If you haven’t been in the workplace long you might wonder, “What is a pension?” Traditional pensions — also referred to as defined benefit plans — pay fixed amounts to retirees based on a formula determined by salary, years of service and age.
A pension, however, is no longer a guaranteed source of retirement income. Since the financial crisis, employers have significantly slashed retirement benefit plans in the public-sector arena. Nearly three-quarters of state plans and more than half of large, local plans reduced retirement benefits or raised the employee contribution amount, according to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.
Companies that still offer pensions do exist. Here are eight industries in which employers might still offer jobs with pensions to workers engaged in full-time employment. Discover how you could get a pension and make your retirement planning easier.
Jobs that offer pensions are typically available to most primary, secondary and special needs teachers as well as educational service providers at colleges and universities, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Don’t count on these jobs offering a pension in the future, however. Alaska, for example, discontinued pensions for teachers in 2006.
2. MANUFACTURING AND PRODUCTION
Workers who do the heavy lifting — particularly those in unionized trades — have historically received pensions; however, those retirement benefits are dwindling.
JM Family Enterprises, Inc., an automotive manufacturing and production company based in Deerfield Beach, Fla., is the only manufacturing company on Fortune’s 2016 List of Best Workplaces to Retire From. Employees are eligible for the pension plan almost immediately after they’re hired.
Insurance companies typically offer defined benefit pension plans, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but that trend might be cooling. Several insurance companies appear on Fortune’s 2016 List, but Nationwide Mutual Insurance is the only one that still provides pensions for its employees.
Employees in the finance industry can often count on retirement benefits — in fact, a few financial services companies made Fortune’s 2016 list. Only one, however — Navy Federal Credit Union, headquartered in Vienna, Va. — currently offers an employer-provided pension.
Registered nurses comprise the largest component of workers in the U.S. healthcare field. Nursing is a physically and emotionally challenging profession in which employees deal with patients from birth to death. Nurses are usually eligible for a pension after years of service.
6. PROTECTIVE SERVICE
Providing a pension for the policemen and women who risk their lives to protect the public seems natural to compensate them for performing this dangerous job. People who protect and serve fall into the category of public-sector employees and might receive a substantial payout if they work for a state government.
7. STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT
Look outside the private industry to public service employment with your state or local government if you want a pension. Nearly all public-sector employees are entitled to pensions, according to the statistics bureau.
Private-sector employment should not be compared with state and local government jobs, according to the statistics bureau. The data is skewed due to the unequal distribution of occupations. For example, professionals and administrative support workers comprise two-thirds of local government workers, but only half of private-sector employees.
The military still offers pensions, but you shouldn’t join the military to get rich, said Doug Nordman, retired Navy submariner and author of “The Military Guide to Financial Independence & Retirement.”
The military is phasing in a new Blended Retirement System plan. It provides members with a monthly income for life coupled with the Thrift Savings Plan, a defined contribution plan that’s similar to a 401k. “The pension is very confusing because the military’s total compensation consists of taxable base pay and one-time bonuses as well as untaxed allowances for housing, food and uniforms,” said Nordman.