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11 Best Jobs for Early Retirement

Drazen_ / Getty Images
Drazen_ / Getty Images

Even if you love your job, it’s hard not to fantasize about early retirement. But the reality is that many Americans will end up having to work past the traditional retirement age of 65 due to a number of factors, including longer life expectancy, stagnant wages and a lack of jobs that offer a pension plan to guarantee income in retirement.

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Many people simply won’t be able to save enough to retire comfortably before 65 — you’d need to have saved over $1 million, regardless of your state, another GOBankingRates study found. But some jobs offer a better chance at an early retirement than others.


With the help of financial experts, GOBankingRates determined the best jobs for those who want to retire before 65.

AnnaStills / Getty Images/iStockphoto
AnnaStills / Getty Images/iStockphoto


Average salary: $46,970 per year

Though automotive service technicians and mechanics don’t earn a great deal of money ($46,970 per year, on average), retirement benefits in this field can be stellar.

“Union mechanics, especially in industries like power generation, enjoy contractual benefits that allow them to retire before 60,” said Daniel Roccato, MBA, CPM, clinical professor of finance at University of San Diego School of Business.

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gorodenkoff / Getty Images/iStockphoto
gorodenkoff / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Software Developer

Average salary: $124,200

Those with an interest in tech and a yearning for early retirement should consider a career as a software developer, where workers typically earn upward of $100K.

“With high demand and competitive salaries, software developers often enjoy high paychecks and lucrative benefits packages,” said Erika Kullberg, attorney, personal finance expert and the founder of “Plus, many tech companies offer stock options and retirement plans, setting the stage for early retirement.”

Find Out: Here’s the Cost To Retire Comfortably in Every State by Age

monkeybusinessimages / Getty Images/iStockphoto
monkeybusinessimages / Getty Images/iStockphoto


Average salary: $229,300

If your parents wanted you to become a doctor, they had good reason: physicians and surgeons make great money — $229,300, on average.

“While the path to becoming a physician requires years of education and training, the payoff can be substantial,” Kullberg said. “Physicians typically earn generous salaries and may have access to pension plans and retirement benefits, accelerating their retirement.”

pixelfit / Getty Images
pixelfit / Getty Images


Average salary: $159,530

“Dentists often have impressive incomes, thanks to the essential nature of their services and the specialized skills required,” Kullberg said. “Alongside high earning potential, many dentists have access to retirement plans and investment opportunities.”

Kerkez / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Kerkez / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Financial Advisor

Average salary: $95,390

We could all tremendously benefit from having a financial advisor in our own lives, and we could all earn a pretty decent living by becoming one! The professionals pull in $95,390 a year, on average.

“As experts in wealth management, financial advisors are well-positioned to secure their own financial futures,” Kullberg said. “With the potential for high earnings and access to valuable retirement planning resources, financial advisors can map out a path to early retirement for themselves and their clients.”

FG Trade / Getty Images
FG Trade / Getty Images

Airline Pilot

Average salary: $148,900

They make it seem effortless, but pilots have extraordinary skills that are hard earned. Appropriately, they get paid well ($148,900 a year, on average) making this career path an excellent choice for people looking to retire early.

“Pilots enjoy competitive salaries, excellent benefits and the potential for early retirement through pension plans and retirement savings programs offered by airlines,” Kullberg said. “Plus, the travel perks can add an extra layer of enjoyment to life before retirement.”

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DisobeyArt / Getty Images/iStockphoto
DisobeyArt / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Engineering Manager

Average salary: $159,920

An engineering manager has a number of duties, including overseeing projects and supervising engineering teams. They get paid handsomely for their work — $159,920 per year, on average.

“Engineering managers combine technical expertise with leadership skills, earning substantial salaries in the process. Many engineering firms offer attractive retirement benefits, making this career path a solid choice,” Kullberg said.

JHVEPhoto /
JHVEPhoto /

Rail Yard Engineer

Average salary: $58,430 

Rail yard engineers aren’t the most likely to become self-made millionaires given that they make $58,430 a year, on average, but they may be entitled to some cushy benefits that make early retirement more feasible.

“A severe shortage of qualified railroad engineers has driven up pay levels,” Roccato said. “After 30 years of service, they may be eligible for a full pension benefit.”

Dimensions / Getty Images
Dimensions / Getty Images


Average salary: $129,410 

There’s strong and growing demand for pharmacists in the U.S. (not to mention tons of job openings). And these professionals make good money: $129,410 a year, on average.

“With a strong job outlook and generous compensation packages, pharmacists can build wealth and secure their financial futures,” Kullberg said. “Pension plans and retirement savings options offered by pharmacies and hospitals are among the best in the nation.”

Drazen_ / Getty Images
Drazen_ / Getty Images


Average salary: $113,990

Actuaries get access to great salaries and benefits packages, making early retirement more practical.

“Actuaries specialize in risk assessment and financial forecasting, commanding high salaries and enjoying excellent job stability,” Kullberg said. “Actuaries typically work for large insurance companies, and many of these Fortune 500 companies have excellent benefits packages.”

skynesher / Getty Images
skynesher / Getty Images

College Professor

Average salary: $80,840

Academia isn’t exactly famed for high pay, but the average salary for college professors isn’t as shabby as you may think at $80,840. Plus, this job can pay off big in other ways that are important for future early retirees.

“College professors often enjoy competitive pay, generous benefits and pension plans,” Kullberg said. “With careful financial planning and investment strategies, professors can retire early while still pursuing their passions in retirement.”

Editor’s Note: All data on salary was obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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This article originally appeared on 11 Best Jobs for Early Retirement