Retirement Income By Profession

Average Retirement Income By Profession


John E Chambers
August 31, 2021

The average retirement income in the U.S. is $48,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

But retirement income depends on several factors, including Social Security benefits.

While many retirees rely heavily on Social Security, that source of retirement income isn’t going to cut the deal when it comes to supporting a comfortable retirement.

The larger part of your retirement income should come from a combination of your savings, investments, and retirement plan.

This list of average retirement income by profession will help you identify the most likely jobs that can make your dream retirement lifestyle a reality.

Seven Professions and their Retirement Income

Finding a good job that pays well with a good retirement plan can seem nearly impossible nowadays.

But there are plenty of professions with impressive retirement benefits still available if you know where to look. Check out this list of average retirement income by profession for a fair idea of where you may find opportunities.

Industry: Public Sector Employee

Working in a government job offers one of the most enviable retirement programs that can pay up to 90% of your salary when you retire.

Here are some of the professions that can enroll you in high-paying state pension programs:

1. Firefighter


If you are physically fit, have lots of confidence, and love to protect people, the job of a firefighter might be right for you.

In addition to extinguishing fires, firefighters protect the citizens during emergencies, execute rescues, and conduct surveys and inspections to prevent fire damage.

It is not uncommon to see retired firefighters earning a higher percentage of their salary in retirement than many other professions, even when they retire early. That’s because a majority of firefighters don’t receive Social Security.

Instead of employers paying payroll tax for Social Security, the money is invested in a defined-benefit retirement plan that provides enviable retirement income comparable to 401k plans.

However, if you are considering this role, you shouldn’t be focused on good retirement benefits alone. The position calls for individuals with high composure, effective communication skills, patience and sensitivity, problem-solving skills, ability to follow instructions, and ability to work effectively as part of a team.

Average Salary in Office

According to figures from Indeed, the average base salary for firefighters in the United States is $51,205 per year.

2. Police Officer

If you have a thing for law enforcement, you may want to take up a job as a police officer. This role comes with huge responsibilities because police officers are saddle with the task of serving and protecting the citizens.

Police offers enjoy very good benefits packages during their working years, including medical, life insurance, and dental. They also have excellent retirement plans in addition to long-term disability pay.

You can expect to get up to 72.75% of your salary when you retire as a police officer. For example, if your annual salary during active service is $100,000, you are entitled to $72,750 per year in retirement.

To join the police force, you need certain skills, including maturity, assertiveness, resilience, good interpersonal skills, and open-mindedness among others.

Average Salary in Office

In the United States, the average police officer salary is $56,897 per year, according to Career Explorer.

Industry: Insurance

There’s arguably no other industry or sector that understands the concept of providing benefits more than the insurance industry. That’s because it is essentially a business of offering protection from financial loss and providing benefits in the form of risk management.

It stands to reason that the insurance industry should have some of the best retirement benefits. Here is a list of average retirement income by profession in the insurance industry:

3. Actuary

insurance industry

A career opportunity as an actuary might be right for you if you are great with math, financial theory, and statistics.

Actuaries can specialize in a broad range of insurance areas, including Life insurance, Enterprise Risk, Pricing, Pension, Property Development, and Health insurance actuaries among others.

Regardless of the area of specialization, the role typically involves analyzing and figuring out risk factors that help insurance companies to determine the right premiums to charge customers.

Pension actuaries design, test, and evaluate pension plans for companies. This helps the companies to know whether or not there will be enough funds to pay future benefits. Experts in this role can also provide retirement planning advice to people as well as develop retirement plans for businesses.

Average Salary in Office

According to ZipRecruiter, the national average salary for an actuary is $90,839 per year, which comes down to $7,570 per month.

4. Underwriter

Insurance doesn’t work without underwriters. That’s because experts in this position are responsible for actually writing or creating specific insurance policies.

You need a combination of skills to fit this position. Some of these skills include:

  • Analytical skills
  • Negotiation skills
  • Math, statistics, and analytical skills
  • Good judgment

In addition to these, you need to have excellent attention to detail to write satisfactory coverage for both the client and the insurance company you work for.

Typically, an underwriter determines whether or not clients should get insurance coverage or what risks should be covered, and the amount of money to charge for coverage.

While underwriters should have excellent negotiation skills, it is usually not because they need to interact with clients. In most cases, underwriters work behind the scenes, allowing insurance brokers and agents to deal directly and do all the back and forth with clients.

Average Salary in Office

PayScale puts the average base salary for an insurance underwriter at $58,366 per year.

5. Sales Agent

sales agent average retirement income

Consider a career as an insurance sales agent if you are good with people. This role requires dealing directly with a lot of different people and networking with others, so excellent interpersonal and communication skills are very crucial.

Insurance sales agents sell insurance and risk management products to clients on behalf of the insurance company they work for, which is why they are sometimes called captive agents.

Insurance sales agents are typically on the go – meeting with different potential clients and closing deals. But one of the things about this position is that it offers plenty of flexibility in terms of work hours, which gives a typical sales agent an enviable work/life balance.

While insurance agents can work independently, they are likely better off working with insurance providers, especially since that will increase their chances of getting better retirement benefits. This is particularly true if the insurance company has a solid employer-sponsored retirement plan.

Average Salary in Office

The national average salary for a life insurance sales agent is $91,102 per year, according to ZipRecruiter.

Industry: Trades

One of the advantages of trade professions is that they often belong to strong unions that fight and negotiate for traditional pensions.

Here are two excellent professions in the trade industry with good retirement benefits.

6. Electrician

Electrician Average income

Electricians are responsible for installing and repairing electrical systems, wiring, and fixtures. They can work in different settings, including in construction sites, homes, factories, and business premises.

The demand for electricians is expected to grow by 8% between 2019 and 2029, so there is a good chance of landing a job.  

Most electricians, especially those who work in the oil and gas industry, often enjoy good salary and benefits packages. They receive paid vacations, health and dental insurance, and sick days during their working years.

In retirement, most electricians enjoy good retirement plans in addition to special bonuses or profit-sharing plan participation.

Average Salary in Office

Indeed puts the average base salary of electricians at $55,750 per year.

7. Truck Driver

Truck driving offers several perks, such as travel opportunities, freedom on the open road (as against being stuck in a cubicle), and job security. Besides, it is one of the most lucrative hourly wage jobs.

That means you can earn enough income to cater to your current needs and still have enough left to save for retirement.

Most trucking companies also offer good retirement plans, 401ks, and life insurance. Other benefits include medical, dental, and vision. If you land a job as a long-haul driver, some trucking companies may even offer paid vacation.

So, if you are physically fit, have a commercial driver’s license (CDL), and enjoy spending time behind the wheel, truck driving may be just the right profession for you. The chance of making enough money to support yourself and your family in retirement is high with this job.

Average Salary in Office

The average base salary for truck drivers is $67,656 per year, as seen on Indeed.


Most experts agree that your retirement income should be around 80% of what you take home before retirement. This will be a lot easier if you are in a profession that offers good retirement benefits.

Hopefully, you can find job opportunities in one of the industries on this list. These can support you in retirement and help you live a significant part of your dream lifestyle in your golden years.


John E Chambers

John E Chambers is an experienced financial advice expert. Born in Chicago, he has a master's in Industrial Finance, but he has spent decades offering investment advice to businesses and individuals alike. He is the founder of and wants the website to be valuable for retirement advice. In addition, he writes articles that help users jump-start their retirement plans and choose the best investment options. If not pondering over stock market statistics or reading some magazines, you can find John spending time with his family. As an early retiree, John also offers unique insights into what post-retirement life is like.