If you’ve just graduated from nursing school and you’re all pumped to join the cadre of nurses, personal finance may just be the last thing on your mind.
You’ve been preoccupied with memorizing all those complex medical terms that probably sound like a foreign language. And you’re ready to get out there and just do the job while also thinking that the money will take care of itself.
Personal finance for nurses
Nurses earn good salaries. You’re not wrong about that. However, a juicy paycheck doesn’t change the fact that you need to figure out your finances for the road ahead.
You might just damage your long-term financial well-being if you don’t tackle your student loans, stick to a budget and develop good money habits. Just like the consequences of an untreated medical problem, your financial situation won’t improve if ignored. In fact, it just might get worse.
So, here’s how you can keep a track record for financial wellness post-graduation and enter nursing in a solid place both in your career and your wallet.
Don’t go crazy with spending
Practice delaying instant gratification. We know that getting a salary post-graduation would be as good as winning a lottery, but it will serve in your best interest if you are mindful of your spending habits because if you don’t watch how much cash you’re dropping, you might just go broke in the blink of an eye.
All those cokes and lattes to get you through your shifts will add up. Ensure to account for fixed expenses first which makes it easier to budget and avoid letting emotions rule your wallet.
Pay off debts
If the joys of adulthood and earning have stopped you from remembering to pay off your debts, pause and consider how much money you would have each month if you didn’t have those debts.
It’s not uncommon for new nurses to have student loans, credit card debt, car payments and more. But not paying the minimum balance will cause your credit score to take a nosedive, making it hard to get a good rate on a mortgage or car loan later.
And it doesn’t stop there, if you default on paying the entire balance each month, you’ll be losing money at sky-high interest rates. While splurging immediately on a car or a new house seems like a good impulse, in the long run prioritizing paying off student loans or organizing your household budget would do you good.
Get hacking on a budget
After living a student life, having a regular salary can feel like a jackpot. But the secret ingredient to growing wealthy long term is “budgeting”.
A budget will help determine where your money will go on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. It’s more like telling your money what to do. Most people look at a budget and think it will hinder them from spending money, on the contrary, a budget is permitting yourself to spend money.
We all dread living paycheck to paycheck, and honestly just do yourself a favor and budget to avoid putting yourself in situations of stress and anxiety. Make a monthly budget and stay on the track that leads you to financial freedom.
Save an emergency fund
Now that you’ve learned to control instant gratification and pay off debts, what’s next in line is to set up an emergency fund. You never know when your car is going to break down or when a medical emergency will arise. In those instances, how will you pay for repairs? You are aware first-hand how expensive a medical emergency can get.
So, before you start investing or squirreling away your money into so-called financial goals, ensure to save six months’ worth of living expenses. Or even better, set up an automatic monthly transfer from your checking account into savings. That’s personal finance done right for nurses. Meanwhile, here are some investing tips for nurses.
Plan for retirement
Fewer and fewer nurses can count on pensions in their golden years. Saving for retirement solely lies on your hands and the earlier you start, the better. If your employer matches contributions to a retirement account, such as a 401(k), max out that benefit — it’s free money with less tax.
Post that, all you need to do is calculate how much you’ll need to save each year to live the retirement lifestyle you want. There is so much power in compound interest, the funds you put away now will pay off in spades later. So, press on towards your financial goals with a retirement account.
Handling personal finance isn’t just for math majors. Investing in your financial health after nursing school can make a big difference in your future. When your financial wellness is taken care of, you’ll be able to ensure the wellness of the people around you for years to come. And that’s the bottom line!