A Day in the Life: Consulting Pension Actuary

8:00 a.m.: I'm out the door with my son. My wife goes into work before me, so I get my son ready and drop him off at day care before I head into the city.

9:30 a.m.: I'm at my desk, ready to start the day. I'm picking up a few things I was working on the night before. We help manage and certify the health of corporate pension plans. It's the same thing that a lot of pension plan actuaries do when they're in-house, but even large companies would rather farm the work out than have to bring people on staff to do it. Mostly what I do is sign off on the work of others, who've done the heavy lifting to make sure these plans can meet their objectives. Once I sign off on a given plan, it goes to the regulators.

10:30 a.m.: I'm on the phone with a client. I talk to clients at least once a day, sometimes more. We consult for any number companies -- big ones, the ones that still actually have pension funds. There's always some kind of new wrinkle to deal with, whether it's a surge of coming retirees or transitions to a new insurance plan. Sometimes they're making adjustments to the way they invest, so I have to talk with them to make sure they're on track to meet their goals and needs.

12:00 p.m.: Lunch. I'll head down with some colleagues to grab a bite. Sometimes it's a working lunch when we're trying to nail down something on deadline for a client.

1:00 p.m.: I'll be meeting with the team responsible for a given client or clients to make sure things are going well. We'll talk about any changes they want to do within their plan. In some cases, it's more about a timetable they've put in place to wrap up their plan and obligations to close it down. There's a lot more of that these days.

2:30 p.m.: Back on the phone again, but this time with a college student looking to come to the firm to work for the summer. I'm also in charge of our recruitment program for our summer interns. We select 10 interns each year to join us for the summer. Ideally, all 10 will come work for us after they graduate. Most of the time it's six or seven out of 10, but we aim for all 10. We don't do a lot of outside hiring. We prefer to grow from within each year with the interns.

4:00 p.m.: I'm off back across the river to pick up my son. My bosses give me really flexible hours, which is great. I'm able to get him by 5:30 or so and get home for dinner.

9:00 p.m.: After dinner and family time or whatever, I'm back working. That's the trade-off with my bosses for the shorter day in the office. I usually put in a few hours, mostly reviewing the work my team has done that day.

11:00 p.m.: Around this time my brain stops working and I'm off to bed.