November 17, 2011

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Andrew Hawkes Highway Drug Interdiction
with Andrew Hawkes

Are you ready for retirement?

No matter what your salary is, you probably won’t be bringing in big time cash from your pension, so it’s important to start eliminating debt, planning your expenses, and lining up healthcare

I remember a few years back, starting out in law enforcement, watching and listening to the dinosaurs talk about retirement. It was always, “I can’t afford to retire” or “I’m going to work 25, 30, or 35 years then retire” or “I’m just gonna stay five more years” only to see those officer’s pass away and never get a chance to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Simply stating, retirement or at least retirement eligibility will creep up on you before you know it, and, if you have not prepared for it, you too could find yourself with twenty-five years of service and in no better position to retire than when you were a rookie.

As an officer, no matter what your salary is, you probably won’t be bringing in big time cash from your pension, so it’s important to start eliminating debt, planning your expenses, and lining up healthcare ...long before it’s time to hang up the old gun belt. It’s not unrealistic to start on these goals five or 10 years ahead of time.

Monitor the Right Thing
I’m a firm believer in not how much money you make, but how much money you spend or owe that will determine if you can live comfortably off of your pension. It’s the little things like making sure your cars will be paid off by then, you are investing extra on the side, and you are reducing or eliminating credit card debt and possibly having a part time gig lined up.

Talking with a financial advisor whom you trust can help prepare a five- and ten-year strategic plan for retirement, so that you won’t blink your eyes one day and have 20 years of service in and not be anywhere near able to financially hang it up. Working longer may or may not work for you, as retirement is a very personal decision, especially with cops who love their jobs, whose jobs often define them, but being ready to go out when and how you want will at least secure some much deserved time to spend with the wife in your golden years. Ok, so maybe not the wife, but at least the grandchildren.

As for me, I plan on rolling out of bed each morning, crankin’ up the old ’69 Chevy long-bed, and making my way down to the local greasy spoon for some eggs and bacon with the old buddies so we can swap war stories like, “I remember that time when I fought all four of those young punks by myself, blindfolded with one hand behind my back...”

Then I might head on over to the hardware store and get me some more weed-eater string...

You deserve what you’ve worked for; make sure you get to enjoy it. Stay safe.

About the author

Lt. Hawkes is a 23-year police veteran. In addition to his years of highway drug interdiction, Lt. Hawkes has worked in patrol, K9, investigations, narcotics, and administration. He holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Dallas Baptist University and is a graduate of the Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas. He is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Justice Leadership and Administration from the University of Texas at Dallas.  He has been the recipient of both State and Local awards, including the Medal of Valor. His book, Secrets of Successful Highway Interdiction, which can be purchased here, contains eleven chapters on Highway Drug Interdiction.

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