Police Retirement: Set a Date

Author of award-winning book Second Careers for Street Cops.

Just do it. Pick a date when you’re going to retire from policing. Now look, you don’t have to panic about the date. It’s not like you’re leaving tomorrow. Just take that date and put it in your back pocket. You don’t have to tell anyone what the date is. And, by the way, you’re not being disloyal to your police department by setting a date; it’s just part of taking care of yourself. This is all about you, and when it comes to retirement planning, that’s ok.

Yes, I do know that when you’re working in policing there’s nothing else you’d rather do. It’s important and satisfying work. I enjoyed my police career very much but along the way I learned time marches on, and faster than you realize. Plan for that day when it comes to an end. This retirement date is yours, just use it as a planning tool that will help you finish your policing career at a time that works for you, one that will help you move on to your next stage of life in the way you choose.

There is life after policing. I like to say that retired cops can keep all their police friends and enjoy the police stories without having to put up with the police bureaucracy.

JOHN ELDRIDGE

Use the date as a self-imposed deadline, a date by which you will have arranged your personal affairs in a way that gets you ready to leave. In my book, Second Careers for Street Cops, I wrote about developing a personal ops plan for moving on to a second career. Don’t want a second career and intend to go straight to retirement? Good for you. Get ready to break out those golf clubs and enjoy. But you still need a plan. You can develop your ops plan any way that suits you but remember to make this date part of it.

Keep in mind, it’s only a date. You can change it any time you want to. You’re in control and if your circumstances change, your date and your ops plan change with them.

There is life after policing. I like to say that retired cops can keep all their police friends and enjoy the police stories without having to put up with the police bureaucracy. After years of policing, what could be better? Plan ahead, so you make your retirement the best that it can be. Set that retirement date, and start your planning now. It’s never too early.

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