Cops find panhandling lucrative after retirement.

That vision really is not the most glamorous way to spend your days after dedicating the prime of your life to policing. However, I have seen some people make some big bank by setting up a homeless front on a street corner, preying on unsuspecting citizens. If you can stomach ripping off the public, then go for it. Yet, I would think most of us would want to carry on with a more productive way of life. Perhaps you could have worked on some more attractive retirement plans. 

You should prepare your exit from police work on the first day. Yes, really.

I realize your first day is so exciting and the blue flame of justice is steering you into overdrive. This is the life for you. You are in your dream shoes. That is how it should be. It is so important to fuel your rookie days with that enthusiasm and ride it out for as long as you can.

But,- and there is always a but-one day you will move on to something else. So, upon departure from your police career, you need to decide if you are going to market your cop skills by doing similar work in the afterlife or enter a new line of work. In the beginning, you might poo-poo the need to think about those decisions.  

The last few years of your career might be consuming you with dreams of getting out.Jim McNeff wrote a great piece on transitioning to retirement which gives brilliant perspectives.

Before you get to the last days of duty, your first days should be giving you a head full of thoughts for a fantastic exit plan. 

Certifications matter.

You can steer your police training toward a specialty to use later for marketable skills such as polygraph examiner, traffic reconstructionist, and drug recognition examiner. These skill sets can be desirable for private attorneys or employers who can hire you for private work.  

The expert status is perpetuated by our legal system in the courts- which is where a cop beaches him- or herself in prime time by way of subpoena. If you become renowned or qualified in your specialties beyond the normal scope of duty, you may be deemed an expert by a judge if you land in the process of practical voir dire. Being deemed an expert by the courts is no easy task, but it is a big deal.  The honor and prestige follows you throughout your life.

If you are requested for expert testimony in outside work, be prepared to invoice expert fees.

There are abundant opportunities to attend some top notch police schools, courses, and conferences where you can network with experts and those working in the field after retirement. These schools offer you educational foundation to promote your career and hone your skills. Think of them as checking off some of the required post officer standards at the same time adding distinction to your education. Additionally, you can attain certifications which add credibility to your knowledge and resume.

Invest in socks.

There is something to be said about using mismatched socks to store coins and oodles of money like grandma did. Being a miser has its advantages when you cash out your socks.

Save your nickels and dimes today for dollars tomorrow. A wise man once told me that.

Today, there are many investment funds and retirement plans we can venture into to fatten up our retirement days. Seeking out the best plan for you can change your game plan upon leaving or retiring from the force. 

Who wants to struggle after all those years of hard work?

“A miser grows rich by seeming poor; an extravagant man grow poor by seeming rich.” ~William Shenstone.

Look at the rising costs of basic needs. You cannot afford to count on one pension to cover your lifestyle, unless you plan to make some changes. Maybe you can only muster a savings account where you contribute $20 a month. It’s something.

Six degrees to Kevin Bacon.

Remember the pop culture fun? Well, it was just a game. So is keeping up with the times and fashions of the job market.

Having a bachelor’s degree helps, but these days a master’s degree is becoming the degree of choice for many employers. I learned that the hard way.

Paper degrees are one thing. What is more important is what you learned along the way while obtaining them: critical thinking, cognitive skills, problem solving abilities, emotional intelligence, and discerning wickedness. Sure, you can get all that being a cop. But, why not be a scientist on top of it?

Due to modern technology, you can get your degree locally or online. Imagine the fun of attending school while being a police officer. Quit pussy footing around and suck it up. It will be worth it. No one can take your degree away from you.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”~Nelson Mandela

But research first. Get one that counts for a broader spectrum of jobs. Do not pigeon hole yourself into a very small market. How many places can you actually use a degree in underwater basket weaving?

Furthermore, employers often wade through education and only want degrees from accredited colleges. Some employers frown on online master’s degrees if they are not accredited or lack the academic content and challenges they require.

There is the fallback plan of retiring to the maximum age or years of service, depending upon your department retirement plans. This is also lucrative if you have the mental and physical stamina.

If you are not into higher education, you can beef up your social structure. There are times it is not what you know, but who you know. Reinforce your future by building your incredible business networking circles while you also dive into your police career. Perhaps you can shorten the links to Kevin Bacon.

Be a legend in everyone’s mind.

Some people have skills, talents, business sense, or all three. If you are so inclined, I would encourage you to follow your dreams and start your own business. An enterprise can carry you through if the cop work doesn’t work out or if you decide to pursue other ventures. Plus, who doesn’t want extra income for those toys, fancy things, kids camps, or special vacations?

“Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.” ~Stephen King

Maybe you have some mad woodworking skills and can make artful furniture, cabinets, or special custom pieces. Perhaps your mechanic skills are in high demand. Flip a house? It could happen. Think about your passions and talents. Market them.

Think about tomorrow today.

Now is the best time to think about the future and plan ahead.  Lucky for you, many departments have a 20 year and out plan which means you are still young and full of stamina to keep working, but with a full pension to add to another income. Bonus! Before you know it, you can save up enough retirement to see the world or buy that perfect getaway home you have always wanted.

Maybe. Unless you are not very whippy at financial planning or get paid peanuts to be a cop. Those are two potholes you might want to avoid or patch. Do not spend outside your means. Limit your debt. Spend and save wisely. Those are three things I can attest to as making a huge difference in your financial freedom.

Invest in yourself. Your future is worth it. A person sacrifices many things including their soul for law enforcement.  I cannot fathom struggling to make ends meet just to enjoy my end of days because I only banked on one way out to retirement. Start thinking about tomorrow today. It can make a difference between living the good life or living in a cardboard box.