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Four Ways to Secure a Comfortable Retirement

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Over the years, nurses have been my family’s heroes, beginning with the birth of our first child, Jack, and then reinforced after the births of our children Leo and Lucy.

Four Ways to Secure a Comfortable Retirement

Our son, Jack, who has a rare genetic disorder called Pitt Hopkins, is non-verbal. One day, he was in the bathtub and the water ran hotter than we expected - and no one noticed until Jack was writhing in pain. We didn't understand the severity of these burns at first, but the nurses who saw him did. They cared for him for two weeks as he recovered from third-degree burns.

It was early on that I realized that as a nurse, you are on the front lines every day working selflessly to help your patients. Every nurse we have met as parents has been amazing, providing guidance and offering heartfelt support that got us through every broken bone and childhood sickness. Our children, as well as my wife and I, couldn't have made it without them.

With all that they do for us, nurses too often are on their own when it comes to making retirement investment choices. In fact, as nursing education programs do not usually offer investment or finance classes, nurses are at a disadvantage when it comes to making these crucial long-term financial decisions.

In confirming this finding, I reviewed a recent Fidelity study that surveyed 365 nurses of which 56 percent felt they lacked confidence when making financial decisions, and that includes investing for retirement.

I work with many nurses and I see many parallels between being a good nurse and investing for a good retirement. When it comes to investing I think it's paramount to keep in mind the following:

Two Hours To Learn

Many people naturally assume that learning about investing is too time-consuming and so they don't get around to it. Ironically, being a successful investor is not about technique; mostly it's about understanding how to invest and avoid mistakes. Take the time to learn about where your money is going. There are easy-to-read investment handbooks like Burt Malkiel's The Elements of Investing that can help you learn the basics of finance and help you to be more informed so you can start to comfortably make decisions on your finances.

Simple Is Better

The best approach for the ordinary person trying to retire comfortably is to invest simply and conservatively. You can still invest in high quality assets while keeping costs low. Don't be too tricky with your choices and just let the markets do what they do.

Evidence Based

There are many investment schemes out there. I believe it best to dismiss the get-rich-quick schemes out there that over promise and under deliver; work only with investment professionals who provide evidence-based investing methods, and who keep your long term financial health in mind.

"Do No Harm" Advisors

Trust is key and when it comes to choosing the right advisor to help you manage your money, you need an advisor held to a "fiduciary standard." Advisors who are fiduciaries follow a "do not harm" approach and always put their client's best interest first, as opposed to financial advisors that work primarily off a commission based structure whose best interest are not aligned with your own.

If you are like many of the nurses I've met - helping everyone except yourself - remember that like all of us, your golden years will soon be upon you. You must be sure to make the most of the money you save. Spend a little time, get smart about investing, and set yourself up for a great retirement. You might want to sip margaritas in Hawaii, go to a yoga retreat or help your grandkids get through college. Whatever your plans, you deserve a happy and prosperous retirement!

Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer of a financial investment company

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10 Comment(s)

sallyrnrrt, ADN, RN

Specializes in critical care, ER,ICU, CVSURG, CCU.

Diversity, in markets

hard metal purchase of silver and gold

minimize debt, pay off plastic......

saving account of 10-20% of your earning

my plan and it appears solvent

vintagemother

Specializes in Med-Surg, Psych, Geri, LTC,.

sallyrnrrt said:
Diversity, in markets

hard metal purchase of silver and gold

minimize debt, pay off plastic......

saving account of 10-20% of your earning

my plan and it appears solvent

Thank you for posting this important advice, SallyRNRRT!

I set up a 403B and am placing 15% of my earnings into it. I've also paid off 2:4 of my credit cards and will pay off the remaining 2 in a few weeks.

This thread and your reply motivated me to step up the rest of my savings plans and yesterday before my shift, I set up a 529 for my child and an additional savings account!

I wonder if other nurses will chime in to add what they are doing to secure a sound retirement/financial future?

