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Is 37 too old to start off as a police officer?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Bing_Oh View Post

    What's your cost of living where you're at? Because the idea of making $175-200K as a LEO in most of the country is about as realistic as a Dr. Seuss story. In my area, the average for LE is probably $50-75K.
    You can buy a house around here that is a tear down for about $1.2M. Property tax on that will run you about $14000 a year. It's expensive yes. For a house I would would actually want to own and doesn't need a few 100K in remodeling, it would run almost $2M right now at the bottom. If you were willing to put up with a 2 hour a day commute or live in a relative ghetto you could drop that but not by as much as you might think. Maybe 20%.

    An old friend of mine works for the local PD. He lives 2.5 hours away and stays with family on his work nights. It's different here in CA. We have smaller departments for the most part as far as officers per 1000 residents. So the departments can pay a bit more and of course in the urban areas like here in the Bay Area everything is more expensive. This department starts at about $96K in training. Once sworn it goes to $131K. Without any advanced ratings it goes to $167K currently. Top with incentives is $186K. Most people meet some of the incentives hence $175K. Total compensation is ridiculous. When I was a local over a decade ago, the agency to that hired me said (regardless of which agency I worked for) that if you were a police officer in the Bay Area and you weren't making at least 6 figures you were doing something wrong. It looks like salaries have gone up 50-75% since then from what I can tell.

    When I went to FLETC I had a guy in my CITP class who was a patrol guy for about 7 years and worked a couple years of narcotics in his most recent years for a Sheriff's department in the South. He said the best year he ever had including OT of which there was plenty he barely cracked $40K. He almost doubled his pay by going federal. And now he has probably more than tripled it. So I understand peace officers get paid **** in a lot of parts of the country. But the bay area isn't one of them. Even then though, you can't afford to live here on a cop salary (assuming you would like to own a home at some point) unless your SO is compensated at least as well as you are. If you are single, it's going to be lots of studios or roommates for the long run.

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    • #17
      I'd rather be in the Midwest where you can buy a house and pay your bills on 50K a year.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by just joe View Post
        I'd rather be in the Midwest where you can buy a house and pay your bills on 50K a year.
        No, the thing to do is work and retire in the high-paying department, then move to the low cost of living area.

        50%-75% of $40k isn't much of a retirement anywhere.
        "I am a Soldier. I fight where I'm told and I win where I fight." -- GEN George S. Patton, Jr.

        "With a brother on my left and a sister on my right, we face…. We face what no one should face. We face, so no one else would face. We are in the face of Death." -- Holli Peet

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        • #19
          I can see both angles. I likely won't ever own a home here so will need to buy in retirement. Or be prepared to pay ever higher rent. But rather than stretch to buy here (and at this point it would be a massive stretch) I make sure my wife and I pay ourselves. We won't have a paid off $2-4M home when we retire but we should have that much set aside in retirement accounts and my pension in today's dollars is more than enough to get by on in most of the country.

          If there is any SSA money on top of that, that would be nice but I figure by then we will be means tested out of getting anything so that isn't even part of the equation. My wife is also invested in her company which we hope by the time we leave the state is worth enough on its own for a house or at least a large chunk of one. If the value climbs enough in the mean time it will allow us the option to buy here but it is a gamble so we aren't planning on that. I have some other small income streams too, some of which are passive and not going away. The happiest people in retirement are those with the highest incomes not the most valuable assets. Plenty of research shows this. So if I am paying a mortgage in my 60s/70s so be it. At least I'll be able to afford it then. We are looking to other parts of the country to retire but are also interested in going over seas. Probably 50/50 on that decision right now. Health will play a big factor.

          It would be nice to own a place in a lower cost of living area but that lower associated pension and having far less money coming in to invest in my retirement will lock me into a lot fewer options in retirement. The way we are setup we won't be able to retire in the Bay/NYC/LA and a few other high cost places but we don't have any interest in retiring there anyway. It's kind of an experiment. Both my brother's live in cheaper areas by bay area standards (still stupid expensive by national standards) and they are both essentially house poor. They will likely own their homes as they approach their 60s but they will have almost no retirement assets apart from those homes, so they will work longer and have far fewer options. My parents tried that game and are suffering for it in retirement. I have far more money in retirement accounts than my parents do and they just retired. And they still have a mortgage because they never did just pay off the old one so when they moved to their smaller retirement home, they didn't have nearly the equity they should have had on their previous home.

          We are also used to moving around a bit and with our strategy that is an easier option for us in retirement. More than likely we will ex pat for a while (10-15 years) and return to the US in the later years. Or maybe we won't last that long. It's all a gamble in the end.

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          • Iamkre8
            Iamkre8 commented
            Editing a comment
            At least you have a plan honestly!

