Airline Pilot Retirement Age

I have been a part of numerous conversations about pilot retirement ages and the extension to age 65.  The consensus is mixed about whether this is a good thing or not.  Some pilots are excited about the opportunity to work another five years and add to their retirement.  In my opinion, I am wondering why on earth would you would want to do that?  First of all, if you have made your goal of getting to the left seat (congrats) then it pretty much boils down to managing your schedule and trying to get as many days off a month as possible.  Secondly I have this vision of being sixty and sitting in a boat somewhere with my grand-kids fishing.  Why would I want to fly airplanes for another 5 years and take away from what I worked so hard for in the first place.  I started flying when I was 18, that is long enough.  Then there is the other hand, the money.  At age sixty you are most likely topped out on your salary and chances are you putting away some serious cash.  If you are an airline pilot, you could feasibly make another million dollars in income.  Depending on what you contribute to your 401K, this could make a huge difference.  So which do you choose?  The answer may be in the time frame in which you started and whether or not you stayed flying steady throughout your career.

Do a Little Planning

Perhaps you were a victim of the 9-11 crisis and fell behind in your retirement planning (I did) or you got furloughed from a job and it took longer to get back to work.  Or the economy tanked and your 401K took a beating.  Another reason is maybe just bought into the “captains house and car” philosophy.  However, there is no excuse for poor planning.  In my opinion you should spend all that layover time in those exotic cities (like pittsburgh?) doing a little planning and making the plan work for you, instead of laying around and watching TV.  Another idea that I really like is to start a business that you can carry into retirement or even work on so that you can retire early.  This also works well so that in case you lose your aviation job, you have something to fall back onto.  Good planning also involves figuring out what your going to spend your new extra time doing.  If its a hobby, that could be one thing, if its traveling and seeing the world, it could be more pricey than you think.  Last but not least, don’t forget to plan for cost of living increases.  For some reason things always tend to get more expensive and never cheaper.

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