We did some stocks and other kinds of investing, but finally decided to let my DH do what he does best: commercial real estate. That's what he does professionally, so theoretically, if he knows what he's doing and is advising his clients well, he should take his own advice. In the past 10 years, we have exclusively invested in commercial real estate, and our retirement is now in the many millions. If you are investing wisely and are in it for the long haul (vs. day trading on the stock market, which he did for a while to simply "decent" returns but too much stress) most real estate investments should increase in value. You have to be willing to ride the ups and downs of the market, but by sticking with what you KNOW and being just a notch or two above conservative, but nowhere near risky, you can make a lot of money in real estate.

Like most things, though, it takes money to make money. You have to get a really good start with your investments so that you have something to invest WITH.

Might not work for others, but this is what is going to keep us in a very comfortable retirement, and still give us the ability to leave a nice future to our kids and their kids.

NurseGirl525, ASN, RN

Specializes in ICU.

He does give some sound advice. I personally love Dave Ramsey and have a decent amount for retirement so far. Nowhere the amount I need to retire, but a decent start. Take advantage of the full amount your employer contributes to your retirement plan. It's foolish not to, and live as much as you can debt free. Get rid of the credit cards. 100%. Paying 26% interest on a credit card is 26% you could be saving for retirement.

Saving is not always easy with a family. But you don't need half of what you spend. I see so many people in my life complaining that they never have any money, all while going to Starbucks every day, getting their nails done, and driving brand new cars. That drives me nuts. I don't do any of those things and I can afford it. I don't take vacations every year, and I rarely eat out. I treat myself once in a while. I do live in a decent house, but, I put so much down on it, my mortgage is low.

Moral to my story is always live beneath your means. Always.

sallyrnrrt said:
Diversity, in markets

hard metal purchase of silver and gold

minimize debt, pay off plastic......

saving account of 10-20% of your earning

my plan and it appears solvent

Sally:

That's a darn good plan. My 2 cents is this.

1. Make sure you truly have "diversity in markets." That doesn't mean owning 30 stocks. It means owning 1000's through index funds. Consider owning two Vanguard funds - VTI for US companies and VEU for foreign companies which will allow you to own all the big stocks in the world within 2 funds.

2. Fees. Make sure you keep fees low - they will kill your savings. Lots of folks go to brokers thinking they can trust the advice and end up paying over 2% in fees every year on their savings. This sounds like a small amount, but it's not. 2% over 20 years can erode 30% - 40% of your nestegg. That's why I'm recommending these funds which are Vanguard and super inexpensive.

3. The best is your savings rate. That takes lots of discipline.

Mitch

Great advice. We find that nurses are in general, great savers. Sounds like you are too. But make sure you learn how to invest the savings in a way that grows it in the fastest and safest way possible. The basics are surprisingly simple to learn!

Mitch

Investing in your own business (like real estate) is the best way to grow your savings. That's for sure! But most people don't have knowledge enough to invest in it. You really have to know what you are doing and those who say they do can be scam artists, charge too much in fees or just get unlucky. The best way to invest in real estate, or have a little of your money in it, is to buy a fund like VNQ which owns all of the bit REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) in the US. You'll own pieces of companies that own apartments, self storage, offices, warehouses, hotels etc. Fees are very low and you'll get to grow your investment as the value of real estate in the US grows. It also pays a great dividend of over 3% a year. Pretty safe and you won't be fixing toilets in the middle of the night!Mitch

John Oliver did a really fantastic job on this subject very recently, too. he def deserved that emmy.

just, um, mind the colorful language. he is, after all, entertainment first. but the info is explained very very well.

joanna73, BSN, RN

Specializes in geriatrics.

Living below your means and avoiding debt is a very simple concept to comfortable retirement, provided you're making a decent income, as many nurses are.

I realize everyone has different circumstances, but many people cannot differentiate between NEEDS and WANTS. Once you learn to live simply, saving becomes automatic.

Investing in your own business (like real estate) is the best way to grow your savings. That's for sure! But most people don't have knowledge enough to invest in it. You really have to know what you are doing and those who say they do can be scam artists, charge too much in fees or just get unlucky.

The best way to invest in real estate, or have a little of your money in it, is to buy a fund like VNQ which owns all of the bit REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) in the US. You'll own pieces of companies that own apartments, self storage, offices, warehouses, hotels etc. Fees are very low and you'll get to grow your investment as the value of real estate in the US grows. It also pays a great dividend of over 3% a year. Pretty safe and you won't be fixing toilets in the middle of the night!

Mitch