Firefighters live on the edge, knowing that every day may be the last. Mishaps may happen more than once because your job is inherently risky. Even if you manage to get through your service years unscathed, you may encounter a medical risk due to exposure to hazardous chemicals over the years. You need to think beyond retirement planning when it comes to securing your future and providing enough for your family.
Moreover, you must deal with the money stress when you are young instead of waiting for your forties. Failing to do it can affect your relationship with your spouse and family. Although the basics of financial planning and retirement readiness apply to firefighters, these professionals need to go the extra mile to secure their future. Here is some expert-backed money advice you can rely on.
Size up your finances
Sizing up your finances is the first step whenever you start financial planning. Begin by understanding where you are today by crunching numbers about your current income, expenses, savings, insurance, and assets such as your home, car, and jewelry. Also, decide where you want to go by setting your financial goals for the short term and long term. Consider contingencies like planning for work injuries and untimely death because these are the realities of your life, no matter how much you try to overlook them. Your financial picture must definitely include these factors.
Evaluate your cash flow
After completing your financial picture, you must evaluate your cash flow. The best way to do it is by building a budget. Firefighters must focus on saving as much as possible every month to build a robust emergency fund over the years. Savings make the most critical element of financial goal accomplishment, so you must give extra attention to them. Besides building an emergency fund, you must pay off debt quickly and minimize new ones. Borrow only when you genuinely need the money and commit to repaying on time. It enables you to limit your interest burden and strengthen your credit score.
Know your rights
Surprisingly, knowing your rights is a part of financial planning for firefighters. Like any other professional, you can claim workplace accident compensation if you sustain injuries. Besides work mishaps, you can also seek compensation for exposure to the toxic chemicals in firefighting foam. It is an industrial hazard that puts you at risk of cancer. You can collaborate with specialist lawyers for AFFF to file a lawsuit against negligent manufacturers. Although battling a disease like cancer is challenging, a compensation claim offers coverage for treatment expenses and keeps your finances on track.
Identify your strategic goals
Identifying your strategic goals is another valuable tip to stay on top of your finances as a firefighter. Ideally, you should focus on providing for your family and reducing your financial worries. A detailed approach helps you approach your goals more strategically. Think of numbers such as building a starter emergency fund with two months of expenses in the buffer, paying off current debts within the next six months, not picking fresh loans for a year, and saving for college education before your kids complete high school. Also, find ways to ditch a paycheck-to-paycheck living arrangement. When you decide on goals, keep them realistic, as unrealistic ones do more harm than good.
Look beyond pension and retirement benefits
Relying too much on your pension and retirement plans is the worst mistake firefighters often make. Even a healthily-funded pension plan may not secure you enough. Since your job is risky, working a full career and enjoying a maximum retirement benefit may not be possible. Firefighters may have to retire in their forties or fifties if they sustain injuries or illnesses during their working years. Your pension amount may seem good enough at present, but it may fall short in a couple of decades as inflation and the cost of living increase. Consider retirement savings outside your pension to have more flexibility and security. Moreover, it gets a better financial cushion for your loved ones, even if something goes wrong.
Being a firefighter entails life risks every day because emergencies may happen anytime. Besides being extra cautious at work, you must also pay attention to financial planning to secure yourself and your loved ones. You need not be an investment expert to consolidate your finances, but a little more effort can give you peace of mind about your finances. Follow these simple tips to stay safe and provide for a comfortable future.