Fighting fires may be hazardous work, but many people find it rewarding and exciting. Plus, it’s an important and necessary service to the community. Most firefighters, in non-volunteer communities, earn at least $45,000 or more per year. They also get to enjoy the fringe benefits of a pension plan to help them retire earlier, with more money saved. You can learn many core firefighting skills at a community college, so the education is affordable. You work longer hours, but then have more time off between shifts. Be careful about budgeting your money and continue to save in an IRA or other investment account and you retire early.