        • #20
          Originally posted by tanksoldier View Post
          No, the thing to do is work and retire in the high-paying department, then move to the low cost of living area.
          50%-75% of $40k isn't much of a retirement anywhere.
          There's no doubt places in the midwest paying $40K but a lot of places here paying a whole lot more.
          I retired over 14 years ago. My rookie Troops were making over $100K/year with OT. Even then a Troop at retirement age who did not work any OT would pull $80K/yr. If they'd worked any OT that also figured into the retirement payout. Most were making over $100K/yr in retirement payout. We could retire at 80% after 26 yrs 8 mo at age 50.
          In addition to the retirement pay one also has to look at the retirement benefits. Some places get nothing more than a check. We get a 3% increase every year. Compounded that adds up quickly on your retirement. Medical is paid for life. That's a major savings.
          To answer the OP's original question. The oldest Troop we've had go thru our Academy was 54 yrs old. A retired Army LTC. We have mandatory retirement at age 60 so he could only work 6 years which is not long enough to be vested in the retirement system. It was something he always wanted to do.
          Last edited by ISPCAPT; 07-09-2020, 09:38 AM.
          183 FBINA

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          • #21
            Originally posted by tanksoldier View Post

            No, the thing to do is work and retire in the high-paying department, then move to the low cost of living area.
            Yeah, that's what I was saying- that's been our plan from the beginning.

            And another benefit to working for an employer that pays more, is that not everything costs more in places that have a higher cost of living. Cars and motorcycles are hobbies for my wife and I, and those hobbies would have cost us about the same no matter where we lived.

            For example, when my wife was ready for a new car, I let her custom-order a new BMW Track Pack car, and we flew to Munich Germany for her to pick it up at the factory. We spent a month in Europe- dinner in the Eiffel Tower, riding a Vespa around Rome, doing Oktoberfest in Munich in costume, driving over the Swiss Alps, touring Lamborghini, Ferrari, Maserati, Pagani, Ducati, MV Agusta, Porsche, and BMW. A long weekend in Venice. Weinerschnitzel in Salzburg Austria. A horse-drawn carriage ride to have wine and desserts in the most famous castle in the world. We maxxed her new car out against it's 155 mph speed limiter on the German Autobahns, lapped the world-famous Nurburgring race course at triple-digit speeds, and then I sent her on an $860 cab ride around the Nurburgring at speeds of up to 200mph in a Porsche 911 GT3 RS Race Taxi, driven by the most famous racing driver there, Sabine Schmitz.

            I commuted back and forth to work in a Porsche convertible that I custom-ordered new. We didn't do a European Delivery for that car, but we did get to spend another month in Europe visiting England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and two weeks on the Isle of Man for the TT races, where we rented a big-bore Ducati and lapped the course at triple-digit speeds.

            We sure wouldn't be doing any of that stuff on $40K a year, but because we moved to a place that pays more, my wife and I have been able to have some epic life experiences and make some great lifetime memories together, while exploring our hobbies to a level that would not have otherwise been possible.

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            • Iamkre8
              Iamkre8 commented
              Editing a comment
              That's amazing, I'm assuming you're in law enforcement in California?

          • #22
            Originally posted by Aidokea View Post

            Yeah, that's what I was saying- that's been our plan from the beginning.

            And another benefit to working for an employer that pays more, is that not everything costs more in places that have a higher cost of living. Cars and motorcycles are hobbies for my wife and I, and those hobbies would have cost us about the same no matter where we lived.

            For example, when my wife was ready for a new car, I let her custom-order a new BMW Track Pack car, and we flew to Munich Germany for her to pick it up at the factory. We spent a month in Europe- dinner in the Eiffel Tower, riding a Vespa around Rome, doing Oktoberfest in Munich in costume, driving over the Swiss Alps, touring Lamborghini, Ferrari, Maserati, Pagani, Ducati, MV Agusta, Porsche, and BMW. A long weekend in Venice. Weinerschnitzel in Salzburg Austria. A horse-drawn carriage ride to have wine and desserts in the most famous castle in the world. We maxxed her new car out against it's 155 mph speed limiter on the German Autobahns, lapped the world-famous Nurburgring race course at triple-digit speeds, and then I sent her on an $860 cab ride around the Nurburgring at speeds of up to 200mph in a Porsche 911 GT3 RS Race Taxi, driven by the most famous racing driver there, Sabine Schmitz.

            I commuted back and forth to work in a Porsche convertible that I custom-ordered new. We didn't do a European Delivery for that car, but we did get to spend another month in Europe visiting England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and two weeks on the Isle of Man for the TT races, where we rented a big-bore Ducati and lapped the course at triple-digit speeds.

