Retirement Bound


Retirement Bound

Pondering retirement? Here's a place to share common interests.

Members: 39
Latest Activity: Jan 10, 2017

Firefighter Forum, Rescue & EMS Discussion

Pension Benefits

Started by DAVE. Last reply by larry cooke Sep 12, 2011. 3 Replies

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Comment by larry cooke on May 10, 2012 at 10:28pm

As I had noted in a previuos note I retired at the age of 55 after abt. 30yrs on a city department. Prior to the fire department I was a psychologist. After getting hired on th FD I contiuned to work in mental health. I worked 80 hrs a week for 20 years. I chose various part time jobs to  make my resume more marketable after retirement. I worked in hospitals, emergency rooms, community mental health, did CISD from 1985 to 2000 for police and fire and Columbine, ERr psych evaluations for hospitalizations and County jails doing evaluations for the need for drugs to Mental illness. They had to get through me before they could see the Psychiarist. After retirement I worked for a VA hospital in Sheridan Wyoming treating combat trauma. I thought for the longest time with a good history of experience I would get a job. NOT! All that planning and then to move to a town where I can't find work except as a greeter at Walmart. Prior I was paid $40 and to go to $9 and hr part time. I couldn't get hired on the local fire depart had a rule that they would not hire over the age of 32 and if you turned 32 while on the department they were let go. I mentioned the elder law and the cheif said, "sue me".. "The best layed of mice and men can shoot Cr---.But you do with what your are dealt.


Comment by larry cooke on September 4, 2011 at 3:35pm

I retired in 2003 aft. 30yrs of service. I found the first few years to be very difficult. We used a CAD radio system with station printers and everything that sounded like the printer I would get up and adrenaline would flow even in a department store or in the night.

Firefighters sometimes equate career with usefulness and w/o that they can feel lost. Capt. Whelan is correct in that planning investments is an important part of retirement. I found a planner who has provided relief of the worry about finances. That takes an enormous load of your mind.

Comment by Micheal A Whelan on October 4, 2010 at 4:36pm
As for the what is next question.... I can give a few examples. One of our Chiefs retired, went fishing. That was good for 60 days. Now a Regional TSA supervisor... Loves it. Another Captain retired just after me, works on large wildland fire base camps in logistics through NIFC. Loves it having 6 months on and 6 months off. Another of our guys retired, gets the big bucks consulting back to the department and teaches at the local college. I started a business. Good money but no time off. Work harder and longer than ever. Just stay in nicer hotels. Point do an assessment of what you like to do, what you are good at doing and match it up to an after the fire service job. I even know one person that retired, went to FEMA for a couple of years, then took a part time as a EMD Director. He loves it. As for retirement finances, get a financial advisor that you trust and knows your goals. They can save you a lot. For me it meant portfolio management, commodities (gold and silver), real estate properties (primarily managed woodlands) and collectable guns (have some back ground). Your investments need to fit your goals and interests. Key words, goals, involvement, interests.
Comment by Todd Overcash on September 22, 2010 at 9:24pm
A friend of mine who took my BC slot just announced his retirement. Another victim of a rampant BC trying to control and exercise his power over the others. He needs to be taken out back and beaten.
Comment by Micheal A Whelan on September 22, 2010 at 10:08am
Just joined the group. People! There is life after the fire service. I have been retired more than a few years now. Admittedly the first year was spent getting used to sleeping at night (once I quit hearing the engines down the street rolling out at 0200). Best thing I could have done. Started a business that follows my life passion (you can only fish so long) and have never looked back. Still see old friends and make new ones. Glad to be here and still breathing.
Comment by Todd Overcash on September 8, 2010 at 2:37pm
At 47, I retired Jan 1, 2010 with 28.5 years of service and 1.5 years of sick leave. I was fortunate to not have to use sick leave and in our system after you accrue the max vacation time, it rolls over to sick leave. Many guys in the department would try to use up their leave so it wouldn't roll over but at least your not loosing it. I originally planned to complete 30 years but things got to the point that I gave up. I was really active in the fire service and in my department but I had a chief that would by pass my office and go straight to the guys, he would change things on the shift and not bother to tell me or consult with me before doing it. It wasn't just me but the other shift commanders. Complaints fell on deaf ears so that sealed the notion of retiring as soon as possible. All of the stars lined up at the right time and the date was set. Now with bills to pay work still must go on. I work some at my neighborhood fire house, teach firefighter/hazmat classes at the community college and work as a fire safety technician at a food distribution warehouse. It feels good to not have to get up and put up with that BS anymore. I do feel sorry for those who must stay behind and endure as nothing has changed yet.
Comment by Mike Schlags (Captain Busy) Retd on July 24, 2010 at 4:30am

Did you know that one firefighter buddy of mine, after retirement went into business building coi ponds... and makes a good deal of money on the side. You are right on the money about staying shall I say... "Busy!". :D
Comment by Mike Schlags (Captain Busy) Retd on July 24, 2010 at 4:26am
Having gone through the myriad of bullshit associated with both getting hurt on the job and retirement, trust me, I've been bent over more than once by folks who I thought would look after my best interest. Amazing after 30 years of service finding out that you are dealing not with your department but someone from Risk Management as well as the attorney's representing your agency who's sole goal is to save their jurisdiction any expenses associated with an injured firefighter. Not in any particular order... here are some random thoughts considering that at the time of this post, it's late, but your request to have someone contribute some salient information toward individuals getting ready or even thinking about retirement.

• Any time off the job as a result of injury will not include any time paid into retirement for the time you were off the job on injury. What this means is that when you go into retire, and time is figured out as to exactly how much time you have on the books, no time will count for time off due to an on duty "workers compensation" approved injury. Knowing this ahead of time will enable you to first identify how much needs to be paid into the system and the ability (Key Point) to pay off the amount in small monthly payments verses having to come up with the cash when you retire.
• When injured, and fighting for benefits, the jurisdictions only line of defense is to put as many things to stall the decision of the workers compensation judge for up to two-years. Remember this. They can easily drag your case into court for two-years without blinking an eye. The goal here is to have you get so desperate for money to keep your family afloat that you will do or sign anything. To enable being prepared for this typical tactic, consider getting payroll protection insurance. I paid about $12.00 per month.. thank God... You only get 66% of your salary, and you have to have a doctor sign paperwork attesting to your injury. Other than that, your good to go if you can live on 33% less income monthly for up to two-years.
• If you can afford it, putting away "deferred comp" monies can enhance your retirement package and give you a wonderful nest egg for the future. Saving a little at a time over your career from the beginning will SO pay off!
• Do your best to NEVER take ANY SICK TIME OFF!!! Instead, trade the shift, take a vacation day, do whatever you can to never touch your sick time. Why? Sick time is directly transferrable (at least where I live and work) which means that the more sick time hours you have will increase your final salary compensation for your last year. It's a wonderful long term investment which reinforces you to make appropriate life style choices to keep yourself healthy. Of course if you have young kids in grammar school... then your dead meat. Say goodbye sick time. :D

There is just so much to share but this should be a good start.

Stay safe all and DO YOUR HOMEWORK ahead of time...

Failure to prepare is preparing for failure... Be prepared... CBz
Comment by Paul Cary on January 7, 2010 at 9:45pm
I just entered into our DROP program as of the 2nd of Jan.
Comment by Lou Sclafani on October 4, 2009 at 12:17pm
Anyone utilizing DROP?

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