My First Financial Mistake as a Police Officer

Looking back at the beginning of my career, the first financial mistake I made in my career was when I bought my sports car.

Even worse was I was given advice by people older than me not to buy a car first, but to continue living with my parents and to save up for a house.

But being a 22 year old kid and graduating from the police academy a few months prior, I thought I knew everything in the world. And honestly, the monthly payments of the sports car did not really affect me until I bought my first house.

When I bought my first house, I was still able to afford the month payments for the car, which was approximately $650 a month. But adding the house payment, the insurance, utilities bills, and all the new future I had to buy, the bills were quickly adding up. On top of that, I was paying $60 every 3-4 days for gas (premium gas and during the time gas prices were $4-5) because I had to drive an hour to work and back.

At the time I was able to afford all my bills because there was plenty of overtime around. And as a first responder, majority of us like overtime.

I did not see my sports car as a liable until it started to have mechanical problems. One time my car would not start because rats chewed the wires. I needed new tires on my car and my car was not able to rotate the tires because the front and back had different sizes.

I finally decided to trade in my sports car for a more gas friendly sedan in March of 2015. My monthly payments went down from $650 to approximately $350. My gas expenses went down from $60 every 3-4 days to $30 every 3-4 days.

I was saving approximately $540 a month! That is a lot of saving right there!

I wish I learned about financial independence, investing, and saving after trading in my car, but I did not.

Conclusion:

Whenever I see a young police officer starting their career in law enforcement, I ask them what their goals are in the department. After they tell me their goals, I ask them what their goals are in their personal life. It is funny to hear majority of them give the same answer I did, which was to buy a new car.

I always try to give them my advice regarding finances and investment. I told them the bare minimum they should do is put 4% into their retirement plan to get the company match, live below their means, and save up to put 20% down on a house before buying a car.

I can give all the advice I want, but I learned some people do not like to talk about money and always dreamed about that dream car when they could afford it.

2 thoughts on “My First Financial Mistake as a Police Officer

  1. I’m not a police officer, but I have a good friend that is starting his career in that field. He wants to buy a brand new truck once he get hired. I have a personal finance blog, Financially Obsessed, and I told him that is probably the worst thing he could do! (Not the worst thing, but still not a good option) I told him to keep driving his current vehicle until it breaks down and save all that money. Hopefully he listens, but I am going to refer him to your blog, great post! You earned a follower.

    Like

    1. Thank you very much for the follow. I hope he listens as well. There is nothing wrong with wanting a truck. Eventually I want to get one as well along with a trailer for camping. If he was like me, I’m sure he came from a job making $1,600 a month to $4,000-$5,000 a month. But hopefully he understands this will probably be the only time he can save thousands of dollars before purchasing the biggest expense (house) of his life. I hope it all works out for him and please keep me updated.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: