Millennials have been disrupting traditional companies for the better part of the last decade. While busy with their side hustles and scrolling through social media, many still aspire to work at a company that invest in them. Many look at them as lazy and entitled but there is another side to this story. The rapid decline of benefit packages that include pensions upon retirement has caused a loyalty rift between employers and employees. After all, what is holding anyone back from being a job hopper these days? If you’re offered 20% more at the next job, you aren’t giving up any vesting rights to these pensions. It’s actually become easier to move employers for this generation, due to the ease of a 401K rollover. Though they may seem like unicorns, don’t fret! There are still some companies out there who are interested in retaining their employees. Stability is still attractive in 2016!
Johnson & Johnson, as well as Merck & Co still offer pension plans to their employees. J&J, to me, is the holy grail if you are looking to work for a big company with big time benefits. From knowing SEVERAL people inside the company, I can attest that talent and hard work will be rewarded with a couple extra zero’s at the end of your annual salary. This of course is on top of a defined benefit plan. Let’s just say I never met a poor person that worked from Johnson and Johnson.
ConEdison and PSE&G are two very reputable companies if you live in the North East. I have a source who is in management for a similar business. They confirm that these companies treat their employees like gold. In their experience, pensions, bonuses, and overtime were part of their employment package.
Military, Law Enforcement, and Fire
Though arguably the most deserving of lifetime retirement benefits, those who put their life on the line everyday are eligible for a pension. I sometimes regret not getting into a police force at 18 and riding out those 20 or 25 years, so I never have to work again. As a late teen, it’s hard to imagine 43 isn’t that old!
Let it be know that military careers don’t all include fighting on those viscous front lines. With many careers in engineering, technology, communications, and aviation, shooting a high powered rifle may be the last thing you’ll do upon enlistment.
Firefighters, where I’m from typically work a few days a week in 24 hour shifts. It does take a special person to run into a burning building, so this might be one you don’t want to do just for the benefits.
Though a very lofty goal, you’ll have a shot at a pension if you serve this great nation through public office. The Congressional Research Service notes the following:
“Members of Congress are eligible for a pension at the age of 62 if they have completed at least five years of service. Members are eligible for a pension at age 50 if they have completed 20 years of service, or at any age after completing 25 years of service. The amount of the pension depends on years of service and the average of the highest three years of salary. By law, the starting amount of a Member’s retirement annuity may not exceed 80% of his or her final salary”
If you can get there, this might be the sweetest deal there is. For instance, if you served from 30 to 36, you would be eligible for retirement benefits from 62 until death. Doesn’t get much better than that!
Yet another noble profession, teachers are also known to have a really good deal with their state governments. This doesn’t come without any controversy. For the same reasons companies decided to ditch pension funds, state governments are having trouble financially maintaining the liability. When entities get in trouble and have to cut cost, pensions are an easy target due to their size. If teaching is a possibility for you, it might be wise to do some research of the financial health of your state. Hopefully, your passion for the student trumps any of these calculations.
As I touched on earlier, defined benefit pension plans haven’t stood the test of time despite the options above. They were the death of the car industry, as those companies had to be bailed out more than once. Can you imagine paying hundreds of thousands of people who haven’t worked in decades? The math simply didn’t work. So, if your looking to get into a new career that offers a pension, it may not be there a heck of a lot longer. Here’s what I’m getting at: don’t pursue a career simply for the retirement benefits. Find out whats in demand and figure out a way to profit from it. Hopefully, you find something your passionate about. Start now and take action!