When talking about officer wellness, the resources provided are mainly about mental health and physical health. It is important to understand however that overall wellness goes beyond these two areas of health. Financial wellness is a critical part of wellness as stresses and troubles concerning finances can impact an officer’s performance on duty as well as their safety. This presentation provides fundamentals on financial fitness to help officers sort out this aspect of their life which has an exponential effect on others.
Leading the discussion is Retired Captain Christopher Gandia. He has a 25-year career in law enforcement and more than 29 years of financial experience. He is currently a Senior Research Associate with the Institute for Intergovernmental Research (IIR) in its Law Enforcement Safety and Wellness Group.
Specifics of this session include:
- How everyone wants financial freedom, why they want it, what it provides people with, and the challenges that come with it.
- The law enforcement profession’s unique characteristics and how these relate to financial fitness.
- The first step: What you need to do today to start your journey toward the destination – retirement.
- Familiarizing with concepts of cash flow, income, needs, and wants to track your expenses.
- Learning about balance and discipline to enjoy your journey right now while likewise working for the future.
- Cash-Flow and Statement of Net Worth Worksheets to work on to have a better understanding of your spending habits which you can then adjust to get started on your journey.
- Setting goals upon getting a clear understanding of your current situation.
- The three types of goals, the timeline to work on for each, examples that fall under each one, and a goal-setting exercise to get started on your journey.
- Questions to reflect on, taking your desired standard of living into account, and using the retirement calculator to determine the amount you need to retire.
- sing the number you end up with to guide how much you need to save per month.
- The common retirement income resources and how to build a sturdy retirement “table” through these.
- The different retirement accounts to contribute to and the conditions, benefits and limits of each.
- The inevitability of risk – whether you are investing or not – and people’s predisposition to be risk-averse.
- How market volatility tends to scare people and a glimpse into the market trends from the last 90 years that provide a snapshot of the market’s general trend.
- How emotions tend to get in the way of wise investing and prevent the most basic of investing rules – buy low, sell high.
- The importance of diversification of assets, the different asset classes and their characteristics, and the recommended mixture of these depending on risk-aversion and timeline.
- The typical anxiety before getting started with investing and how it goes away as you focus on your journey and destination
- The concept of the time value of money and the compounding effect that emphasizes the need to invest early and often.
- Guidance for seeking investment advice and questions to ask to get started on your investment journey.
- Case studies and examples were provided to demonstrate…
- How doing the Cash-Flow and Net Worth Exercise helped people straighten up their finances, overcome debt, and start saving and investing.
- The compounding effect in action over time for three different officers with different ages, contributions, and risk appetites.
Questions from the webinar audience are about:
- Pulling from your 457 account into an investment account.
- The impact of pension on reduction of social security benefits.
- Buying time through the 457 plan to leave service early.
- Investing a little money into different plans at the same time.
- Certifications to look for in a financial advisor.
Resources and Handouts
- “I really liked that Chris demonstrated this topic in a very easy way to understand and follow. The most valuable thing I learned was information about setting short-term goals.” — Adrianne
- “I just counseled my younger staff members on this and last minute suggested she attend and this supports the information that I spoke to her about plus gave me some more information for when I do retire-as I can already go but am not ready (personally) yet and have a few more financial goals to hit! Financial health is important to people and it helps in the workplace too- so thank you so much for offering this!” — Cris
- “[This webinar] should be [watched] Police Academies, so planning can start early. Many new officers go through the “toy phase” before they realize those purchases could have funded their retirement.” — David
- “Even at this late stage in my career and a proposed three years from retirement, it is not too late to gain control over finances and invest.” — Pamela
- “This was a very important webinar for anyone in Public Safety.” — Robert
- “I would like to see this, or similar training provided during the Academy or near the beginning of every officer’s career.” — Zachary