professional life as blogger, or sometimes as I like to call myself, ‘professional reviewer of stuff’, I come across some amazing products and services that I otherwise may well not have had a chance to try but continue using as they’re just so brilliant. Vision Direct’s contact lenses by post is one of these, as is the brilliant mail-order Pharmacy2u. My life coach is another, as well as our now annual Mark Warner holidays.

I have every confidence that PensionBee will fall under that umbrella now, too: it’s another headache ticked off my long-term ‘to-do’ list with ease and I feel surprisingly lighter knowing that it’s one small piece of future planning that I no longer have to worry about. I can’t wait to see my own little honey pot grow while I get back to the important business of crafting words and scratching my head over spreadsheets.

Huge thanks to PensionBee for commissioning this post. PensionBee is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. With pensions, your capital is at risk. The value of your pension with PensionBee can go down as well as up and you may get back less than you started with.

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