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Growth & Jobs | Cops cautioned to plan carefully for retirement

Published:Tuesday | March 17, 2020 | 12:11 AM
Chairman of the Jamaica Police Federation (JPF), Sergeant Patrae Rowe makes a point to Sharon Smith, head of the JN Individual Retirement Scheme, during a symposium organised by the JPF recently for rank and file cops.
Chairman of the Jamaica Police Federation (JPF), Sergeant Patrae Rowe makes a point to Sharon Smith, head of the JN Individual Retirement Scheme, during a symposium organised by the JPF recently for rank and file cops.

Sharon Smith, who heads JN Bank’s Individual Retirement Scheme, has warned cops to be keen about preparations for their retirement, given the high risks associated with their jobs.

She was addressing rank and file lawmen during a symposium organised and hosted by the Jamaica Police Federation for its members at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston recently.

“Too many of our policemen and women and their families are being forced into poverty because they did not plan for their retirement,” she opined, pointing out that retirement was not merely an age, but a stage of life when one is unable to work and earn a salary.

“This is a consciousness that should be riveted in your minds, given the dangers that you face daily to protect our country,” she underscored, adding that many policemen have ended up in poverty at retirement and forced to work as security guards, or other such situations, to supplement their retirement income.

However, the financier urged the police not to view retirement preparation as simply channelling funds to a savings pool or scheme; but rather, as a lifestyle, in which they must continuously manage their finances.

Beyond saving and budgeting their current salary, she encouraged the cops to develop other sources of income.

“Think about what you can do, whether it’s a second job, or using some hidden talent to earn additional income. Do you have fruit trees at home from which you can reap and sell? A small farm in the country, or land you can farm? Are you good at baking or cooking items you can sell? Can you do event planning or decor?” Smith suggested.

“Remember, you shouldn’t be borrowing, especially at this stage in your life, to supplement what you earn,” she told the cops, some of whom were close to the age of retirement. “You will only lead yourself down a rabbit hole!”

Reduce debt

In fact, she cautioned the police to look at ways in which they can reduce their debt, especially as they get closer to the age of retirement; noting that it becomes much more difficult and burdensome to manage debt in retirement.

“Try consolidating the loans you have now if you have several out there from various financial institutions, especially if you can’t pay them off out of your pocket,” she recommended.

However, importantly, the JNRS head emphasised the importance of taking care of their health. She encouraged them to invest in good health and life insurance.

“You have very risky jobs, and, therefore, it makes sense for you to be insured, in the event something happens to you, whether on or off duty, so that you or your families aren’t left wanting afterwards,” she informed.

Smith added that self-care is also important.

“It’s … very important for you to take care of your mental and physical health. Seek counselling and walk away from situations that wear you down mentally and physically, whether on the job or at home. They impact on your health, and poor health affects your pocket in retirement. Also, you have to eat right and stay fit. Find the time to exercise and rest,” she advised.