I recently had the opportunity to interview a police officer who really has planned for success in his life and his career.
Chuck Rylant began his law enforcement career in 1998 with the Lompoc Police Department in California. During those four years, he worked in a patrol car and later as a field training officer. While working graveyards on patrol, he chipped away at his bachelor degree by taking one class at a time. Looking back, he can remember struggling to stay awake while doing homework between 3:00 AM – 6:00 AM when there were only a few calls during his patrol shift. Unfortunately, he went through a divorce and had to put off finishing college for a couple of years while he got his “life in order”.
Eventually Chuck was hired by the Santa Maria Police Department which is the city he grew up in. He was promoted to the detective bureau where he spent most of his time investigating financial and fraud cases. He used this time to continue taking night classes at college and finally finished his bachelor degree. He was elected as a board member of their Police Officers’ Union. “Through the years I got a reputation as the go to guy for finances and I guess that also qualified me to serve as the Union’s Treasurer” he said.
During his tenure as a board member, the City and his department’s administration got into a vicious battle with the police officers’ union. “This was a very stressful time for me; It was one of life’s experiences that jaded me a bit more and reaffirmed that life is not as black and white as it once was when I was a young officer” he told me. It was during this time that Chuck began to question his desire to continue his career as a police officer. He said that he had become so frustrated with the politics that he no longer found the job rewarding and needed to find another source of positive stimulation.
After really contemplating what he found most rewarding, He decided to start formally offering financial planning advice to others. “Before this I was giving free advice to cops, in the middle of the night, over the hood of a patrol car” he told me. Because of his passion for financial planning Chuck ended up leaving his job again to return to school full time and earn a master in business administration. He said “This was partly to learn some business skills, but more because I needed a break from the stress of my law enforcement career”. He found that it took him a significant amount of time to position himself for unemployment and full time college–”but I did it–and it turned out to be one of the best choices of my life”.
During his time away, he got married again, had his first child. He was also able to study in China for a quarter. “When I left law enforcement, I was unsure if I was going to return, but I just hadn’t gotten it out of my system yet. After graduation, I was quickly hired back at the Santa Maria Police Department and I returned with an entirely different outlook on life. Now I am having fun as a SWAT team member and running my financial planning firm”. Chuck now spends about half of his time in his financial planning business and the rest at the police department. He told me that most of his clients are cops and he finds it extremely rewarding helping other cops to reduce the stress of their money issues. Through this journey he discovered that by no longer being financially dependent on his law enforcement career, he can now thoroughly enjoy it.
You can listen to our interview and more as part of this CopsAlive.com Audio Bulletin Podcast: CLICK THE PLAYER BELOW: