Financial Planning for Retirement in Public Safety

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Financial Planning for Retirement in Public Safety


Gordon Graham
Category: Public Safety

Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Today’s Tip is for all my friends in public safety, and it has to do with planning for the future.

Experts will tell you the key to a comfortable retirement is to begin saving early.

Back in the 80s, Huey Lewis and the News had a song with a chorus that went, “I’m takin’ what they’re givin’ ‘cause I’m workin for a livin’.” Not that long ago, public safety personnel could count on a guaranteed pension — with health care included — when they retired. In those days, you could literally take what they were givin’ and live comfortably in retirement. 

Today, many employers have reduced or even eliminated pensions in favor of 401(k)s or other plans without a guaranteed payout. This means it’s up to you, the employee, to plan for income in retirement. 

Experts will tell you the key to a comfortable retirement is to begin saving early. This is especially true with defined contribution retirement plans. Many employers will match your contribution up to a certain percentage. If you only put in the minimum to get the employer’s match, you’ll probably come up short of what you’ll need for a comfortable retirement.  

While it might seem like retirement is centuries away, it’ll be here before you know it. So what can you do? First off, contribute at least the minimum amount to get your employer’s full match — and preferably more. If your agency offers health savings accounts, contribute to one of those, too. This will get you on the way to funding health care and living expenses in your later years. 

Once you’ve started, keep the momentum going. Each time you get a raise, add half of it to your contribution. If you have a 457 plan available, consider contributing funds there, too. You can also open an Individual Retirement Account, or IRA. 

At the end of the day, it’s your retirement. Don’t just take what they’re givin’ or you might find yourself workin’ for a livin’ long after you planned. 

And that’s Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Gordon Graham, signing off. 


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