As we age, many of us become fixated with our retirement plans, and more importantly, how much money we will be left with.
After all, we have worked most of our lives for that nestegg; we want it to be substantial.
People are getting younger and younger and thinking about these things, even considering retirement plans before entering a career.
And why not consider your pension fund as possible? Many of us are starting to consider retirement plans, and pilots are no exception.
So today, let’s find out how much pilots retire with and how their pensions work out.
Do pilots get pensions?
The pilot’s pensions will depend on the airline that the pilot works for.
For most airlines, pensions have disappeared; instead, they are offered 401ks, where a percentage of their pre-tax salary is sent to a retirement account as nesting for when pilots retire.
In recent years unions have fought hard to protect pilots’ pensions and ensure a plan to provide them with financial aid. They also worked to protect pensions for new staff as well as existing staff.
Delta and Union Airlines, in particular, offer pensions for their existing pilots.
These pilots can expect fantastic benefits once they reach retirement age. The age varies depending on the airline but averages between 60 and 65.
An early retirement is an option, but this can impact the pension a pilot will receive.
Some opt for early retirement, especially if they have lengthy years of service with the airline, but be aware that early retirement can impact your payout and pension!
The potential of early retirement for pilots will vary depending on the airline, years of service, and the pension policy they are a part of.
How much do pilots retire with?
The amount pilots retire with varies depending on the airline and the pilot’s years of service with the airline.
For example, pilots with 35 years of service can see a range from $1.8 million to over $3 million.
Some pilots can see as much as $8.1 million when they retire. Again, these vary depending on the pilot’s company and any payments made into a pension fund.
As a general rule, retirement benefits are estimated at 7.5% of the benefits program if they are part of one, or 3% of their final annual salary.
These numbers depend on the scheme the pilot has paid into. If they have swapped airlines or changed careers, there might be multiple pension schemes they pay into.
Here they might move the payments into one fund or have multiple payments when they retire.
How a pilot’s pension works will depend on the scheme they are a part of and contribute to a private pension themselves.
But as we can see, after a long career, pilots can retire with a substantial pension!
How much do retired pilots make?
The amount a retired pilot makes will vary depending on their retirement plan. Whether they have paid into a pension, a 401k, or another payment scheme will dictate their payout and salary once they have retired.
If we take the average payment of $8.1 million for a pilot with 30 years of service, expect an annual salary of $270,000 or $22,500 per month for a 30-year career.
These numbers are, of course, liable to tax and other fees, and you can check the current tax rates on pension payments.
As a general rule, shorter careers will see smaller payout values, and longer careers will see higher values.
As with most pensions, pilots can choose to have a lump sum paid out or spread the payments over a set amount of years.
Tax here will impact the amount that a retired pilot will make, but if they have many years of service, they are looking at a substantial pension!
Do retired pilots fly free?
Whether retired pilots fly for free will depend on the airline and their years of service. For example, retired pilots with ten years of service at American Airlines can fly for free.
They can travel for free but will have to pay an extra charge if they wish to fly via business class.
The added costs will depend on the airline itself and the length of service the pilot has completed before they retire. Usually, airlines require 10 years of service as a minimum to qualify for free flying.
Free flying will also depend on where the flight is going; usually, the free flights are for domestic use rather than international flights.
Some airlines will allow you to travel for free with your family or a partner in these situations. This depends on the airline and the pilot's years of service with the airline.
Often, pilots will receive a discounted price for their family or those traveling with them.