Nursing and Finances

It has become a social stigma that nurses make a lot of money. As a nurse, I am often curious about the definition of ” lots of money” because I am still hoping to reach that goal after eleven years of nursing. Nursing salaries vary across the United Sates because cost of living depends on geographic location or the state. I live in the Washington DC metropolitan area which is one of the biggest metropolitan area in the United States. Therefore, cost of living is higher in comparison to other states along with housing.

The minimum wage in Washington, DC is $14 and $10.00 in Maryland with expectation to increase to $15 by 2025. It is very common for Maryland residents to seek employment in Washington,DC due the proximity of both states. The average nursing salary in Maryland is $75,250.00, and the median housing cost in Silver Spring, MD is $ 407,900. 00. It is very expensive to live in the DMV ( DC, Maryland & Virginia) area , so I learned to follow household financial goals to avoid being influenced by social expectations.

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Personal Finances

Financial management is not part of the nursing program. Therefore, nursing students do not learn how to manage their finances following graduation. Unfortunately, nursing students are often encouraged to take student loans because the nursing shortage enables nurses to acquire employment shortly after graduation in the DMV area. By the time most new graduate nurses obtain their first job, a loan payment is often due within six months.

I started paying my student loans as soon as began working. However, I realized that It will take me many years to pay the balance off. I decided to increase the payment, so I can be bad debt free soon. My biggest advice is to pay off student loans before buying any car or a house. I learned from my mistakes. It is so much easier to pay off student loans in a year or two based on your salary. I highly suggest that you rent a room, a basement or return to your parents’ house while paying off consumer debt. You will save so much more money if you are able to live a low key life for a few years.

Eliminate Bad Debt

It took me a few years to realize that buying consumer products with credit card was a bad idea unless I pay the balance off before the end of billing cycle. Credit cards can be useful for leveraging on investment deal when some type of return is guaranteed. I strongly recommend that you use cash when possible and save as much as you can to maximize your buying power. I started this bad debt free journey a few years ago, and it’s all worth it. As Dave Ramsey mentioned once, “ Nurses act your wage” Please do not be influenced by social stigma. It is smart to act cheap! I have been acting cheap lately and it feels so good.

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Lesson learned

Nobody cares what car you drive or what name brands your wear as long as you are happy. All watches will tell you the time ,and a decent car will facilitate transportation like any other car. Most rich and famous celebrities do not pay for their expensive and flashy items. They are often paid to display or promote the brands so average customer like me can buy the item full price. Stop the bleed! It is psychological manipulation of our emotion. Nurses, save your money and kindly decline expensive or grandiose festive because you are not irreplaceable. You work hard for your money, so avoid wasting in.

Maximize Your Wealth

First, you have to create a personal budget and follow it faithfully. It is important to save six months worth of your monthly expenses in case something happens to you. As a nurse, you should easily be able to invest 10% of you gross income in a retirement investment plan or sign up at your job if offered. I highly recommend that you save 20% for down payment on any mortgage loan to save on points and interest rate. I am truly speaking from past mistakes and personal experience. I accumulated bad debt at some point in my life and thought it was normal until I realized That I was digging my own hole. I eventually worked hard and paid off all consumer debt, and it feels so good.

Once you eliminate bad debt, you can save to invest and hope for some returns. You can invest in something that you feel comfortable with and that will be profitable. I like This quote from Warren Buffet “ do not test the water with both feet” so you should stratify your investment. In addition, It is preferable to hire a certified financial advisor when you ready to invest.

I suggest buying clothing and other households items during off season sales. I have been doing that for years, and that strategy has saved me a lot of money. You can also try brand names for less at other discounted stores or local factory outlet. For children three and below, I usually buy few items at a time and no more than 2 pair of shoes because they grow really fast. Lastly, use coupons to save extra bucks when possible.

Conclusion

I learned that I am the only person that can control my finances and that I should make good decision now to avoid struggling or financial hardships later in life. It feels good to pay off bad debt while increasing wealth. Personal finances should be taught in high school to promote awareness about financial crisis and hardship. Nurses, we should avoid living a life that only fulfills society’s expectations but rather live a bad debt free life in order to build generational wealth.

Sophia Georges MSN, RN

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