Most of us think retirement is a far away-off dream. We believe Social Security and Medicare benefits will be in place to allow us to have a secure retirement. Unfortunately, this is not a realistic expectation that we should count on.
As a nurse, you will make good money and have many opportunities for advancement throughout your career. Just as you look at your professional goals, you must also plan for your life goals and retirement. Lume is here to help you with your financial literacy as a nurse as well as understanding your retirement options. Let's look at some basic things you should be doing TODAY that will help you benefit TOMORROW!
Financial security in retirement doesn’t just happen. It takes planning, a commitment, and setting aside, yes, money. Investing early and consistently allows for exponential growth of money to provide substantial money down the road. The more money you invest and the earlier you start saving the faster your money will grow.
Look at Your Current Income and Expenses
This is an integral part of the process. Are you single, with no children, and a lot of debt? That is a very different scenario than if you are married with children or are a single mother and have a lot of debt. Either way, having a solid plan in place to look at your expenses and your income will allow you to pay down your debt, get your expenses under control, so you can begin a savings plan.
Ask your employer or those in the Human Resources Department where you work about what retirement plans they have for you to start saving. Most employers have various programs with matching options to maximize the amount of money going into the retirement account that employees can sign up for to help them save. Another good idea is to work with a financial planner who can explain how savings and investing works and help you make a plan that meets your current needs and future needs. Take advantage of the available opportunities through your employer or the experience of a financial planner to make the best decisions earlier rather than later. It is essential to seek help as saving is not intuitive, so many put it off or don’t take full advantage of the existing opportunities. That is a huge mistake because the earlier you start saving, the better.
Do Your Homework
Finding help takes work – finding a financial advisor and an accountant can make the process more understandable and allow you to meet your goals. One way to start is to ask your family and friends whom they use. Shop around until you find someone who you trust and you are comfortable with and trust. Develop a plan that works for you NOW. The plan can be adapted as your goals change and as you age. Your financial planner will help you change your saving plan as needed so you can do things that are important to you.
Maximize Your Job
Nurses are in demand, and there are many routes you can take in your career. Stay alert for opportunities such as overtime, nurse ladder programs with pay raises, and possibly bonuses for maintaining certification bonuses. Sign up for overtime, especially if you are in debt. If you have student loans or credit card debt, devise a plan to pay them off to allow for more money to be set aside for retirement. Getting out of debt will help you see future opportunities clearer.
In today’s culture, insurance is a necessity to cover unexpected expenses such as for a car, renting an apartment, owning a home, or routine health insurance Today. A lesser-known insurance option is short-term or long-term disability coverage. Car Insurance, Homeowners, Rental Insurance, Health Insurance, to name a few that most of us are familiar with. I would encourage all nurses to talk to their employer to see if they offer a Disability Policy. As a young person starting your career, you may think disability insurance is unnecessary. Disability insurance replaces your income if you cannot work due to a variety of circumstances, such as surgery or a car accident.
Say you are in a bad car accident and cannot work for an extended period. Disability insurance can prevent using large portions of a savings account if you are unable to work. Having a disability policy will provide income while you can’t work versus tapping into your savings account. There are many different disability policies out there, so you must do some homework to find the best one for you. There are many times life brings unprecedented hardship, and disability insurance can take some of the stress out of the financial losses of not being able to work.
I can speak from personal experience about the value of having disability insurance. "When I was 60, I was diagnosed with a Brain Tumor. It was not clear that I would live, but thankfully I got good treatment and survived. My husband was my advocate and talked to my employer as I could not come back to work. He asked how to activate the disability policy that I had with the company. My employer activated the policy - it was a godsend as it paid our bills and gave me the time to heal and adjust to my new normal. Don't think IT cannot happen to you….it can, and having that disability insurance will be the best decision you ever made if an unexpected event occurs.
Suppose you or a family member don't have a disability policy, but you find yourself in a situation where you cannot work. There is Social Security Disability, but it can be a challenge, especially when many other pressing things are happening.
Many nurses think their employer covers them for malpractice insurance. Most nurses are generally covered, are - but if an event occurs where your employer feels you did not follow a policy or thinks you went beyond your scope of practice, you could be left out to defend yourself. Nurses should understand this and consider maintaining malpractice insurance. Having your own Malpractice Insurance is something every nurse should invest in.
Prepare For Your Retirement
As retirement comes closer into view, start thinking about what you will do in your retirement. As a nurse, you have many skills that arm you with plenty of possibilities. The most important thing is to do something that brings you purpose and joy.
The bottom line is that with some planning, saving, and investing, you can have a great career that will help you build a comfortable retirement. Start saving for retirement today!