What Age Do Firefighters Retire? (2022)

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They say that all good things must come to an end, and this is as true of a firefighter’s career as it is of anything else. Assuming that you stay in shape and avoid any real misfortune on the job, you will eventually have to retire and leave the service.

Firefighters usually are eligible to retire with pension benefits between 50 and 57 years old. Some may be forced to retire sooner due to injuries and others may choose to work longer, depending on health, the age they were first hired, and the type of pension they are entitled to.

Let’s take a closer look at firefighters and retirement.

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Also read: How Long Does it Take to Become a Firefighter? Expert Weighs In

Table of Contents

  • What Is The Firefighter Retirement Age?
  • What Is A Firefighter’s Pension Like?
  • Is A Firefighter’s Pension Enough To Live Comfortably On?
  • Should I Delay My Retirement If Possible?
  • What Are The Financial Concerns For Retired Firefighters?
    • Human Longevity
    • Pension Scheme Gaps
    • Declining Health And Insurance Challenges
    • Changes In Personal Circumstances
    • Random Stuff
  • Should A Firefighter Save For An Additional Pension?
    • Sources
    • Related Articles

What Is The Firefighter Retirement Age?

What Age Do Firefighters Retire? (1)

We’ve heard some wonderful myths about how retirement works for firefighters.

The most common appears to be that every firefighter must hang up their gear and leave the service at the age of 50 with the ability to collect 90% of their final wage forever after.

There may be select areas that have retirement benefits like this, but they are the minority.

(Video) What is a Pension // Two Minute Tuesday // Firefighter Pension Benefits // Defined Benefit Plan

We wish that was true. In fact, if it was true, we think that nearly everyone in the country would want to be a firefighter.

But that’s not how it works.

The current mandatory retirement age for a firefighter (in some areas) is 57, as long as they have served at least 20 years of covered service.

If they have not, then they retire at whatever age past 57 when they reach that 20-year market. Most firefighters will retire at 57 not many fire departments accept fresh firefighters at or above the age of 37.

Not all areas will have the same maximum and minimum ages for retirement. It can really vary.

However, it is possible for a firefighter to be forced into an earlier retirement due to problems with their health and fitness.

This may be the source of the myth that everybody retires at 50, there’s no doubt that a good number of firefighters will struggle to continue working all the way up to 57.

Also read: Can I Become A Firefighter At 30/40/50? Am I Too Old?

What Is A Firefighter’s Pension Like?

Firefighters are not, contrary to popular belief, given amazing pensions that offer them 90% of their final salary for life, either.

In fact, pension benefits are calculated differently from state to state. And that means it’s worth investigating how this works before you sign up for a job in the fire service.

However, a typical scheme will be based around your final salary, a fixed percentage modifier, and the number of years served.

So, for example, in the state of New Hampshire, you get 2% of the number of years served multiplied by your average three highest-paid years in the service.

(Video) What They WONT tell you about the Fire Service & Why I QUIT my Firefighting Career.

That means if you wanted to get 90% of your salary in New Hampshire, you’d need to have 45 years served and to have started work at the age of umm… 12.

Nobody in New Hampshire is getting 90% of anything.

In fact, assuming they’ve only served 20 years, it means they’re getting 40% of their salary for life, and for 30 years that will increase to 60%.

It’s also worth noting that many states don’t offer social security benefits for those that have pensions. So you may not be able to count on this towards your retirement, as many others do.

So, when you retire from the fire service, you can expect a very substantial pay cut if you’re relying on a fire service pension to get by on.

Here is a clip from the firefighter documentary “Burn” about pensions:

Is A Firefighter’s Pension Enough To Live Comfortably On?

Well, given that the nightly news is not full of tales of firefighters starving to death on the streets of our cities, it ought to be clear that you can live on a firefighter’s pension.

But whether that’s “comfortable” or not is going to depend on your definition of comfort plus your circumstances, we’ve outlined some of the financial concerns for retired firefighters further down the page and they won’t all apply to every firefighter.

But, while it’s fair to say your expenses are lower once you retire from being a firefighter, we’re not sure they are always that much lower to make a pension feel like a good deal.

Also read: Can Firefighters Make 100k Per Year? True Salaries

Should I Delay My Retirement If Possible?

For the vast majority of pension schemes offered by the different states, there is a factor in the amount offered based on the time you have served.

