What would you do?

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by Hunt er Hunt er (New) New Pre-Student

I feel like I am stuck in between a rock and a hard place and I am not really sure what to do.

I am a 28 year old male, a retail manager and I make about 80K a year. I am really big on Finance and the FIRE (Financial Independence retire early) Movement and I would describe myself as a super saver. I am on track that by the time I am 40 I will be financially secure and theoretically wouldn't have to work again. I have no intentions to stop working once I hit 40 but it's a goal of mine to have the option.

So here is the thing... I love the money I am making and I am comfortable in my position but I'm not happy in my job because I don't bring Value to the world in my position and I am not making a difference in anyone's life.

I have strongly considered going into Nursing for years, when I was younger I wanted to be a CRNA but also Emergency Room Nursing interests me a lot as well. I think I could find happiness, purpose and meaning in either of those different roles.

So I guess what I am asking is if you were in my shoes what would you do? Should I wait until I am 40 (12 years) to start nursing? or Should I start the Nursing journey now and start off with a pursuit of the ADN?

Any feedback is greatly appreciated.

- Hunter

Davey Do

Specializes in Psych (25 years), Medical (15 years). Has 43 years experience. 1 Article; 10,007 Posts

That is one tough question to answer, Hunter. I have an appreciation for your history, seeking to find a value in your life, and your method of gathering data.

Money is not all that important to me, so I wouldn't be the best one to give you my answer. However...

I worked with a nurse years ago who retired in his early 40's because he had made so much money at his job and financial investments, he could. He said that he felt like he needed to give something back, so he became a nurse.

This fella was a nurse extraordinaire. He was hard working and empathetic and I can't say enough good about him. He, too, was happy in the position that made him money, retired, and then sought out something where he felt like he was giving something back.

Good luck in your endeavor, Hunter!

TriciaJ, RN

Specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory. Has 41 years experience. 4,292 Posts

I would start soonish with an ADN. I know a lot of people attend nursing school later in life and do well, but I think generally it's a bit easier when you're younger. More energy, better retention, generally speaking.

This will give you more time to pursue advanced degrees, CRNA, etc if you decide to follow through with that. It will also give you more time to recoup your losses if you end up hating every minute of it and pack it in.

Another thing - if you carry on until 40 with regular daytime hours and workweek days, it'll be that much harder to adjust to working shifts, weekends and holidays. Better to find out sooner if you're going to love or hate it.

If you end up deciding nursing is not what it's cracked up to be, I have no doubt you will find ways to provide value and gain fulfullment. All the best to you.


6,269 Posts

Well, you will get along better in nursing than some people do IF you maintain your current financial status and trajectory. Financial security helps one navigate that a little easier (if things are unsafe or otherwise unsatisfactory you have options besides staying there and putting yourself at legal, physical or emotional risk).

On 2/20/2020 at 1:06 AM, Hunt er said:

I think I could find happiness, purpose and meaning in either of those different roles.

That is important.

But, I advise parsing it out a little further. What about these roles would bring you the sense of happiness/purpose? I understand how it can seem like an obvious difference from retail but you owe it to yourself to go a little deeper than the idea of "helping people" vs. doing a different kind of work. If you just want to help people there are tons of people who need help and you can start helping them immediately, KWIM?

If you have an independent interest in health care and nursing specifically, that's a different matter.

I would be interested to hear what your FIRE community thinks of proposals like yours, too.



1,558 Posts

This is coming from a former retail manager, I don’t know that I’d do it. I make less now as a nurse than I did in retail. If I work OT consistently I can make more.

I thought people were awful in retail. Those people don’t even hold a candle to people we encounter in healthcare. They are much more stressed in the hospital which makes them even more intolerable. Don’t get me wrong, I get the nice, sweet families who tell me I do a good job and are thankful for us, but more often than not, people are mad about small things and rarely see the big picture.

With your lofty financial goals I hope you realize how expensive CRNA school is. You would have to get your BSN, then get a couple of years of critical care experience first. No CRNA program that I know of allows people to work during the program.

Sometimes, I look back on my retail days and think I should have stayed. What I do like about nursing is that I’m hourly now. I get paid for every second that I work, where in retail, I was salary and all those extra hours I worked especially around the holidays I got nothing for. It was nothing for me to work 60/70 hours a week during the holidays and I don’t have that now. There are pros and cons to each. But if you think as a nurse you go home every night feeling like you made a difference each day, I can say with certainty that doesn’t happen. Some nights I go home and feel that way, but most I go home thinking, what just happened?

Jedrnurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in school nurse. Has 30 years experience. 2,776 Posts

It's worth thinking about, but don't fall prey to the "savior-behavior" attributed to some people who idealize nursing. You could do just as much good teaching financial literacy to people desperately in need of it.

