Lost pots have an average value of £2,800, while a typical lost pension policy is worth over £23,000, according to research by Gretel. The Money Recovery service found that some 19.6million people in the UK were out of funds.
Lost pension pots accounted for more than two-thirds of the missing money, with £37billion unclaimed, affecting 1.6million people.
People can lose track of a retirement pot when they change jobs or when their financial situation changes for another reason, such as moving house.
Many more people could miss out on other much-needed funds in the current cost of living crisis.
Some 10 million people have a lost or inactive bank or building society account, with an average value of £450.
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Gretel is a free online service that helps reconnect people with their lost money.
Chief executive Duncan Stevens said: ‘At a time when the cost of living in the UK is at its highest level in 30 years, handing over the £50billion of dormant, lost and unclaimed money from Savings, investments and pensions in the hands of the consumer, where he belongs, is more important than ever.
“Gretel’s research shows that consumers have historically faced a series of barriers related to cost, complexity and poor communication when it comes to tracing lost accounts.”
The research found that one in four consumers think the amount would be so small that it wouldn’t be worth chasing their money.
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If inflation continues to rise throughout 2022, the average person would lose 8.5% of their savings.
That would equate to £639 lost in 2022 alone.
If inflation hits 11% as forecast for this year and rates remain stagnant, savings accounts could lose 10.5%, or £789, every year.
The Bank of England recently raised the base interest rate to 1.75% to fight inflation.
Michelle Stevens, banking expert at finder.com, said: “The fact that savings accounts are currently losing people a lot of money in real terms is another worrying result of the cost of living crisis.
“They remain a prudent choice for many consumers given the security they offer and the fact that they still earn you interest, but they may not be a sustainable option for many if inflation does not start. not to drop soon.
“However, a bear market – which many predict will worsen – also does not inspire confidence in choices such as investing or cryptocurrency.”
The financial expert also warned that any promise of an interest rate above inflation could lead to some Britons losing all their savings.
She added: “With the potential for inflation-beating returns also comes the possibility of losing some or all of your money.”
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