When Do Plumbers Retire?

Are you exploring the idea of working as a plumber? If this may be your chosen career field, you are likely also wondering when plumbers retire. This is a tricky question, as when individuals retire from the field can vary widely. Much of the answer depends on career progression, such as whether a plumber continues working in the field throughout their work history or they decide to run their plumbing business from an office. Many factors come into play in the decision to retire, according to the pros of calgaryplumberanddrains.com.


Factors in Plumber Retirement

As with other workers in the blue-collar realm, retirement typically comes earlier for plumbers than for white-collar workers. This is because plumbing takes a toll on your back and joints as a type of physical manual labour.

Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research (CRR) looked deeply into factors in retirement recently. Their results show there is no one simple answer to when workers retire. The CRR study focused on four categories of abilities in most occupations to figure out how these affect retirement age.


Cognitive Skills

Some cognitive skills, like language, keep improving through the ages of the 60s or 70s. As a result, jobs relying more on language skills and knowledge are easier to maintain into later years.

However, fluid abilities of cognition, such as event recall, reaction time and working memory, start declining in the 20s or 30s. So jobs like electrical engineers, police detectives, nurses and designers typically involve earlier retirement than those not in these fields.


Psychomotor Skills

Psychomotor skills do not typically markedly decline during work years in specific careers. These skills include waking with coordination. But by the time adults reach their late 50s or early 60s, their reaction time, speed and fine manipulative abilities are declining. This affects careers like seamstresses, assembly workers and truck drivers.

Physical Abilities

Physical abilities of endurance, strength, coordination and flexibility are important in some fields of work like plumbing. This is perhaps the area of declining ability that most affects a plumber’s decision to retire. But again, a plumber can keep working longer by staying fit and active in their personal time. Still, activity and fitness do not help so much with flexibility, a critical ability in the plumbing field.

Other physical abilities that decline with age include balance, coordination and senses like hearing, speech and vision. But these can remain effective enough to keep salespeople, office workers and pharmacists working into their 60s and 70s.


Deciding When to Retire from Plumbing

Besides the above factors that are often outside of an individual’s control, other factors help determine when a plumber can or should retire. These factors can include:

  • Financial status
  • Goals or bucket list
  • Personal health
  • Investment returns
  • Healthcare benefits
  • Pension benefits
  • Spouse or family

Besides these factors, there is also that big question of what to do with your time after you retire, making the decision even more complex.


Options in a Plumbing Career that Affect Retirement

As an experienced plumber, you will have options in your career. You can choose to specialize in a particular industry or work for a specific type of organization or entity. For example, some specialized fields of plumbing include:

  • Pipelayer
  • Sprinkler fitter
  • Plumber
  • Pipefitter
  • Steamfitter
  • Leak detection
  • Construction
  • Industrial plumbing
  • Commercial plumbing
  • Residential plumbing
  • Public services

One of the options that can extend your career is to work in a supervisory, contracting or management capacity. You can also own your own plumbing business and have other plumbers working for you as part of a labour force. By doing so, you can stay in the field longer regardless of the effects of plumbing work on your body.


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