Peak Salary

Pretty much every career path has some point where earnings are more or less at the top, right? A level where you might stop getting promotions and the comp plateaus with COLA type adjustments (1%-5%) for the rest of the way.

has anyone done that or seen that? How early/late in your career did it happen? or is this a career with never-ending upgrade potential?

I haven’t seen it for myself (I don’t think) yet, although you can see it for others. There are people older than me who are more junior than me whether because they were content with that job or whatever. Not everyone becomes CEO after all…

30+ years in at the same company I could move one more level on paper without my job really changing (but I’d get a better bonus) and I’m planning to point that out to my boss this year.

There’s a tiny possibility I could move up one more level which would show on the outside. It would require restructure but based on some stuff happening at higher ranks it is possible. And I would be up for that job. If it doesn’t happen then I am ok with doing my current job until I retire. Only problem is my young fsa who also deserves the opportunity to move up.

I know I don’t want my boss’s job as it is too people-y. And strategist. OTOH he won’t be leaving until they make him and he’s younger than I am. So maybe he could still direct me on that kind of stuff.

I have seen some young people move up really fast. But they are going to be stuck in those positions for a good 10 years or longer. Also where I am career ASA’s don’t tend to move up. They can move sideways though, and sometimes that leads to a trajectory.

My POV is unique I think bc I’m at a company where a lot of folks stay their entire career. I’ll bet it’s a lot different in places where there are a lot of companies to choose from. Or for someone who enjoys moving from this place to that. There’s a guy who started here and went from company to company and has been chief actuary at 3 or 4. He started maybe 2-3 years before me. I wonder if he is looking for the perfect situation or if he enjoys moving around. That would make me tired! But it takes all kinds.

This is totally company dependent with a geographical skew.

You can zoom upwards at a company but unless someone retires or leaves, there are only so many senior spots to get promoted.

Thats when you have to look externally. And then any possible senior spots available will likely depend on your geographical location.


It’s easy to climb the corporate ladder early on while you are still taking exams.

Once you are an FSA in a manager/director level position it becomes harder to move up simply due to the scarcity of VP level and SVP level opportunities.

I feel stuck right now but because the money is good enough I’ll probably stick it out another 3 years or so and retire at the ripe ole age of 35

Plans for post-retirement?

The bottle necking is very real at my company. My company requires FSA, so people get forced out when they stop taking exams, but most people get through exams in 7 years or less. Then they are making $150k and expect to see the same growth over the next 7 years, but they don’t, of course. Starting around my current pay band and up, there are simply not very many jobs available, and a lot of people at my company at the AVP+ level have been there for 20-30 years, and aren’t going anywhere. So it’s a game of resentment musical chairs, to be sure.

It’s certainly a contributing factor as to why I am not interested in growing my career beyond where I am now. It’s no longer a game of talent, it’s politics, and I’m not really into any of that.

And it would be nice to get COLA every year; based on the last two years, that ain’t happening! We get 2% raises when inflation is 2%, and we get 3% raises when inflation is 8%.


Currently my life is - work, workout, spend time with wife and baby

Post retirement life will be - sleep in, workout, nap, spend time with wife and baby

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35 sounds awfully young to retire.

You’d need like 5M minimum in investments.


I think it depends on a number of things, like whether you want to get promoted and handle the workload, and also your skill set and your desire to invest in it.

For example, I know people who topped out pretty much as soon as they started because they never passed any exams. Like I know a guy who spent his entire 20 year career as actuarial analyst because he couldn’t pass FM. He probably never made over $100k. But he did retire in his 40s because of some investments he made so he won in the end, I think.

Other people may have the ability to move up but don’t want to because of the nature of the work. I think some IC roles might top out in the $300k - $400k range if you can find the right position.

If you can run a highly competent consulting shop you can make over a million a year without too much people management, like having 10 people under you, but I would think you would need to travel a lot to meet with clients.

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That’s one of the primary reasons I left both corporate and actuarial. I looked at the positions above me. Way too many people would have to retire. And of the few possibilities, there were at least two other actuaries who were both better actuaries and managers than I’d ever be. No route upward, so I had to go sideways and up.

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I have been at the same level for a while now but have also not chased another promotion at all. I did get a target bonus bump a few years ago, but no title or pay grade change.

When i was promoted, i had to take on a crappy job that i hated most days. Since then, i moved laterally into something i have enjoyed and have absolutely crushed it. I get to define what i do next a fair bit and grow my team.

In a way, that feels like a promotion even if there is not a pile of money to go with it, although i suspect I’ll get another behind the scenes bump. I see others chase promotions, end up miserable, and take a step down to get out. I’m also a little wary of getting into the political levels where you can get erased from the company any time.

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I’m in the older GenX crowd and we are seriously getting shafted. Not me personally but it affects me since if my superiors move up then I move up. Very curious about dinner conversations and also, did the one person I’m thinking of even want that job? I just assumed. They’re quite capable of another job that may come open. Hmmm.

It’s going to be an interesting next 2-3 years around here and I’ll have a decision to make. I told hubby I’d take my pension at 62 if I can’t improve my health while working. I’d rather be poor than unhealthy. But those extra few years could pay a lot of Med Supp premiums.


Hopefully they will allow HSA dollars to be spent on Medicare Supplement premiums by the time we retire. Otherwise I may go the Medicare Advantage route

Oh yeah, HSA. Need to stop using that so freely.

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It seldomly works out that way.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is proven correct time and time again. Focusing on the middle (love & belonging) will lead to boredom and feelings of uselessness given enough time.

I am planning on doing PT consulting work, PT academia (research degree), and travelling when I get to my 60s. That will keep me occupied along with family commitments.

Physical Therapy??

Very not you.

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I have spent countless hours on breathing - and I plan to continue on doing so well into my 60s!! :wink:


Nope. I think working out will keep me occupied and feeling good about myself until I am too old to workout. At that time (hopefully age 90+) I will most likely be pretty close to death

I think a sad pathetic retirement revolves around working and studying more. Like wtf did you do your entire childhood (for me it was learn/study and I’m glad to be done) and what did you do your entire working career (I busted my ass off and invested, I’m done)

I will be doing dumb shit like weeding my yard, taking pictures of birds in my garden, working out, monitoring the stonk market, supporting my wife, and watching my children grow up. I know it in my heart that I will be extremely fulfilled. My parents are doing it now and I can’t wait for it to be me.

I cannot wait live out my golden years in peace without having to derive any sense of worth/value/belonging from a boss or teacher. I will answer only to my family and myself (maybe my HOA).

Please don’t get cucked into working for the “camaraderie” or the sense of “community”. Spend some time with your friends and family

Everyone is different. You don’t my retirement plans and I don’t want yours