10 jobs that let you retire early

Industry News & Insights retire early with these ten jobs | Workopolis

Retiring before the age of 65 might seem like a pipe dream for the average Canadian worker, but every day, many Canadians with “regular jobs” are able to retire at least a decade early, thanks to a combination of high earnings, diligent saving and investing, and generous pension plans. Here are just ten of the types of jobs that let you retire early.

1. Politician

Canadian politicians make decent coin, ranging from a starting salary of $163,700 for a Member of Parliament to $327,400, the salary of our current Prime Minister, Stephen Harper. Politicians can also look forward to a lucrative pension plan, which grows the longer you hold your seat.

2. Government worker

The salaries and benefits of public sector workers have come under much scrutiny in the past few years. And it’s no wonder; two-thirds of private sector workers don’t have a pension plan at all, while public workers are earning generous pension plans with early retirement options that pay up to 70% of their last salary.

3. Investment banking/high finance

When your starting salary as first year investment banking analyst tops six figures, including bonuses, it’s fair to say to say that you may have found clear path to early retirement…assuming you can control your expenses.

4. Business consultant

“Business consultant” seems to be a catch all term these days, spanning every specialty and industry. If you have the education, experience and knowledge to help organizations with their strategy, then you could probably charge at least $200 an hour for that expertise, allowing you to either quickly save a decent nest egg, or work part-time.

5. Start-up employee

Joining or founding a start-up that becomes the next Google (or is acquired by Google) is rare, but when it does happen, it’s like winning the lottery.

6. Teacher

After 10 years of service, the lowest amount an Ontario teacher can make is $76,021 and across Canada, school teachers seem to be well-compensated for shaping the minds of future, but what makes this such a lucrative profession, at least in Canada, are the powerful pension plans (are you beginning to see a pattern?). For example, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan pays its retirees 70% of their top earnings, plus teachers can begin claiming their pension starting at 53 years old.

7. Business owner

I’ve probably asked a dozen millionaires how they’ve gained financial independence so early in their lives and they all say the same thing: start a business, grow it, then sell it (or let others run it for you).

8. Firefighter

Over the years, there have been numerous reports about the staggering amount of firefighters that crack the $100,000 a year salary. Add to that a powerful union negotiating regular wage increases and excellent benefits, and it becomes clear why firefighting is a retire early-type of job.

9. Police officer

Canadian police officers are not only among the best paid in the world, they receive excellent benefits and a generous pension plan, allowing them to retire after 25 years of service, at around 50 years old.

10. Sales

A job that offers sky’s the limit-type commission incentives will be great for those who are excellent at sales. If you’re good at convincing others and are passionate about the product you’re hawking, you could quickly grow your income to rival other top-earning jobs, which means more opportunities grow that nest egg.

Over half of the top careers that compensate well enough for early retirement are some form of public sector work, where it’s more “putting in your time” and then receiving a healthy pension. The other half of the list consists of private sector roles with the potential for large salaries, but leave retirement planning almost entirely in hands of the individual.

See also:
10 jobs that can make you a millionaire
The highest and lowest paying jobs in Canada
10 surprisingly high-paying jobs

Melissa Allen writes for Workopolis and appears on the Workopolis 180. She tweets @manifique.


  • Sheryl Ferguson

    Government workers get a generous pension? Unless you’re at the top of the ladder, government pensions are anything BUT generous. Most retired workers have to get by on less than 25k (or less) a year even after 25 years of service. Granted, they still contribute to our health care benefits (basic medical, no vision, dental), but we do not make 6 figure retirement pensions as you seem to think.

    • Mike

      I don’t see where they suggest that any government worker is making 6 figure retirement pensions. They do correctly suggest that government workers can earn up to 70% of their best 5 years in retirement. That is what I will earn. A retired worker with greater than 25 years of service that is only collecting a $25K pension annually, was probably sweeping floors as a janitor or possibly not working full time for the entire 25 years. The math doesn’t add up

      • Sheryl Ferguson

        Bullsh**. A GS-9 doesn’t make all that much more than $25K, nor do we make 70% of our salary. I don’t know what organization you work for, but you are obviously one of the government types that people complain about. I really resent your comment about sweeping floors. I did an important job, not just a desk jockey moving papers around. I’m glad I have a pension, but it’s not as big as many people think.

  • Trevor Jones

    The person who has written this article is totally out of touch with reality. Firstly I have started several small businesses since being in my mid 20’s and probably cant even contemplate retirement at all. I have no pension. I sold my first business when I was young and it still exists and employs people but that money is long gone on paying for my sons education and living expenses. The only thing correct about this article is that there are alot of overpaid government workers who take long lunches, many breaks, and retire early and contribute little to society. The best paying jobs now are cops, firefighters, and school teachers. Those same jobs in the USA pay about 40 % of what they make here. Alot of employed people in the government sector in Canada should thank their lucky stars they live in Canada. Small Business Owners who create 80% of the employment in Canada are treated poorly by the government and have the worst lifestyles when they retire. Rant is over. Government workers can now go back on break.

