Rethinking Retirement For Law Enforcement Officers

Rethinking Retirement

By Felix A. Montelara

Source: The

Law enforcement officers often retire after 20  to 25 or maybe 30 years on the job. If an officer starts a law enforcement job in early 20 he would be eligible to retire by the ages of 40  to 50 something.

 Retirement from law enforcement at this age needs to be planned. You most probably will have kids that are going to college. You will probably have a mortgage; therefore, your pension is likely not to be enough to cover all your living expenses.  And you will end up getting another and probably in some type of law enforcement capacity.

In the 1980’s, I spent seven years “State” type law enforcement agency and vested in the retirement system.  Years later after leaving the Puerto Rico Police Department, while working in a county Police department in Maryland in the mid 1990’s. I disregarded the reasons of vesting and pulled my money out of the Police of Puerto Rico retirement system and that was a mistake.

I later in the 2000’s I spent approximately 10 years with a county police department and vested in the retirement system taking a job in Federal law enforcement. This time I did not forget why I vested and left the retirement funds in the county police retirement system.  I made a decision of leaving the county police for new law enforcement job that would pay six figures plus for the next 20 years.  I figured, I would not have to deal with the stress of retirement and have to look for a new job at a lower rate of pay. making this part of my eventual exit strategy when the time arrived.

Well, here were are in close to 2015 and plan has generally worked out.

Montelara-Demick Family

Five out of my seven my children are adults and I have no mortgage.  As a matter of fact, I have no debt. As we all know the future is hard to predict. I do have two of my children that will be at college age at the time of my mandatory retirement.  I have developed a plan to cover those expenses through a 429 education fund for each child.

Today, I receive a reduced pension from the Maryland county police department an even have the option health care benefits.  I would have had a second partial retirement from the Police of Puerto Rico , but I took the money out of the retirement system.  The good  news, I never made the second mistake of cashing out the funds from the county police retirement system.  I am still employed as a law enforcement officer with about five years to mandatory retirement.

Many of my county law enforcement counterparts have retired from the county police department (PD) and many without a plan.

FormerChief Hilton, PGPD

Some have taken jobs with other local PDs. I know that some have even began to climb the promotional latter again.  Some have stated over has Chief of Police in local PDs, educational institutions and Hospitals. Some have gone into private industry with fairly good paying salaries. Not bad for someone that may or may not have had a  plan. However, I do know that most must have the second job due to the lack of a retirement exit strategy.  Some of these folks would like to stay retired but financially are not able.

Now there are a few counterparts that planned their exits from law enforcement and have become entrepreneurs owning their business in areas where they showed passion, while working the job they loved as law enforcement officers.  As one of county PD retiree told me, “I do what like and it does not feel like work.  I can quick; whenever, I want but Why?”

If you start over in another law enforcement career, private industry, or become a business owner the reality is that you have rethink retirement.  You have rethink what will retirement look like for you.

I ask you.  Do you have a plan for retirement?  Are you planning at least fives years ahead? If not begin planning your retirement today.  What does this plan look like?  lra logo  blue Everyone has an ideal retirement vision.   Define an area in your life for which you have a passion and begin the pursuing of it before retirement. This will allow you time  to see if your passion can become profitable.  Start networking with colleagues and friends to see if there any work that you want to do while in retirement.

At minimum get financially educated.  Start your process of becoming debt free. It will lead you to becoming financial free and you can live the life in retirement you envisioned.

If you have a retirement story and want to share it with this community for other to learn and grow. If you want to learn more feel free to reply to this post and sign up for future posts. You may change someones future. If you want to contact me here is my contact information: or text me 334 357 6410.

Best regards,

Felix A. Montelara

Author, Speaker, Radio host and Blogger