In a career defined by sacrifice and duty, the transition to retirement can be confusing and filled with conflicting motivations. But this is the time to be giving priority to your own needs. Although there are lots of choices to be made, you don’t have to do it alone. Today there are very good resources specific to Firefighter retirement planning. Experience has shown some essential areas to consider when considering the next phase of your life.
Mental health: You are a rescuer; your identity has been established in that reality. You placed yourself in dangerous situations and helped people through great trauma. There were highs and lows and unexpected rewards for your dedication. Unpacking the life of a first responder can be emotional and full of uncertainty. Leaving the structure and stability of a firefighter’s life, to the unknown challenges of the future creates stress. Post career counselling and assessment can help ensure your transition includes a plan for mental wellness.
Financial health: There is no reason not to have a properly considered financial plan. If you want your cash flow, family security, investments, and standard of living, to be in the best possible condition, and improving over time. You really need to sit down with a financial planner and create a blueprint of your financial future. Organizations like First Responder Retirement offer an abundance of expert assistance and can help you make the best choices for your future.
Your experience is an asset: Leaving the department can be bittersweet, but you should look forward to taking advantage of all the skills you have acquired over the years. Many former firefighters choose to start a business or take on an advisory role. Your career has given you experience with equipment, mechanical skills and an understanding of maintenance and damage prevention. Perhaps you dream of taking your culinary skills to the world. Whatever you choose to do, networking with others who have made the transition is a great opportunity to start out in the right direction.
The transition from the fire department to a new career, or simply retirement, is a doorway to new opportunities. Doing it all on your own, however, can be complicated and full of conflicting motivations. Not everybody moves easily into a civilian role. It takes a while to become comfortable fitting in, knowing what to wear and what to do. But if you take the right steps to involve yourself with experts in mental health, financial planning as well as career advice. You will have every chance for happiness, well into your golden years.