    • Nick Frausin

      i so agree with that why does Politicians and fire fighters get paid more then military members ones who literally put their life on the line. yes i realize a fire is life threatening but i don’t see bullets flying at them or IED’s or god damn 105mm artillery shells bombarding them. all i see is dirt and water being used to stop a fire. if anything military members should be getting better compensation before them especially Politician’s!. all they do is bitch. when soldiers have shitty housing. shitting salary. its so bad that 65% of soldiers in their first 6 years in the military have to go to get loans at a pay day store or fast cash store that some charge 92% a day that they don’t’t have money. and what are the political fuckers doing about it nothing literally jerking each other off laughing and bitching about who deserves the most money. how about giving people jobs and stop being so selfish and greedy.

  • Audrey

    That’s a joke!…Right?

    You missed a couple of serious jobs that make you retire early.

    That’s my top 5 jobs to retire rich and early!

    1- Hockey player
    2- Lottery ticket winner
    3- Investment con artist
    4- Getting hurt in the US and sue someone
    5- Cult leader

    Seriously people…

    • Trevor Jones

      Remember something. Alot of these hockey players, baseball players, basketball players are traded to Canada. They pay taxes in other Countries where they are lower. They dont even retire in Canada. Make their millions and millions and go back to Dominican Republic and live like a king.

      • Audrey

        Like the other 4 on my list!

        (Particularly if you are a con artist, the people you have ”lighten” their saving might want to talk to you about it (with a baseball bat))

        I mean look at the image they choose for this ”article” two mid 20’s under the sun.”Why work when you can sit on your a**?”

        What is wrong to actually want to work and hope to work in job that are so fulfilling that we won’t want to retire?

  • Jeremy Mac Donald

    I think some of the posters seem to be confusing ‘good job to retire early’ with ‘good job to get rich’. Though I’ll admit that the article seems to not be able to make up its mind here either.

    Still a number of these options seem pretty viable assuming that your going to start pretty young and your aspiring to get a 20 year or some such mortgage on a small house in the suburbs. Then work for 25 years, retire with say 70% of $70,000 which is $49,000 dollars a year. Enough, if you own your small house in the suburbs, to live on and still afford two weeks at a middle class resort in the Caribbean a year. To eat out at a decent restaurant and take in a game of golf once a week and pretty much lead a reasonable middle class life after 25 years of work.

    Certainly the good pension makes this a reasonable goal and doable in your early 50’s if you got cracking in your mid twenties.

  • Comm AdvPro

    This is biased . Low income people work their butts off in low paying dead -end jobs more ever with Univ/College/ education and when they retire they get pea nuts from CPP and OAS The system sucks and it favours only the affluenza sufferers The whole idea of internationally trained professionals also sucks and it is a scam to brain drain and get more people to run the factories and warehouses,taxi cabs and flipping burgers where the affluent who are mostly school drop outs cant venture. The jobs are for whom do you know . For example CRA will soon be robbed as they are hiring people who steal using the pen The particular group of people are good at math and sciences and IT Once they are in with both feet ,they introduce and connect their own kind and before you know it you will have a CLAN running the entire CRA. Watch this space…

    And don’t say I never told

  • Canadianraptor

    Especially if you are in the OPP where you get top salary of $90k + after 3 years, then can retire at just over 50 with just 25 years of service! A friend of my daughters left, high school with just Ontario credits and got into the OPP she stated that most of them sit behind a desk 80% of the time, that’s when they are not pulling over those criminal motorists for speeding or traffic infractions! Gee! They wouldn’t even arrest native law breakers terrorizing the folks in Caledonia. The biggest hazard to an OPP cop is choking on a donut at Timies!

  • Rob K

    I see a lot of inaccurate information in this article, both about private and public sector occupations. Unfortunately, the posts (gripes) rely on the content found in the article to support their position. Shame on you Workopolis for printing such a poorly researched article.

  • PeevedInOntario

    The person who wrote this has public sector envy and is prepared to gloss over the details to score cheap shots.

    ANYONE in the employed private sector has the EXACT SAME ability to save for retirement as teachers. They need to take 15% to 17% of their gross salary and put that into the group RRSPs or the publicly accessible pension plans like the Saskatchewan pension plan.

    Yes, many public sector employees have pension plans, but, more and more they are funded exclusively by the contributions of the employees. In the case of Ontario teachers, for example, they contribute 12% of their gross salary to the pension plan, and, if I understand correctly, this EXCLUDES the portion that also goes to the CPP.
    So, before people get green envy of public employees, consider that ANYONE can plan for an early retirement. It’s just that most people aren’t prepared to make the sacrifice necessary NOW to be able to retire at age 55.
    Ah well. C’est la vie.

    • Stefx

      And what I put aside as a private sector employee is going to be subject to market value… most public employees I know already know their retirement date, the exact per-determined amount they will earn (indexed every year) regardless of the market influences. To say that a public employee in general does not have more security is a lie. Many remain in their “public” job even when bored to death. Why?!