LibraSunCNM, MSN

Specializes in OB. Has 10 years experience. 1,608 Posts

There are a few things to consider, as other posters have mentioned. Have you ever shadowed or spent time with a nurse on the job in any way? I think some lay people have a gross misunderstanding of the shift-to-shift life of a nurse. What's the job market like for nurses in your area? Do new grads find jobs easily or would you need to relocate? If you would be making less than 80k per year, I obviously wouldn't bother. Have you ever had to work night shift? Do you have a family? If so, would they be supportive and flexible with you as you go through school? Not saying not to do it, but definitely don't go in blind. Wish you the best regardless!


Has 8 years experience. 65 Posts

You can volunteer to help the poor and the sick. This will bring value to the world and purpose and meaning in your life. With the money that you are making, you can use a bit of it to make a difference in the less fortunate for sure. You don't have to go into nursing to carry out these things. It's good that you have a heart though. You are at the top of the pyramid of the Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs though ?

Edited by PeekaPooh



1,698 Posts

How interesting that you posted this. I am also 28 and male, focused on FIRE, and have a goal to retire by age 40 but continue working for casual/easy income.

You need to check out this link on achieving early retirement! I bet you're already familiar with it, possibly.


Anyways, ER nursing is a ton of fun. You learn soooo much, become a master on IV's, and much more. The environment in the ER gives more exposure to patient variety found in the nursing career than any other specialty in my opinion. And being an ER nurse is just bad*** IMO. That said, it is a challenging specialty with a LOT of burnout. Just be aware that many nurses try to get away from ER after so many years because it can be demanding. Others stay for a lifetime.

You make a great income. If you are solid and secure in retail, think long and hard before pursuing nursing. Nursing offers many advantages, including being almost completely recession proof. However, if you were to go into a program, that is 2-4 years of lost or reduced income while you are training, so take that into account. And of course new grad RN's start at the bottom of the wage scale. They often don't make that much. However, with a few years of experience, lucrative doors to opportunity can open.

You mentioned an ADN degree. While there are many areas of the country that are friendly toward and will hire ADN's in the acute care setting, the national trend is slowly but surely progressing toward BSN highly preferred, required upon hire, or required within so many years of being hired. Be aware of this fact. BSN is advantageous in that it offers even MORE career and money making opportunities than an ADN will.

I am an ADN nurse that makes 130K/year now, and it is almost all going to retirement. Because I can't see myself doing this forever. Nursing can really wear you out. It is VERY rewarding, and a fun, and absolutely fascinating career field. But there are a good handful of downsides too, and lots of B.S. The grass isn't always greener. My first year as an RN I made 38K. Now I make much more because I have chased the money and work in a specialty that offers a lot of on-call pay. So opportunities like these exist, but understand in the vast majority of the country grossing >100K/year in nursing is uncommon.

Another cool thing to consider is that nursing offers work from home positions! A luxury in my opinion. That's what I'd like to do when I reach retirement. Be away from the hospital.

Yes CRNA is lucrative, amazingly so, but I make almost as much as the low end of their salary with an associates degree. Pretty sobering to consider, especially since they are rapidly approaching a Doctorate Degree entry level.

If you are FIRE savvy, you can achieve FIRE on a regular RN scale in less than a decade. Good luck! You can PM me if you'd like .

Hunt er

Hunt er

4 Posts

Thank you all for your feedback, it gives me a lot to think about forsure.

- Hunter

Defibn', RN, EMT-P

Specializes in SRNA. Has 8 years experience. 224 Posts

If you find yourself getting annoyed a lot with customers, it will only be worse in the hospital. Some patients and families are so great that I couldn't believe I was lucky enough to take care of them. However, a lot of patients and families are demeaning and demanding. The demanding part I can understand sometimes because people in the hospital are usually experiencing the worst days of their life. But, I can never understand the demeaning attitudes I come across. As I am sure you have witnessed, a ton of people are entitled. I'm all for giving 110% to my patients, but a lot of the families will expect you to be their waitstaff. That gets old.

There are a ton of positives in nursing and usually the patients treat you fine and are somewhat appreciative. But if being treated poorly and being underappreciated bothers you very much, then bedside nursing is going to bother you. You can make as much $ as you're making now as a new grad nurse, with OT. In the middle of the country you're looking at about $25/hr base rate. There are opportunities for call-back pay and shift differentials though.



142 Posts

I just took a similar path to pursue nursing. Gave up retail management making 80K plus, but I knew retail was no longer for me, and I needed to get out. I was with a fortune 50 company and couldn't imagine any other position I would even consider moving to in the company. When opportunities came up to advance, I didn't want them.

I always wanted to be in the medical field, so I made the decision last year to really go after it around 40. The think is, I already had most of the prereqs done. I had to repeat A&P 1 and 2 due to the ages of the courses.

If you have that desire to grow with your organization and it's "all about money", then maybe stay where you are.

The only advice anyone can give you here is financial advice. The rest you have to answer on your own.

1 hour ago, Defibn' said:

If you find yourself getting annoyed a lot with customers, it will only be worse in the hospital.

The worst part of retail management is not the customers...It's managing employees.