Nursing: The Financial Side
Nursing has the strong potential of allowing one to make a good life for their family. But sometimes, people just get it all wrong along the way, either in terms of lifestyle choices or upfront in terms of school selection. Let's talk about it.
Our finances are mostly decided by the choices we choose to make or not. You do not have to be a Wall Street guru (this is also debatable!) or a whiz kid to understand that if you spend way above your income, you stand a greater risk of falling into debt and other financial messes.
Some situations are simply unavoidable on how one can get into a financial mess (think hospital fees related to lack of insurance or bankruptcy from staggering hospital fees!) and yet others are consciously made with or without thoughts to the long term effects of those decisions.
Some risk factors that can tip you into a financial mess
1. School Loans
If you decide to pick an Ivy League school for nursing (laughable) or an especially exorbitant one, then please do be prepared to pay the piper when it comes to time to pay the school loan. Except those schools come with a sure guarantee of a job offer after school, it would be your best bet to pick a better affordable school and network like craz before graduation. By all means, do go to that accelerated school, just try and make sure that that expensive accelerated school is at least accredited. Why spend so much money and still have limitations at picking a place of employment?Not a good investment!
Please explain to me again how a five bedroom house with two and a half baths (with the white picket fence) is the right choice to make for a family of three? Things add up. When you begin to pay for space (or things) you do not need, you take away from saving up for things you do need.
3. Latest Tech gadgets
Apple Air is all well and good. Iphone 6 or is it 7? No wait, its 8! Is even more better, but have you checked how much those run and the contract agree you have to add up along with that.
4. Constant eating -outs (self-explanatory)
5. Garage Sale
Out with the old, in with the new! All the time? No you do not need to offload all your clothes from last summer to make new ones for next summer. Pick and choose. You don't always have to follow ALL the latest fashion trends.
Reducing these risk factors
1. Scholarships/ Tuition Reimbursements
There are a plethora of funds out there, take advantage of them. Write that essay if that is what it takes you to get some finances towards covering some school expenses. Keep your grades up (high school students!).
2. Be frugal
No, you do not NEED the latest model of the Jaguar. Get yourself, a dependable Honda Accord or whatever else it is that runs well, is good on gas and still looks great, like new.
3. Cook in!
This might be tricky for some, but have you ever stopped once to tally how much of your spending goes on constant eat-outs? A lot! Learn to cook and have fun with it. Buy basics and staples and play with it, YouTube it, if you like. It's amazing what comes up on You Tube. Save some money while you are at it and know what goes into your meals.
Find a way of paying yourself, it could be automatic payments so you have no idea when it gets taken out, much less painful that way. Save for the rainy day
5. Get some financial literacy.
"I don't know" is no excuse. Find out and then transfer/instill these good habits into your kids.
Share your helpful tips & what has worked for you.Last edit by Joe V on Jan 9, '15
Nov 17, '13 by Not_A_Hat_Person, RNConsider buying short-term disability insurance, especially if you can get it through your employer. It's cheap, especially if you're young, and it will provide income if you're unable to work for a few weeks. The policy I have even covers childbirth.Nov 18, '13 by TheCommuter, BSN, RN Senior ModeratorThank you for this post. It offers some great tips on how to hang onto as much of your limited income as possible with the limited time we have in the workforce.
Yes, our time in the workforce is finite. While we might hear of the 85-year-old floor nurse, who seriously wants to do this backbreaking job well into old age? Live frugally now for a comfortable retirement.Nov 18, '13 by classicdamelearn to live below your means. You never know when that extra money will be needed. Also, take advantage of any retirement accounts available to you. The years pass quicklyNov 18, '13 by llg, BSN, MSN, PhD GuideGood reminders for everyone. I just read an article about teaching financial savy to kids. It said that kids usually don't visualize themselves as older people. So they don't relate to the concept of "saving for later." Because they don't identify with their older selves, saving for later feels a lot like giving the money to another person. I think a lot of adults never outgrew that phase of development -- they don't connect with the fact that THEY THEMSELVES will be the ones to suffer tomorrow if they make foolish choices today.
