Retiring from the fire service is not like most other jobs. First responders are challenged daily, and they face some harrowing situations in their line of work. Research suggests that retiring from a career in public safety can be a lot more stressful than other types of civilian work. Leaving the service is difficult but planning for retirement can make it more manageable.
Before we discuss some of the difficulties associated with fire service retirement, we should look at what makes a successful retirement. The main reasons why most first responders enjoy a successful retirement is down to planning. They have taken advantage of coaching; they have participated in firefighter retirement counselling and they have taken other steps to ensure their retirement is a success.
The more satisfied retirees are nearly always the ones who planned ahead and took advantage of the resources available to first responders. They did not leave planning for retirement until the last minute, they were proactive and planned many years in advance. Firefighters should be adept at planning ahead as it is an important part of their career.
When you consider retirement, think about the key factors you need to address:
- Lifestyle & reasons for retirement
- Financial security
- Level of activity & social connections
- Physical & mental health
- Living arrangements
It is important to begin early in your career and focus on your expectations for the future.
Difficulties with the Transition
Retiring from the fire service is never going to be easy but with the proper planning, you can make the transition a lot smoother.
- Loss of Camaraderie – One of the most difficult parts of retiring from the fire service is the loss of camaraderie. It is similar to a divorce where you lose someone who has been around for a long time.
- Normal World – It can be difficult adjusting to having no routine as opposed to living your normal work cycle.
- Finding Fulfilling Work – We all know that working in the fire services is truly rewarding and when you retire it can be difficult to find work that is as fulfilling as firefighting.
For many, retiring from the fire service is one of the biggest challenges they have ever faced. But with the right planning and help, retirement can be rewarding. It is important to plan ahead well in advance and work with a retirement coach who specialises in retirement planning for first responders.