Friday, May 16, 2014

I'm not penniless

I spent some time going through some of my old pension stuff. Luckily, I seem to have had this thought before and it was all in the same box. Actually, I think when I was moving here I contacted the various places to see whether or not I could get any of my pensions cashed out. Of the three pensions I had in place (I was lazy about transferring pensions schemes to new employers, which is why there were three), only one had been paid in to for less than two years. So I took the tax hit on getting that cashed out and that money was just a bit more than the movers I used to get here. I was glad of it at the time.

And that left two. I have to send a letter to one company to notify them in writing of my change of address and they will post me a full benefit statement. They don't seem to do online.

For the other I actually found a letter with log-on details for their website and amazingly, even though it's seven years since I got that letter and the company has since been taken over by another one. So I was able to see that the money I did pay in to that, along with the matched contributions from my employer at the time have increased by over 45%. After going down past -30% in early 2009. So although I'm pleased with the increase, I'll take the "funds may fall as well a rise" very much to heart. It's not a lot of money, less than eight thousand in that plan, but at least there's something there. Along with whatever is in the other pension and what I have in my private pension here, I'm on the way to fifteen thousand.

When I was still in debt I was very careful to not add any of this to my net worth calculation. I needed that to be focused on clearing debt and moving towards a positive figure. Now I need to start looking to the future. I'm not entirely sure I believe stock markets or society as we know it today will still be around by the time I get to retirement age but for now, I'm trying to stay optimistic. So I'll continue to invest a small-ish amount into pensions as long as I'm working so that at least I'm making use of the tax breaks. I may never make it to a Mustachian style early retirement but maybe one day I'll manage to buy a house. Once I get through this year, find a new job and move, I think that has to become my priority. For now, it's nice to know that if I do ever manage that, at least I've already taken care of having a bit extra on top of a state pension so that I can enjoy the occasional slice of cake to go with the delicious homemade cider I'll be sipping on my front porch at 65!

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