Finally, you graduated from nursing school and have passed your NCLEX. All those years of study are finally over, not to mention dealing with all that stress and anxiety when it came to the NCLEX. So now what? it's time to get working. Find that first-time gig that gets you that coveted experience you need right?
Newbies On the Job
Hold on, I want to talk to you about something else here before the jet starts flying, and that is the money you will be making soon. An average starting hourly wage for a nurse with under a year’s worth of experience is $25 an hour (depending on venue and part of the country). Usually, that’s a major jump in pay for newbies. Not only do you have new job prospects, but you also need to take control of those dineros. Most hospitals have intricate plans for retirement and all plans are different with many options that come with a lot of nighttime reading about when in orientation.
A 401k Plan
So, a few must-haves to start. If your employer has a 401k plan, PLEASE contribute to it right out the gate. I know what your thinking, why should 1 give my money to retirement - it should be in my pocket. NO, NO, NO. For one, 401k money comes from your paycheck before taxes are taken out, so that huge paycheck you see at the top of the check that you wish was yours, it comes out of that. Very little of your take-home is affected. Please match whatever your employer is offering. If your hospital is matching up to 3%, contribute that amount. It's free money, and don’t be afraid to go higher either. One of the goals I found out recently was 12% of your check should be used for retirement, which is the national average (according to the motley fool website).
The Taxing Issues
Another area of concern that usually gets newbies mixed up is what should you claim on your tax forms. You have many options here depending on your family unit. Putting it simply, if you claim any of your dependents, the government will take less out of your paycheck, and Uncle Sam will take a bigger chunk on April 15. If you file no dependents even though you have them, the gov will take more out of your check. I know you're panicking right now, right? Hang in there. You will get more in your tax returns at the end of the year that you can bank and do fun stuff with. There are many arguments for and against this advice, I only want to summarize and let you do the research for what is best for you.
OK, so now it's time to go forth and be fruitful. Get that first job and show the nursing community what you're made of. We need you out here with us; fresh ideas are what makes our profession great. It's important to assess your possibilities and create a good future for yourself. Retirement won’t wait for you to take advantage of it. Before you know it, you'll be running whatever floor you’re on. If not a charge nurse, you might be a preceptor or in another leadership role that will make the time go by.
Getting older comes faster than you expect. Don’t be afraid to take the retirement account and transfer it with you no matter where you go either. Let it build up. Ask some of your coworkers what they are up to when it comes to retirement. They may be used to you asking a lot of questions.
For information about investing, please read my first Article: Covid-19 and Your Cheddar.