I have a friend (and a brother) whose life stories have been one foolish financial choice after another. It's so sad. You try to talk with them ... but they just want what they want ... and they want it NOW ... and they just won't consider the long-term perspective.Nov 18, '13 by HouTx, BSN, MSN, EdD GuideOooooh ooooh - I have one
If your employer offers a matched savings plan.... go for it! This is equivalent to giving yourself a raise. It will also instill a good savings habit. Opting out means that you are leaving money on the table.Nov 18, '13 by Not_A_Hat_Person, RNQuote from HouTxA 401(k)/403(b)/457 can be a good idea even if your employer doesn't match contributions. It's tax-free savings, and even a little will add up over time.Oooooh ooooh - I have one
If your employer offers a matched savings plan.... go for it! This is equivalent to giving yourself a raise. It will also instill a good savings habit. Opting out means that you are leaving money on the table.Nov 18, '13 by llg, BSN, MSN, PhD GuideQuote from Not_A_Hat_PersonActually, most of these plans are not tax-free. They are tax-deferred, meaning that you delay the taxes until you take them out of the account to use them. With a "Roth" account, the money you earn is tax-free, but you pay taxes up front on the money you invest.A 401(k)/403(b)/457 can be a good idea even if your employer doesn't match contributions. It's tax-free savings, and even a little will add up over time.
I just didn't want people to think their retirement accounts were tax-free when they are not -- and have a nasty surprise when they withdraw the money later.Nov 18, '13 by tarotaleit seems like people in US pretty much live their young lives just to live for retirement... no offense, but just that's what it seems like to me. I probably will live somewhere else outside country when I am old, using my skills to service others;Nov 18, '13 by NurseGirl525, ASN, RN ProI honestly think they need to teach financial management in high school. Kids don't know or understand how to balance a checkbook anymore. So many people make good money but throw it all away instead of saving and planning. I make sure I have a balance. I have learned to save and have fun at the same time. I don't drive a brand new car or have a giant, brand new house but I have no bills either except for utilities. Yes my house is paid for. I am also paying for my schooling out of pocket so I will have no student loans at the end. But that means that I go to a very reputable, community college. You can have it all, you just need to plan for it.Nov 18, '13 by imintroubleYouth doesn't last forever. Money isn't always readily available.
Eventually there will be more than just you to support.
I look at what I've saved, what I've spent, and what I have to show for both. I'd have to say one of the biggest regrets of my life is that I wasn't smarter about money. I'll be working well into my 60s.
Somebody posted that being smart about money should be taught in school. Amen to that.Nov 18, '13 by brandy1017Take a personal finance class in high school or college. Personal Finance for Dummies is an excellent all-inclusive primer to read. Liz Weston has several good financial books such as Deal with your debt, she also writes on MSN Money. Learn to save and budget early on! All your worth by Senator Elizabeth Warren has a great simple budget, 50% needs, 20% savings & debt repayment, 30% wants. Suze Orman also has informative books. Check them out from a library to save money!
Start a retirement account as soon as you can, don't leave any money on the table if your employer matches retirement. A Roth IRA is a great way to start an emergency fund and also save for retirement! If you start saving in your 20's you will be well ahead of the game because time is on your side.
Especially if you're young and healthy, consider a high deductible health plan. It is a great way to squirrel away money completely tax free both for medical expenses now or in the future and even for retirement. Ideally if you can afford it you should not use the money, but let it grow for tax free money in retirement! If you have a high deductible plan and have prescriptions check out the $4 generics program avail thru Walmart, Target, KMart, and even Walgreens. Generics are tried and tested, but not all generics are cheap. Some generics cost almost the same as brand name, Costco is your best bet and offer their meds just above cost and even better you don't have to be a member to access their pharmacy!
Take the disability insurance offered thru work as nursing has a high injury rate. Be aware that you could lose your job thru no fault of your own, politics, lay off, injury, illness or even a hospital closing. Therefore, have an ER savings fund, keep your skills updated and do your best to get along with others. Likeability trumps ability in many situations and can be key to getting a new job!
Minimize student loans and learn all you can about them before you sign up for student loans. See my other posts on the dangers of student loans and the website studentloanjustice.org to learn more.
The truth is many companies prey on and profit off the unimformed consumer. You need to learn as much as you can to level the playing fields and save your money so its not taken out from under you by the many greedy banks, businesses out there! Stick with a credit union to save money! Pentagon Federal, penfed.org is a great national credit union and anyone can be a member, if you aren't govt or military you can make a one time modest donation to a military charity, check the website, and it has the best rates out there, bar none! Read Money magazine its full of great info!Last edit by brandy1017 on Nov 18, '13Nov 18, '13 by MrChicagoRNQuote from HouTxDefinitely.Oooooh ooooh - I have one
If your employer offers a matched savings plan.... go for it! This is equivalent to giving yourself a raise. It will also instill a good savings habit. Opting out means that you are leaving money on the table.
And everyone should have flex spending account that allows you to pay for prescription Rx, co-pays and deductibles, glasses, dental work all on a pretax basis.
And regarding 403b/401k and taxes, if you are offered a Roth option, your investments will be post-tax dollars, but every penny you earn will be tax free forever & ever.
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