            We sure wouldn't be doing any of that stuff on $40K a year, but because we moved to a place that pays more, my wife and I have been able to have some epic life experiences and make some great lifetime memories together, while exploring our hobbies to a level that would not have otherwise been possible.

            You skipped Noale?

            Comment


            • Aidokea
              Aidokea commented
              Editing a comment
              As I stated, the cherry on the top of that trip was my wife's lap with Sabine.

              For those that don't know, Sabine was an accomplished professional racing driver at the Nurburgring Nordschleife, one of the most dangerous race courses in the world. She was hired by television show Top Gear, to coach Jeremy Clarkson to a 9:59 lap in a Jaguar. She was so frustrated, she told him she could do that lap time in a van. So they took her up on her challenge- they provided her with a 136-horsepower 4-cylinder diesel Ford van, and this is the video that made her famous:

              https://youtu.be/5KiC03_wVjc

              Sabine was also a 'Ring Taxi driver for BMW:

              https://youtu.be/_tG3Tx1e704

              https://youtu.be/JtAiwl06B28

              My wife was a big fan of Sabine, and at the time we ordered her new BMW Track Pack car, I promised my wife that she could take a lap with Sabine.

              Unfortunately, Sabine and BMW parted company in between the time that we ordered her car, and her delivery.

              Sabine continued as a 'Ring Taxi driver on her own, but the costs went way up. BMW had been providing her with a new M5 every year, new tires every 10 laps, new brakes every 20 laps, and all her gas.

              Once she was on her own, she had to pay for her own Porsche 911 GT3 RS Race Taxi, to include full roll cage, racing harnesses, fire suppression system, helmets, fire suits, KW triple-adjustable suspension, track tires, and so on.

              And although the M5 had three passenger seats, her new car only had one. So costs went WAY up.

              But we did it anyway...
              Last edited by Aidokea; 07-10-2020, 10:33 AM.

            • tanksoldier
              tanksoldier commented
              Editing a comment
              where do you get that theNurburgring is dangerous? Virtually every car manufacturer in Germany, and most in Europe, test their cars there. It’s open to the public when it isn’t reserved for testing.

            • Aidokea
              Aidokea commented
              Editing a comment
              Manufacturers from America and Japan test there also. Just about all major car makers, even Chevy and Ford, maintain full-time development facilities there. But just because car makers test there doesn't mean that it's not dangerous.

              When most people say "Nurburgring" the part that they're talking about is the Nordschleife ("North Loop" in German). The Nordschleife is technically a one-way German toll road that loops through five villages around Nurburg Castle. When it is not closed for racing or rented out (like for car makers to test new cars), it is open to the public. This is called "Touristenfahrten". The public accesses the Nordschleife by buying laps to load onto a magnetic 'Ring Card that you swipe to get out onto the course (we paid the equivalent of about $22 U.S. per lap). And it is dangerous to do Touristenfahrten too.

              The Nordschleife is the second-most dangerous race course we've ever done, second only to the Snaefel Mountain Course on the Isle Of Man during the TT (arguably the most deadly race course on the planet).

              The Nordschleife is 12.9 miles long, and has about 200 turns, almost all of which are late-apex and/or blind. The pavement is different in different sections. The weather can be different in different sections. The different pavement reacts to the differernt weather...differently. During Touristenfahrten, you are sharing the course with all different kinds of vehicles, from tour busses, to mopeds, to 200mph+ hypercars. There is no technical inspection. These vehicles are operated by people that vary in skill level, from zero skill to professional racing drivers. There is no driver's meeting. But the biggest safety challenge of the Nordschleife is that there is virtually zero runoff anywhere- if you go off track, you're almost definitely going to get into the steel crash barriers just a few feet from the edge of the pavement.

              https://youtu.be/BmoEIyw1HFU
              Last edited by Aidokea; 07-12-2020, 02:06 AM.

            • Aidokea
              Aidokea commented
              Editing a comment
              This is what an $860 cab ride looks like:

              https://youtu.be/T2mXi7pgDaE

          • #23
            Originally posted by tanksoldier View Post

            No, the thing to do is work and retire in the high-paying department, then move to the low cost of living area.

            50%-75% of $40k isn't much of a retirement anywhere.
            You're right, but sometimes living in a high cost of living area, even with a high police salary is difficult.

            I personally toughed it out with the feds. I spent my last years in NYC, which is one of the high pay locales, and then retired. The larger pension is nice, but that cost of living (and commute) was a killer.
            I’ll die with blue in my veins.

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            • #24
              The oldest guys in my class were 51 and 47, but both already had time with the City so they get to keep their old pensions. They did all the same training and PT as the rest of us, they just had to meet their respective categories on the State Physical Exams.
              "Don't do that." - DT Instructor

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