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Do you want to make a lot of money? Become a California lifeguard

With the economy collapsing and the threat of a recession looming, you might be looking for an opportunity to make a lot of money at some point in the near future. And yes, what I’m about to suggest will involve wearing a suit and spending long hours in the office. But in this case, the suit is a bathing suit and the office is a beautiful sandy beach in California.

A recent report by watchdog group OpenTheBooks shows that lifeguards are making an absolute fortune in Los Angeles. A lot more than you think.

Would you believe me if I told you that some of the highest paid lifeguards in Los Angeles made more than $500,000 during 2021?

The report names a certain lifeguard as the highest-paid swimsuit wearer of them all. This particular lifeguard deserves it $510,283 2021 hanging out on the beach.

Gabe LHeureux/Getty Images

How Exactly Does a Lifeguard Make $510,000? Almost half of that number came from overtime pay.

Here’s a full breakdown of his salary:

  • $150,054 base salary
  • $246,060 in overtime
  • $85,508 in benefits
  • $28,661 in “Perks”

Here are some other interesting stats from the report:

  • 98 LA Lifeguards made more than $200,000 in 2021
  • 37 earned $50,000 to $247,000 in overtime pay
  • Only two of the top 20 earners were women.

(Photo by Photos International/Getty Images)

And if you thought lifeguard’s job was just something you do for a few years in your 20s, it can actually be a career that leads to surprisingly high retirement benefits. In Los Angeles, a lifeguard can retire after 30 years on the job and earn 79% of their salary for the rest of their life. If they made $200,000, they would make $158,000 a year for the rest of their lives. Perhaps while relaxing on their former beach!

The Open the Books report appears to have been released under the assumption that lifeguards are overpaid, but as a statement from the City of Los Angeles points out, they are doing important work, especially in 2021:

“The Los Angeles County Fire Department had approximately 166 full-time ocean lifeguards and 600 seasonally recurring ocean lifeguards. All of our lifeguards, including those in senior positions, have shouldered a tremendous responsibility. They are responsible for protecting 72 miles of coastline, 10,526 square miles of open ocean, Catalina Island and 1,686 square miles of inland waterways of Los Angeles County.

“In the same year we had over 50 million beachgoers and our lifeguards performed over 9,286 marine rescues and responded to over 13,303 medical calls. During large-scale bushfires, our lifeguards take on additional responsibilities to work on specialized emergency management teams in support of firefighters across the state—such as in 2021, when wildfires burned an estimated 2,568,948 acres here in California. Additionally, our lifeguards have been a critical part of the Response to COVID-19. The Lifeguard Division provided incident management personnel, logistics and qualifications to support COVID-19 testing and COVID-19 immunizations throughout Los Angeles County.”

So if you’re looking for a raise and a pair of red swimming trunks, don’t expect to hang out at the beach at work all day!

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