And How a Financial Advisor Can Help

As a police officer, you look out for the public. You look out for other officers. You look out for your family. But who is looking out for your long-term financial health?

In my experience as a police officer, I’ve found that, perhaps because they’re used to being the ones in charge, law enforcement professionals sometimes have a hard time asking for help or admitting when they don’t know something. From a financial standpoint, this can result in them throwing their money into a 401(k) or a 457(b) plan (a 401(k) equivalent for some government employees) and hoping it grows enough to cover their retirement needs. Trust me, I get it. You have a lot on your plate and don’t have time to navigate the challenges of saving in multiple accounts, investing, estate planning, tax planning, etc. That’s why you need the help of a trusted professional.

Let me give you a little background to explain why I’m writing this article. I recently retired from the Seattle Police Department after a very challenging and exciting 28-year career. I most recently supervised the SPD SWAT team during the 2020 riots and spent nine years as an undercover detective in the narcotics unit – goatee, pierced ears and all. Needless to say, I was ready for a break. Fortunately, I was able to retire because I had adequate savings, and not just in my 401(k).  

Don’t get me wrong, saving in your 401(k)/457(b) is a great first step in planning for retirement, but it’s not everything. You will likely need additional sources of income when you retire. You’ll also want to make sure your entire financial life is working together in an effective and efficient manner so that you can build your savings and security.

The professionals at Law Enforcement Financial Freedom help you prepare for retirement in the following ways:

  • By finding additional sources of retirement income – Based on your specific situation and goals, it may be wise to establish additional sources of income in retirement. Law Enforcement Financial Freedom’s teams provide guidance on whether it is more beneficial to contribute to a traditional IRA using pre-tax dollars or to a Roth IRA using after-tax dollars, or if there are additional savings vehicles that you should consider utilizing.
  • By considering the big picture – The teams at Law Enforcement Financial Freedom take a step back and assess your entire financial life, including any investments held by your spouse, any non-traditional investments such as a rental property, and any liabilities such as your mortgage balance and student loan debt. They then use this information to determine an overall portfolio allocation and establish any additional investment accounts, insurance, tax strategies, legal/estate planning documents, etc. that may be necessary to help you achieve your long-term goals.
  • By determining optimal timing for pension payments – The decision of when and how to receive pension payments is greatly impacted by your current situation, goals for retirement and income needs. Law Enforcement Financial Freedom can help maximize your benefits and ensure your pension payments complement your overall retirement income strategy.
  • By establishing a tax planning strategy – If you haven’t considered the tax ramifications of your retirement plan, you could be missing out on significant savings. Not only can the firm’s wealth managers help you determine the right balance of Roth vs. traditional IRA contributions, they can also develop a tax-efficient strategy for retirement distributions and investment allocations.
  • By implementing the necessary estate planning documents – Proper estate planning is vital to ensuring your loved ones are protected and cared for after your death. In addition, if you become incapacitated and unable to make decisions for yourself, having a solid estate plan in place can help protect your interests because you will have designated a trusted individual to step in and make decisions. The teams at Law Enforcement Financial Freedom can help ensure you have proper documents in place.

I’m thrilled to combine my experience as a police officer with my role in practice development for the firm in order to connect other law enforcement professionals with the experience and knowledge of fiduciary advisors. If you have questions, I’d love to connect.

Are you ready to start planning for your retirement? Law Enforcement Financial Freedom can help. We are a specialty practice of Creative Planning that focuses on helping police officers achieve financial independence. Each of our teams includes an attorney, a CPA and a Certified Financial PlannerTM practitioner. Regardless of your specific situation, we are available to help you create a retirement plan that meets your long-term needs and goals. If you’d like help planning for your retirement, or for any other financial matter, please schedule a call.

Sgt. Drew Hancock (retired) is a member of Creative Planning’s practice development team, which is comprised of experienced executives and leaders from across the country. More specifically, he supports Creative Planning’s Law Enforcement Financial Freedom specialty practice by building bridges between the law enforcement (LE) community, with its specific financial wellness needs, and the firm’s comprehensive approach to financial management. He is passionate about helping other members of the LE community reach their full potential, both professionally and financially.

This commentary is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice, and does not constitute an attorney/client relationship. Past performance of any market results is no assurance of future performance. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources deemed reliable but is not guaranteed.