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What is pension consolidation?

Andrew Goldman

Andrew Goldman has been writing for over 20 years and investing for the past 10 years. He currently writes about personal finance and investing for Wealthsimple. Andrew's past work has been published in The New York Times Magazine, Bloomberg Businessweek, New York Magazine and Wired. Television appearances include NBC's Today show as well as Fox News. Andrew holds a Bachelor of Arts (English) from the University of Texas. He and his wife Robin live in Westport, Connecticut with their two boys and a Bedlington terrier. In his spare time, he hosts “The Originals" podcast.

Count the number of companies where you’ve worked. If you, like most of us, have had more jobs than pets, significant others, and ties combined, you’ve probably accumulated a ragged group of pensions from your various employers. Some may be great, but we doubt it. Chances are, if your employer administered them, they will be either badly invested, larded up with excessive fees, or both, and the effect this drag can have on your comfort in retirement cannot be overestimated.

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If this is the case, you should consider taking control of this ungainly collection with pension consolidation. It’s exactly what it sounds like — rolling up all your pensions into one account in which you’ll be able to make all the investment decisions. A natural choice would be to roll them up into a self-invested personal pension (SIPP) — an account you can set up at any brokerage, though we’ll humbly suggest you try Wealthsimple on for size.

A couple notes of caution. Read the small print on any employer-sponsored plan and make sure that it doesn’t have exit penalties so significant that they’ll be impossible to make up over time with a better plan (something especially of concern if you’re older than 50 — that is, not so many years away from retirement age.) Naturally, if you’re still employed at a company and it offers a program of matching funds on any contribution you make, you certainly don’t want to turn down any of that free money by converting the account to a self-invested pension. So by all means consolidate, but do so with your eyes wide open.

We believe Wealthsimple is the very best home for all of your pensions. Transfer your existing pensions to Wealthsimple and avail of the kind of personalized, friendly service you might have not thought imaginable from an automated investing service.

Last Updated January 29, 2018

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