First responders know what it means to serve. They constantly put their lives on the line for the sake of others. But a first responder has their own life to protect as well. Do you have a plan for when after the sirens fade away, when you are free to choose what you wear and when to go to sleep? Are you confident in your mental wellness and your financial planning? Is there another career around the corner for you, or is it time to simply reap the rewards of a life well lived?

Second career: A career as a first responder has provided you with a wealth of experience that is not gained from a formal education. Former first responders excel in many fields, thanks to the discipline and situational awareness developed on the job. Connecting with first responder support groups will give you an opportunity to network and discover a universe of possibilities to take on a whole new life. And if you have a mind to start a business of your own, these same organizations have all the information you need to strike out on your own.   

Mental health: A first responder’s life is full of risk. Unfortunately, substance abuse, mood problems, insomnia, and even PTSD can occur as the stress of the job begins to dissipate after retirement. Adjusting to a self-directed lifestyle can be stressful for some. A mental health assessment at the beginning of retirement is an excellent way to get in front of some of the potential problems early

Financial planning: A good financial plan is one of the most valuable assets you can have, going forward. Many people expect to get around to making all the arrangements, but often, life happens, and they find themselves struggling to catch up. It should be a priority to have a meeting with a financial advisor. You should do it right away. There is no substitute for the confidence that your cash flow, investments, savings, and standard of living are going to take you all the way through the remaining stages of your life.

The transition from the 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. 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 to make the next stage of your life become the most satisfying.