This week’s edition of the Traveler’s Guide to Nursing and Allied Health offers simple steps for money management and financial prosperity.
Responsible spending and dedicated saving are hallmarks of financial stability and prosperity, but should nursing and allied health travelers follow the rules or make their own in a volatile and uncertain economy?
In general, travel nursing and allied health pay well. According to a recent report from Vivian Health, the average weekly salary of a travel allied health professional was $2,420, and the average weekly travel nursing pay was $2,997, up 12 percent from July 2021. But just because your bank account is in the black doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be actively monitoring your finances. Make sure you’re practicing smart money management and setting up a successful financial future while taking care of your everyday needs. Here are some simple, quick, and effective steps travelers can take to ensure their financial health.
Bank accounts, credit cards, bills; figure out how much money you are making and where that money is going. It’s essential to establish a budget for expenses. Rent, mortgage, utilities, food, gas, insurance, are you living within, below, or above your means? Plus, not only is it important to keep up with your expenses for budgeting purposes, but it’s critical come tax time. If you’ve elected a tax home, you could save on non-taxable items. Need help? Check out the best budgeting apps, according to NerdWallet.
Savings and Debt
Popular financial advice often touts the virtues of living below your means and advocates paying off debt and putting aside a set amount of savings as soon as possible. Yale behavioral economist James Choi reasons that when starting your career, spending more and saving less makes more sense. In his new study “Popular Personal Financial Advice versus the Professors,” Choi points out many people take on debt when they’re first starting out and can afford to pay it off as they advance further in their careers. Likewise, with savings, you may not have any extra cash to put aside when you’re starting your first job and have large expenses such as furnishing your home or buying a car. Spend when you need to and save when you have excess.
Set up automatic deposits to pay bills, credit cards, and contribute to your 401k and savings. Paper bills can get lost, especially when you’re venturing to a new city every 13 weeks. Plus, many companies offer incentives for “going green.” By automating, your finances are taken care of whether you remember or not.
Set Financial Goals
If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never get there. Once you have determined your expenses and have developed a monthly budget, set your financial goals. Are you saving for a new car or a home? How often do you want to work, or when do you want to retire? Set your goals to know what steps you need to take to achieve them.
Take advantage of 401(k)
It’s free money. MedPro matches a quarter percent of each 1 percent an employee contributes to their 401(k), all the way up to 4 percent of an employee’s contribution. Employees may contribute up to 15 percent of their earnings. If you’re not enrolled, reach out to your Placement Guide, and ask how you can start saving and earning.
After years of record-breaking gains, the Dow Jones has officially entered a bear market, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article. However, with stock prices below their averages, it’s a perfect time to buy. Most financial advisors concur; invest most of your money in stocks when you’re young and transition to bonds as you get closer to retirement. Stocks are risky in the short run but earn higher returns over the long run.
Keep an Emergency Fund
Among the many lessons learned during the pandemic, maybe the most glaring is that “anything can happen.” Be prepared. Car repairs, unexpected sickness or injury, home repairs, a job gap, put money aside so you can address a financial challenge without going into debilitating debt.
Where you work, when you work, how many hours you work, all these variables impact how much you bring home every paycheck. Metropolitan locations such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York usually pay better.
Another option is taking less-desirable shifts such as weekends, holidays, and nights. Some specialties, such as CRNAs, nurse practitioners, ICU and ER nurses, pay better than others. Advanced degrees, certifications, and experience lead to higher wages.