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At what age do a Immigration Lawyers retire at?

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Kim’s Answer

Audriana,

People can retire young, or they can and do keep working into their 70's. It's all a matter of personal choice and financial security.

The most expensive part of the decision to retire is healthcare. Currently, a person becomes eligible for Medicare at age 65. If a person retires at age 60, they need to be able to provide for their own health insurance from age 60-65. Some companies/firms offer a retiree healthcare policy. Some do not. Also, withdrawing from certain types of investments prior to age 59.5 results in IRS imposed penalties.

The next expensive part of retirement is house payments. It helps to have the house paid off before retiring. The normal home mortgage is for 30 years, but people sometimes pay off their houses a lot faster. Even after you pay off your house, there are still property taxes, insurance, and upkeep you will need to budget for.

It will be important for you to learn to manage your personal finances in a way to set yourself up for early retirement, if that is something you want to do. There is a group called FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) that you may want to research.

As to the law, it is constantly changing, and evolving. Some of these changes could be the impetus for early retirement. Imagine being an older solo practitioner in a small firm. The law changed, and now the courts require all documents to be filed electronically. You don't know how to do it, aren't crazy about technology, and can't really afford to hire someone to do it for you. . . .

Sometimes there are personal reasons to retire early. It could be to take care of an aging parent, or, even your own health might not let you work anymore.

One thing that I benefitted from is called disability insurance. If it is not offered by your employer, you can get a personal policy through various insurance agencies. Short and long term disability insurance provide income replacement when you are not able to work. It replaces a percentage of your normal income, usually 40-80%. For example, I was in a car accident, and was out of work for three months. While medical insurance covered most of my medical expenses, that's no substitute for a paycheck! You don't need to buy all the different insurances that you will be offered (cancer policies, hospitalization policies, etc.) but a good disability policy is a must!

I hope this gives you some insight into the world of the retirement-decision process, and how to get there from here!

Kim
Thank you comment icon This is a great answer - it applies to law (immigration and all other practices) and just about every other career! Thanks for the reference to FIRE! Desiree Giler Mann
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Betty’s Answer

Hi Audriana, I found your question interesting. Is the main thrust of your question more towards how much one could make as an immigration attorney that will get you towards retirement or to find out about the statistics of immigration attorneys who have retired because they were burned out due to the nature of their work? The question could be interpreted different ways.

I have several friends who are family law, immigration and real estate attorneys who had also volunteered their time with holding free immigration clinics and workshops before the pandemic. Immigration law seems to be more of a "public service" calling and the underlying motivation of my friends is to help immigrants (often not fluent in English) navigate bureaucratic processes in a changing political environment (policies highly depend on which president is in office).

I don't have a very deep understanding of immigration law or practicing attorneys, but my impression is that their income is considered low or medium compared to other types of attorneys. On Google, salary in California is between $115,042 (90th percentile) to $90,000 (50th percentile). In Detroit, Michigan, tthe average pay for an Immigration Attorney is $97,903 a year and $47 an hour,

It's a decent amount of money, but I can speak to the cost of living in California is that it is high. It wouldn't feel like a lot of money after you take out taxes, rent and other living expenses. I can imagine Michigan has a lower cost of living and so $97,000 will get you much further. So the question is how much can you save and for how long, how much will you need in retirement and whether you plan on doing other types of jobs or still practice law if you're still capable of working even after the age of 62.

When you retire, what do you see yourself doing? Will you travel the world, have to support kids going to college, have no income or work part-time? Retirement is different for everyone and what I mean by retirement is not the same as everyone else's definition. My version of retirement is to be able to keep to my current lifestyle, travel 6x/year, run a business part-time and be able to pay for my son's college education. Having targeted goals and a good idea of what you feel comfortable with will help propel you towards your future. I hope this helps!
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