Police Pensions by State 2023

What Is a Pension?

A pension is an older retirement plan. This is a retirement plan that typically pays people a certain amount of money for the rest of their life. It is typically listed as a percentage of their final salary. Most private companies have done away with this retirement plan because it is an unbounded expense, but the government still uses pensions to pay their state employees during retirement, and this includes police officers. It is critical to take a closer look at the requirements that someone has to meet to get their pension paid when they leave the public service.

What Are the Different Requirements That Police Officers Need To Meet?

When police officers retire, they get access to all of their pension benefits. This includes continued pay, health insurance, dental insurance, and anything else that goes along with it; however, there are a few requirements that they need to meet. Many police pensions have an age requirement. Someone has to reach a certain age before they can retire. Other police forces might have a minimum number of years of service that someone has to meet. Many people start at a young age, but that is not universal. Some people start later, and they might be required to serve the same number of years. Many pension plans have requirements for age and service that both have to be met before someone is fully vested.

What Does a Typical Pension Plan Look Like?

A normal pension plans requires someone to work until they are between the ages of 55 and 65, depending on the state. Then, the pension plan pays out a salary that is typically an average of the last three to ten years of salary that they drew. This allows someone to continue to get paid for the rest of their life. They don't need to worry about running out of money from a 401k or 403b. Then, there are vesting requirements that need to be met. Some people who leave early might not qualify for their full pension, but they might qualify for a separate pool of money that has a matching level up to a certain percent. Typically, police officers are fully vested after 10 years, but it varies from place to place.

Is a Pension Plan Better Than a 401k?

A pension plan is not necessarily better than a 401k. It is just different. A 401k is the retirement plan that most companies use. In a 401k, the retiree has access to a defined pool of money that varies depending on the market performance and their investments. A 401k can run out, leaving a retiree wondering how to support themselves for the last few years of their life. On the other hand, a pension will only run out if the state defaults on their salaries, which is nearly impossible. Therefore, a pension has more certainty to it than a 401k, but the requirements to qualify for a pension are more pronounced.

Police Pensions by State 2023