When it comes to retirement benefits, some jobs go above and beyond. From early retirement to tenure to a full pension, here are some of the country’s top jobs with the best retirement perks.
Heavily unionized utility companies offer the highest retirement benefits of any industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unions negotiate and fight for traditional pensions and strong benefits for members. Employees working in areas such as nuclear power, electricity, water, sewage treatment or renewable energy can earn as much as $6.56 per hour toward retirement.
Teaching at colleges and universities can provide pleasant working conditions, along with the possibility for tenure in just a few years. Last year, AARP cited Cornell University, West Virginia University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology among their best employers for workers over 50. But you don’t necessarily need to be a professor to enjoy the same generous health and retirement benefits. Many higher education institutions extend these resources to staff at all levels, including aides and secretaries.
“A lot of what we see in terms of our applicants for best employers program are companies that actually do this for business reasons,” says Jean Setzfand, vice president for financial security at AARP. “There are skill sets that actually really value in experienced workers, so they want to keep and retain them for a long period of time.”
Another industry offering generous retirement benefits is aircraft manufacturing. Engineers, inspectors, testers, production managers and administrators receive retirement contributions of $2.87 per hour, considerably above the average.
Additionally, construction jobs are known for their competitive retirement benefits, although the work is labor-intensive and potentially dangerous. Workers can receive $1.80 per hour toward retirement. Union members and contractors can earn even more.
Public Sector Jobs
While some local counties and states are experiencing fiscal problems, public sector jobs such as firefighters and police officers still offer some of the best benefits – including early retirement. Most police officers have the option to retire after just 20 years of service and earn a pension that pays 50% or more of their yearly salary.
The health care industry offers excellent benefits to employees. In fact, nearly half of the businesses on AARP’s list of the best employers for workers over 50 are health care companies. AARP named Scripps Health, a major hospital and health care provider in California, the number one employer. The company has developed a program to assist employees between the ages of 50 and 70, as they transition toward retirement and bring back retirees when temporary positions open up.
Within the health care field, nursing is a fast-growing profession that’s enticing new workers with high pay and great benefits. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the number of registered nursing jobs to soar 26% by 2020. Large hospitals can often support hefty retirement programs and, in recent years, nursing unions have won traditional pensions.
Now regardless of employer benefits, it’s important to plan for your own retirement. After all, companies can face financial problems and wind up buying their employees’ pensions outright or going out of business entirely. So it’s smart to always have a back-up savings plan.
“A lot of people have more uncertainty in terms of what their income will look like in retiretment these days, different from past generations where they may have had access to a defined-benefit, traditional pension,” Setzfand says. “It may not be the case for retirees today. So knowing what you want out of life is really important so you can define the money you need in order to support that life.”
As always, we want to hear from you. What are some ways you’re saving for retirement? Connect with me on Twitter @Farnoosh and use the hashtag #finfit.
Special Thanks To AARP "Best Employers for Workers Over 50" for making this video possible.