A retired police officer on serving community & saving for health

Jeanne Braasch began work as a police officer fresh out of college in 1981. Now, with 35 years on the force and four years of retirement under her belt, Jeanne still serves the people of San Antonio—the place she’s called home since 1989—just in a bit of a different way. 

Jeanne began driving for the delivery service Postmates in 2019. “It started as something to do,” she said. “Mostly to bring in a bit more money during this retirement phase of my life. I served others while in the force for a long time, and I’ve always enjoyed doing some sort of public service. Working for Postmates has let me continue doing just that.”

Jeanne’s days are a little less hectic now (she’s no longer working on a crime unit), but she still keeps busy.

A day as a Postmate

“I usually start the day by taking a look at ‘the map,’” she said,  referring to the Postmates map that depicts delivery hot spots, or high-demand areas. 

“I’ll head out towards a hot spot around mid-morning, working till 3 or so. I might do 10 miles on average when I’m delivering within a smaller area. But if it’s really busy, it’s not hard to cover 50 miles in a few hours.” 

Jeanne lives in a densely populated area in San Antonio, she explains, “so it’s pretty easy to stay busy. Let’s just say when I want to, I can deliver a lot.” 

In fact, when we caught up on the phone for this interview, Jeanne was working. 

“I’m actually finishing up a delivery right now!” she told me excitedly over her car’s Bluetooth speakerphone. Despite being on the job, Jeanne’s energy and warmth made it feel like chatting with an old friend. It was clear she loves connecting with and helping people.

When I asked how she’s using her Starship account, Jeanne said without hesitation, “for medical expenses. Right now, I’m paying for a lot. I have surgery coming up, vision expenses to take care of. An expensive prescription I fill every month. Working for Postmates and putting that money away tax-free is how I pay for it all.”

“I have a $1,500 high-deductible health plan (HDHP). It’s expensive but worth it.”

Jeanne also said that she feels lucky to have been able to retire. A lot of her police force co-workers are still working, she said. “They’ve stayed on longer than anticipated, or longer than they’d like, just to pay for their health expenses.”

While Jeanne is an HSA spender now, she has a plan for her future, too. 

“I have a $1,500 high-deductible health plan (HDHP). It’s expensive but worth it.”

HDHPs can be well worth it. But there’s a catch: you’ve got to know how to use it. Indeed, Jeanne does.

“I plan it all out, you know? For example, I know I have a bunch of health expenses coming up. I know I have this money coming in that I can put straight into my health savings account (HSA), tax-free. So I do.”

Jeanne tells me that she made $200 delivering yesterday and it’s already been transferred into her health savings account.

Doing the math

Jeanne doesn’t have a set monthly contribution amount. Instead, she contributes as she makes money, and as she knows she’ll need it for spending. 

“I keep learning new things about my account. It’s pretty cool. I was able to max out my account for 2019 a few months ago, which was so great. I didn’t know I could still contribute to that year. The last HSA [provider] I had didn’t tell me about that.”

Starship isn’t Jeanne’s first experience with an HSA. “The last time I had this type of account, they were charging me $3 a month. It didn’t make sense to me, getting charged to save.”

“There are a lot of things I like about Starship,” she laughed. The lack of fees is definitely one of them. But I’ve also had great experiences with the support team. They’re fast and helpful, and I really appreciate that, especially in a financial institution.”

More than a retirement account

And the one thing Jeanne wishes people knew about HSAs that they don’t already?

“That this can be considered a retirement account, sure, but it’s not just that. Not at all. You can and should start it before you retire so that the money is ready and waiting when you need it for health expenses. I don’t want to have to worry about paying for a doctor’s appointment or a prescription when I’m much older. I want to set myself as well as I possibly can right now.”