(Video) Retiring firefighter reflects on long career and largest fire he ever fought

Most of these schemes also have a cap over which you cannot go, even if you served more years. Once you’ve reached the cap, the only advantage to staying on in the service is that you’ll earn more money while you work – your pension won’t increase any further.

Only you can decide when to retire but we’d recommend that if you can, unless you have an amazing offer from somewhere else, you should keep working until you hit the pension cap.

That will give you the best possible income in retirement and retirement can be a long time.

What Are The Financial Concerns For Retired Firefighters?

Firefighters have a bunch of concerns to address when it comes to retiring and how much pension they’re going to need and each of these concerns will weigh differently on different individuals.

Human Longevity

People are living longer than ever before. And while Covid may have had some temporary impact on this trend for a year or three, in the long-term this trend is expected to continue.

Unfortunately, this is bad news for pension schemes and retirement plans. It means that there’s going to be no more money than for our forebears, but that money is going to have last longer and longer than it did for them.

It is possible that pension benefits may be revised in the future to adjust for this issue. It’s good news that we’re living longer, but the question is “who’s going to pay for that?”

Pension Scheme Gaps

There’s also a problem that is completely outside of your control that could seriously impact your retirement and it’s this.

Many government entities have raided their pension schemes for money to spend in the here and now. There is an enormous shortfall in many pension schemes between how much money is in them now and how much money they will need to payout.

This number is huge and it’s growing. And while, so far, states have not defaulted on their obligations to pay pensioners, it’s a real possibility in the future.

Declining Health And Insurance Challenges

One of the pitfalls of the aging process is that many of us don’t just get older, we get sicker, and we get frailer and it costs more and more and more to enjoy a basic standard of living, particularly when you need regular therapy and pain management.

Your pension won’t grow as your medical bills grow, unfortunately, and that can be a real problem.

(Video) The Big Retirement Differences for FERS Law Enforcement, Firefighters, and Air Traffic Controllers

Changes In Personal Circumstances

We should also acknowledge that things in our own lives might change and require a reallocation of our resources.

What if one of your children brings you many grandchildren but their partner suddenly passes away and they need financial help?

What if you need to move across the country to support them? And so on?

These things can dramatically affect how far our pensions go. Particularly if you have to move and your overall cost of living in a new city is higher than where you left.

Random Stuff

Finally, there’s the need to “expect the unexpected”, which, of course, nobody can do very well but what would happen, for example, if your state suddenly decided that you had to serve a minimum of 15-years to get any pension at all and you were severely injured and unable to work after just 14-years’ service?

This may not be the case, depending on the timeline to be vested and how injuries can affect retirement pensions in different areas.

We’re not saying that this is going to happen, we’re just saying that it could happen and that would be a serious problem.

Should A Firefighter Save For An Additional Pension?

This, of course, leads us to our final topic when it comes to firefighters’ pensions. You should be looking to make additional investments that are not associated with your state’s pension scheme, so that you can have a safety net in your old age.

You should use the “pay yourself first strategy” to ensure that before you pay any bills or spend any money on luxuries, that some of your salary is saved and invested to protect against the ultimate rainy day.

Also read: 14 Things Firefighters Do All Day When Not Fighting Fires


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What Age Do Firefighters Retire? ›

Firefighters usually are eligible to retire with pension benefits between 50 and 57 years old. Some may be forced to retire sooner due to injuries and others may choose to work longer, depending on health, the age they were first hired, and the type of pension they are entitled to.

What age do most firemen retire? ›

Most members have a normal retirement age of 65. Most police and firefighter members have a normal retirement age of 60. An OMERS employer elects to provide the normal retirement age 60 benefit to its police and firefighter members – the benefit is not automatically provided by OMERS to police and firefighters.

What age do you retire from fireman in the UK? ›

The Normal Pension Age in the Firefighters' Pension Scheme 1992 is 55, although firefighters are eligible to retire from age 50 with 25 or more years' service.

What age do most firefighters start? ›

However, typically, the younger a recruit is – the better from the department's point of view. In my experience, most professional firefighters are hired between 25 and 35 years old, but there are definitely exceptions.

When can a NYC firefighter retire? ›

As an FDNY member, you'll be eligible for retirement after twenty years of service. Still, most FDNY members do not choose to retire at that point because the retirement numbers don't add up high enough to benefit you and your beneficiary if you retire after two decades of service.

Many Americans think of age 55 or younger as an early retirement age. Actually, any age before 65 qualifies.

One common definition of an early retirement age is any earlier than 65—that's when Medicare benefits kick in.. It isn't just the lack of Medicare benefits that early retirees have to plan for.. You can also use the services of a qualified financial advisor—ideally someone who specializes in retirement income planning.. As a retiree, you likely won't have health care coverage options through an employer, but you can access plans through the health exchange marketplace .. Check the chart below for a full list of standard, or "full," retirement years by birth year.. Full Retirement Age by Birth Year (as of May 27, 2020) Birth YearFull Retirement Age 1937 or earlier65193865 and two months193965 and four months194065 and six months194165 and eight months194265 and 10 months1943–195466195566 and two months195666 and four months195766 and six months195866 and eight months195966 and 10 months1960 or later67. SSA refers to the standard retirement age as "full retirement age," because that is the age at which you receive your full amount of benefits.. The benefits will be reduced by a certain percentage, depending on how early you begin taking your benefits.. On the other hand, you can delay receiving Social Security benefits—even after you've retired—and receive enhanced benefits.. You can continue to enhance your benefits by delaying Social Security until age 70 (delaying beyond age 70 won't enhance your benefits).. To delay your Social Security benefits, you would need to use your own assets for income in the meantime.. A common retirement planning tool is a 401(k) plan.. There are a lot of similarities between 401(k) plans and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), but they differ on exceptions to early-withdrawal penalties.. For example, the Civil Service Retirement System allows all workers to retire with full pension benefits at 62, or at 55 under qualifying circumstances.

Hint: These jobs pay well or still offer pensions.

GOBankingRates determined the best jobs for those who want to retire before 65 by looking at the age people in each occupation expect to retire, the average employer 401(k) contribution per hour of work, average salary and the average retirement savings someone in that occupation would have saved in a 401(k) by the early retirement age, 62.. If you want to know how to retire early, consider a job as an engineer.. It’s the occupation with the fifth-highest percentage of employees who plan to retire early — and the third-highest percentage of employees who plan to retire by age 65 — compared to the other occupations included in this list.. Although more than half of psychologists (56%) plan to work past age 62, less than a third plan to continue to work past age 65.. The job has the fourth-highest percentage of employees who plan on retiring early compared to the other occupations on this list, as well as the fifth-highest percentage of employees who plan to retire by age 65.. Electric engineers have a high average salary, and therefore have a higher estimated 401(k) savings by age 62 compared to people in the other occupations included in this study.. With that salary, the average person with this job can retire with over $700,000 in 401(k) savings by age 62.. It’s the occupation that has the highest percentage of people who expect to retire early, and the second-highest percentage of people who expect to retire by age 65.. Thanks to the high salary that comes with these positions, people in this occupation have the fifth-greatest estimated 401(k) savings by age 62 compared to people in the other occupations included in this study.. Of the jobs on this list, it has the third-lowest percentage of people who plan on working past age 62.. It’s worth noting that many of the best jobs for early retirement still come with pensions, which explains why many people in these occupations plan to retire early without having $1 million or more saved in their 401(k).

Would you like to retire early from federal service? Learn about early 20 year CSRS and FERS retirement options for LEO, FF, NWC & ATC federal Employees.

A special 20-year retirement system was created for certain. designated positions which require employees to meet vigorous physical. demands.. Because of the physical demands, this retirement system. allows employees to retire sooner, with just 20 years of service.. It also includes a mandatory retirement when the employee reaches a. designated age or years of service.. Eligibility to retire under the special 20-year provision depends on. the both the retirement system (CSRS or FERS) and the position.. Law Enforcement Officers (LEO) Firefighters (FF) Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) Nuclear Weapons Couriers (NWC). Check Block 30 of your Notification of Personnel action, SF-50.. If you are. covered under the special retirement system, the retirement code will be either:. 6 – CSRS Special E – CSRS Offset Special M – FERS Special. CSRS Retirement Annuity Formula: 2.5 percent X High-3 Average Salary X 20 Years of LEO Service plus 2 percent. X High-3 Average Salary X Additional years of creditable service exceeding. 20 years (LEO & non-LEO), including military deposit service.. FERS Retirement Annuity Formula: 1.7 percent X High-3 Average Salary X 20 Years of LEO Service plus 1 percent. X High-3 Average Salary X Additional years of creditable service exceeding. 20 years (LEO & non-LEO), including military deposit service.. Employees without 20 years of covered service at age 56 or 57,. are separated at the end of the month in which they attain 20 years of covered. service.. If an employee is no longer in a position under the special retirement. provisions, the mandatory separation provisions do not apply.. The law also allows federal agencies to establish maximum entry age of 36 or. 37, which allows the employee to attain the 20 years of service before the. mandatory retirement age.

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The State Board must approve the participating municipality's performance/agility test before it can be administered.. The participating municipality will then forward, to the State Board, copies of the completed physical examination ( Form 14 ), performance/agility test ( Form 9 ) and an Entrance Application Form ( Form 13 ) including the hire date and signed by the Fire Chief and the applicant.. Return the pre-list showing the pay period ending date and total contributions paid along with a check for both the employer and employee's share of contributions to the Oklahoma Firefighters Pension & Retirement System.. How is a volunteer firefighter enrolled as a member in the System and will a volunteer firefighter have to complete a performance/agility test or a physical examination before entering the System?. The State Board does not require a performance/agility test or a physical examination for a volunteer firefighter.. What form is used to report volunteer contributions?. How do I complete the form for volunteer contributions?. The monthly pension benefit for a volunteer firefighter shall be in the amount retired volunteers are receiving at the time the volunteer begins to receive a pension for each year of credited service not to exceed thirty (30) years.. A volunteer firefighter who receives a disability in line of duty pension shall be paid the same amount a twenty (20) year volunteer service pension unless the firefighter has more than twenty (20) years of credited service at which time the service years as listed in Question 28 would apply.. A volunteer firefighter who receives a disability not in line of duty pension will be paid $6.37 for each year the volunteer was a member of the participating municipality if the firefighter has served less than twenty (20) years.. A member who participates in the System is not entitled to a pension benefit unless the member has completed ten (10) years of credited service, except for an in line of duty disability benefit.. If the member has completed ten (10) years of credited service at the date of termination, the member may elect a vested benefit in lieu of a refund of the contributions paid by the member while an active firefighter.

“I felt like I'd entered another universe.”

It’s an “incredibly surreal” realization for Ius, who became the first woman to work for the New West fire department.. “It was my job to pour coffee to the crew of people I've never seen before in my life.. With retirement being mandatory for suppression firefighters at the age of 60 and Ius set to reach that milestone in 2023, retirement beckons.. “I've been doing this job in New West for 22 years.. “Obviously, the first and biggest was just getting hired in impossible times really.. “Things couldn't really be any better now.”. Once hired in New West, she said she worked hard to show her coworkers that she had what it took to do the job.. During her years with the fire department, Ius has witnessed a shift in the way women are viewed when they’re hired.. Today, Ius is one of eight women working for New Westminster Fire and Rescue Services.. “I'm going to so miss working with the crews in the way that I have had the ability to work with them over the years.. Acting fire Chief Erin Williams said Ius has contributed at almost every level of the organization throughout her career with New Westminster Fire and Rescue Services.. “During her career, Kathy worked in fire Suppression, fire prevention and public education, fire training, as well as serving on the union executive for many years.”

If participation first began prior to January 1, 2011:

While your retirement can be effective any day of the month, retirement payments are not prorated for the month in which you retire.. Current year earnings and/or vacation payments Reciprocal credits Additional credit for unused, unpaid sick leave Additional service credit purchased after your Application for Retirement annuity is received. If you retire within 60 days after you terminate your employment covered by SURS or one of the other systems subject to the Illinois Retirement Systems Reciprocal Act, your unused/unpaid sick leave will be converted to additional service credit, up to a maximum of 1.0 year.. If you have at least one year of pension credit in more than one of the retirement systems and your combined service credits are equal to the longest minimum service requirements of any of the systems in which you have credit, you may be eligible to apply for a benefit under the Illinois Retirement Systems Reciprocal Act.. NOTE: If you were vested for retirement benefits and took a lump-sum retirement distribution, in addition to not being able to contribute to SURS, you may not be eligible for certain benefits if you return to work for a SURS-covered employer.. If your annuity payments began at age 60 or later, your earnings during any academic year, combined with your annual base annuity from SURS, cannot exceed your highest earnings during any academic year before you retired.. If your first participation began on or after January 1, 2011, there is no limitation on your post-retirement earnings if you return to work with an employer who is not covered by SURS; however, if you begin full-time covered employment with an eligible retirement system covered under the Illinois Retirement Systems Reciprocal Act, SURS may be required to suspend your annuity during that employment.. If you first began participation on or after January 1, 2011:A non-compounding annual increase will apply to the monthly retirement annuity beginning on the January 1 occurring on or after the later of your attainment of age 67 or the 1st anniversary of the commencement of your annuity.

