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Retiring in America can vary widely by the type of field you work in, the state you live in, physical factors, and more. The U.S. Census Bureau shows that the average retirement age in the United States is 65 for men and 63 for women. [1] People in different professions have the luxury of retiring before their average retirement age, while others don’t have the same option for a variety of reasons. 

Factors that impact the age of your retirement are the age at which you started saving for retirement, how well you planned your retirement, your health, what kind of retirement plans were available to you, and how aggressively you saved. We will take a look at the average retirement age for blue-collar workers, the data might surprise you.

Summary

  • The average retirement age for men is 65 and 63 for women
  • Your retirement age will vary based on your state and the kind of retirement plan you participate in
  • It’s recommended that you diversify your investments and don’t rely on just a single retirement source

Average Retirement Age for Police Officers

The average age for police officers is around 55. 

Police officers have the option of retiring much earlier than the average retirement age. This is possible if they have met the age and service requirements of their state. While most municipal employees don’t qualify for their pensions until about age 60 or higher, depending on the state they live in, police officers can retire at any age after they have completed the required number of years in uniformed service. 

Police Officer Retirement Example

The 55/30 or 60 with 10 Retirement Option ( Michigan ) Full Retirement

For example, in Michigan, you will qualify for full retirement at age 60 with at least 10 years of service, or age 55 with 30 years of service.[2] Again, these will vary depending on the state you live in. There can be other contingencies such as your employee classifications which can impact your retirement age.

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Usually, the retirement benefit for retired cops is 50% of the base salary of an officer at the same location. Each state will have its own stipulations to allow for increased benefits depending on the time served.

Each state will also have its own early reduced retirement option for police officers in which you can qualify to retire at a much younger age for a reduced amount.

Average Retirement Age For Teachers

The average age for teachers is around 59.

If you’re a teacher in the public school system your retirement plan will most likely be a defined benefit plan, or pension plan which is managed by your state government. On the other hand, if you teach in a private or charter school, your retirement plan will most likely be a defined contribution plan, such as a 401(k) or 403(b).

The main difference between the two is that with a pension plan you will receive a specific amount every month for the rest of your life once you retire, while with a standard 401(k) retirement plan you will live off on what you have save up inside your 401(k).

Most teachers are eligible for full pension benefits once they have hit 30 years of service. In most states, teachers will be eligible for retirement without penalty once they turn 60 years of age with less than 30 years of service.

Average Retirement Age for Carpenters

The average retirement age for carpenters is around 62. 

Most carpenters participate in a defined benefit pension plan, which will pay a monthly pension benefit for the rest of your life upon retirement. The requirements will vary based on your age and the number of years you have served. The normal retirement age is 65 years with at least 5 years of service. 

Carpenters have the option of retiring earlier with a reduced pension at age 55 with a minimum of 10 years of service. This is considered an early retirement pension option. Your pension will be reduced by approximately 6.67% per year from age 62 if you take an early pension.

The amount you receive from your pension will be your normal 3% of the total credited employer contributions received on your behalf as a result of the work performed by you.

Carpenter Retirement Example

For example, Let’s assume you had $100,000 of credited employer pension contributions paid if for you while you worked under a carpenters union. Your monthly pension benefit amount would be $100,000 multiplied by 3%. In this example, you would get $3,000 per month for the rest of your life.

This amount can vary depending on the amount your employer has contributed to your pension by the time you decide to retire. The great thing about most pension plans is that they have a death benefit plan. This is paid to eligible beneficiaries if you are vested in the plan. The amount is based upon the total employer contributions made on your behalf and your age at the time of death.

Average Retirement Age for Firefighters

The average retirement age for firefighters is around 57 years of age. 

Being a fight fighter can be an extremely dangerous and challenging job. Firefighters have the option of retiring after 20 years of continuous active service. According to the U.S. Department of Interior [3], the mandatory retirement age for firefighters with 20 years of covered service is 57. After 20 years of service, you will receive 50% of the salary of a fire fighter as a pension.

The biggest question fire fighters face about their retirement is whether or not they will have enough to retire on.

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics , the average firefighter earns approximately $43,450 per year. If you chose to retire at after 20 years of service at the average age of 57, you will receive approximately $26,000 per year. This may simply not be enough money for people to retire on depending on their medical expenses and state they live in. Another fact that people aren’t aware of is that firefighters aren’t covered by Social Security.

Important: As such, you will often-times see firefighters holding second jobs just so they can participate in Social Security. This is important for them so they have another stream of income when they do chose to retire.

Average Retirement Age for Nurses

The average retirement age for registered nurses is around 58. 

It’s also estimated that more two thirds of registered nurses retired before age 65. The most common ways that nurses save for retirement is either through a 401(k) plan, 401(a) plan, or a 403(b) plan. These will depend upon your healthcare system at work.

The main difference between the two is that 401(k) plans are offered by for profit organizations, whereas 401(a) plans are only available for non-profit institutions. A 403(b) is specifically designed for nurses and employees of tax-exempt institutions like healthcare professionals. The downside with a 403(b) plan is that you can’t make contributions to it if it’s not offered by your employer.

If a nurse works in a hospital, chances are that they will receive some sort of pension plan. But most for profit employers are starting to move away from traditional pensions plans and rely more on 401(k) plans.

Conclusion

Knowing some of these statistics and retirement options is important if you are blue collar worker in these professions. It’s important to know your options so you can plan you retirement future accordingly. If you plan accordingly, you can retire well below the average retirement age in most of these professions.

FAQ’s


What is the average lifespan of a firefighter?

Research has shown that the lifespan of firefighters is on average 10-15 years less than non-firefighters. A major reason for this is due to heart problems, lung problems, and cancer.

Do firefighters receive get Social Security?

According to the Internal Association of Fire Fighters[4], approximately 75% of all firefighters are covered by pension plans that are independent of social security. As such, firefighters do not receive Social Security. You will often notice firefighters holding non-firefighter jobs to qualify to receive Social Security.

Why are nurses retiring early?

Nurses are retiring earlier than usual because they are simply overworked throughout COVID. They work extremely long hours, graveyard shifts, and constantly deal with sick and difficult patients. Throughout the pandemic the demand for nurses has never been higher.

What is the average lifespan of a police officer?

The average lifespan of police officers varies widely by the state and county in which they serve. According to the US National Library of Medicine[5], the average age of death for police officers is 66.

Article sources

[1] The Center of Retirement Research at Boston College: What Explains the Widening Gap in Retirement Ages By Education? – https://crr.bc.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/IB_18-10.pdf

[2] Michigan Office of Retirement Services: State Employees Defined Benefit Plan- https://www.michigan.gov/orsstatedb/0,4654,7-208-30580_31510—,00.html

[3] U.S. Department of the Interior: Information on Special Retirement For Firefighters and Law Enforcement Officers – https://www.doi.gov/sites/doi.gov/files/migrated/flert/training/upload/General-FF-LEO-Retirement-Information-Pamphlet.pdf

[4] International Association of Fire Fighters: Setting the Record Straight on Fire Fighters and Social Security – https://www.iaff.org/blog/setting-the-record-straight-on-fire-fighters-and-social-security/

[5] US National Library of Medicine : Life Expectancy in Police Officers: A Comparison with the U.S. General Population – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4734369/

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