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A pain-free retirement: 3 lessons we can learn from pilots

By Sam Instone - June 01, 2016

[Estmiated time to read: 1.5 minutes]


The other day was my daughter’s birthday party.

Her friend’s father was a pilot.

Dusting pink crumbs from his lapels, he declared he had 11 more years before early retirement.

He said any more risked him dying too soon!

5 minutes later, he WhatsApped me the chart below explaining why…

It nearly made me choke…

Stop flying at 50 and live 20 years longer



If my pilot retires at 50 – he can expect on average to live to 86.

That’s 33 years of golfing, sailing, travelling (but not flying!), spending time with his daughter or just scoffing birthday cake.

If however, he waits till 65?

Dead within 18 months.

In case you didn’t get that, here it is a different way:

Boeing Aerospace Life Span

A lifetime of work for an 18 month retirement?

There are many potential causes.

If someone misses six nights sleep per month, he misses an entire year’s sleep every five years.

I am sure this cumulative fatigue can’t help.

Neither can the food…

But perhaps more importantly, what does it mean financially for pilots?

Probably – that 58 is a good age to retire.


Which means they need to save a lot early and not make investment mistakes, in order to fund 22 years of joyous golf and birthday cake.

What lessons can the rest of us take from this?

  1. Begin saving early.
  1. Know your number. Once you have enough money – enjoy it.
  1. And make absolutely sure you don’t get divorced (which would surely add more working years and therefore an earlier death!).

To ensure you know what type of adviser is best placed to help you calculate your number, and ensure that your money is working as efficiently as possible, download our free checklist on how to choose a financial adviser.

Let us meet in the comments. What profession do you work in? And do you know your magic number?