A new ruling by the state opens the door for cities and municipalities to stop providing health care coverage for public safety employees.

MADISON, Wis. — A new lawsuit filed by the Wisconsin Professional Police Association (WPPA) is looking to shore up healthcare benefits for Racine Police Officers after a state ruling opened the door for municipalities to stop providing health care benefits for law enforcement and firefighters.. The Wisconsin Employee Relations Commission (WERC) was called in to rule on a collective bargaining issue between the City of Racine and the Racine Police Department over providing benefits to retirees.. The WERC decision opens the door for cities and municipalities to even provide health insurance benefits to its employees.“…the City has total discretion to determine what benefits are available to public safety employees covered by a City health insurance plan.. Because of Act 10, Mason says he has to follow the rules for bargaining that the state legislature set in place.. It’s not something mayors are going to be able to change because you can only bargain with the money you have.”. We’re not the first community that has had to make changes around health care budgets since Act 10.”. “Officers in Racine and across the state have been doing more with less for more than a decade now,” Palmer said.. “I think the WERC says what the law says in Act 10,” Mason said.

Longer life span, air travel and social media have all changed the modern papacy and challenged cherished Catholic traditions along the way.

Francis would be only the third pope in history to retire, but the second in a row.. The resignation of Pope Benedict in 2013 caught the assembled cardinals off guard.. As universal shepherd, successor to St Peter and vicar of Christ, the pope both embodies the Church as a whole and provides a visible, seemingly uninterrupted link to origins that are said to go back, via Peter, to Jesus Christ.. Multiple (current and retired) living popes can pose a challenge to this traditional view of the Catholic Church with a single, indivisible head.. More easily overlooked, but just as important for this papal tradition of dying in office, is the pope’s position as the temporal ruler of Vatican City – and with it, the method of papal elections.. While modern popes have clearly not enriched their families in the same way, the method of election has not meaningfully changed.. Technological advances have transformed the papacy, increasing its visibility and creating expectations among the faithful that popes may struggle to meet.. In 2013, Benedict XVI, then the same age as Pope Francis is now, no longer felt able to carry the burden of his office.. To stem the proliferation of rival power centres, Pope Francis may well wish to stay in the post, if only to keep the number of popes emeritus to a minimum.. The Catholic Church is in retreat even in Latin America , Pope Francis’s home region, challenged by secularisation and burgeoning evangelical churches.. With human lifespans set to increase still further – possibly to as much as 150 years – Pope Francis and the cardinals who elect his successor have difficult decisions to make.. The Catholic Church values tradition, but if younger popes and papal retirements become the norm, then the church of the future could look very different.. But if a younger papacy results in a coterie of retired popes, this may paradoxically also undermine the very traditions that have legitimised papal authority for so long.. This article has been updated to reflect Pope Francis’s latest comments.

A new study by Harvard researchers challenges this theory that the explosion in diversity of reptiles was triggered by two of mass extinction events, around 261 and 252 million years ago.

Climate change was what triggered the age of the dinosaurs over 250 million years ago - not mass extinction of other species - according to new research.. They found that diversification of reptile body plans started about 30 million years before the Permian-Triassic extinction, making it clear these changes weren't triggered by the event as previously thought.. Moreover, rises in global temperatures, which started at about 270 million years ago and lasted until at least 240 million years ago, were followed by rapid body changes in most reptile lineages.. Meanwhile, Australian scientists revealed elephants and rabbits are coping by turning into 'Dumbo' and 'Bugs Bunny' - they are growing bigger ears.. The asteroid slammed into a shallow sea in what is now the Gulf of Mexico.. While investigating the event researchers found small particles of rock and other debris that was shot into the air when the asteroid crashed.


1. Firefighting - How Old Is Too Old?
2. This Firefighter Shows You How He Retired on $4k a Month
(Heritage Wealth Planning)
3. FERS Law Enforcement and FireFighters Special Retirement Provisions
(U.S. Office of Personnel Management)
4. Frontline Firefighters Need Our Respect, Not Bricks | The Big Issue | The Russell Howard Hour
(Russell Howard)
5. Burnsville Firefighter Gets Surprise At Retirement Ceremony
(WCCO - CBS Minnesota)
6. Life, Death and Firefighting | Things I Can't Unsee
(BBC Three)

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