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Achieving Financial Wellness as a Nurse

  • Category: Careers
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  • Written By: Baton Rouge General
Achieving Financial Wellness as a Nurse

So you’re used to taking care of everyone else. Sound familiar? If you said yes, it might be because you’re a nurse. But it’s important to take a moment to take care of yourself not only physically but financially. Here are some tips to get you on track:

Pay Off Your Credit Card Debt Right Away

One of the very first things you should do to take control of your financial wellbeing is to pay off any outstanding credit card debt. Instead of just paying off the minimum balance each month (which can cause your credit score to drop significantly) try to reduce your spending so that you can pay off the balance each month. Otherwise, you are merely throwing money away through high-interest rates that come with most credit cards. If you have a large amount of debt on multiple cards, it may be beneficial to consolidate them for a lower rate.

Start Saving for Retirement!

It is crucial for nurses to save for their retirement as soon as the begin their careers. The earlier the better when it comes to saving money, even if it’s just small amounts. Over time, your savings can really add up!

Choosing the correct retirement saving vehicle is also something to consider. Depending on your needs and employment status, you will want to choose something you can get the most benefit from. Most full-time RNs employed at a health system have an employer contribution to a 401(k)-retirement account. This typically is a great benefit option because it’s free money. If you choose this option, be sure to max out that benefit if you are able to. If you are a travel nurse, setting up an IRA (individual retirement account) might be a smarter option because it gives you flexibility when it comes to saving and can also be taken with you no matter who your employer is.

But What About My Student Loans?

Getting your nursing degree is certainly a good investment that is sure to pay off but it can also become an ongoing financial burden. The average nursing graduate has about $30,000 in student loan debt and getting a Master’s degree can add significantly more. High monthly payments and inflated interest rates can prolong this burden. Refinancing your student loans may help you get lower rates and make your monthly payments more manageable.

Create Your Monthly Budget and Save for an Emergency

Creating a steady routine around a monthly budget can help you balance your expenses as well as save a little on the side for any unforeseen emergencies. Start by adding up all of the necessary monthly expenses against what you take home each month. This will give a clear understanding of your financial situation. You might find that you need to adjust your lifestyle and revisit your expenses if you are not able to put a little aside each month.

Consult with a Pro

Many healthcare employers offer free financial planning resources for their staff. A little professional advice here and there can go a long way when it comes to better money-management. As a nurse, this knowledge can make not only day-to-day financial decisions easier, like sticking to your budget or maintaining a solid credit score, but also give you peace of mind that retirement is a tangible goal.