Travel nurses take on various positions throughout the year at different times and locations.
Every new position varies in pay, cost of living, and time off between assignments. While this kind of schedule can result in a life of adventure, such flexibility and change can make it challenging to manage your personal finances and achieve your monetary goals.
Travel nurses can achieve a comfortable financial situation they are happy with, build their retirement savings, and follow a solid financial plan! Here are some financial milestones you can set for yourself throughout your future, along with some finance tips on getting there.
Financial Milestones by Age
Financial Milestones in Your Twenties
When starting your new career as a travel nurse, it can be hard to know what goals you should set. Start thinking about some monetary goals you’d like to reach and start developing a financial plan for yourself!
Determine Your Financial Goals
The first step in financial planning is determining your goals and what is important to you.
Maybe you’d like to take a vacation between contracts, or perhaps you hope to save enough money down the road to be financially independent. This can be difficult at first, especially if you have a lot of expenses on your own to take care of, like car payments, rent, utilities, phone bills, and groceries. However, setting these goals can help you create a plan to achieve them!
If you don’t know where to start, you can talk to financial advisors to help you determine some practical goals and steps to reach them!
Prepare for Unexpected Expenses with an Emergency Fund
Life comes at you quickly, sometimes in the most unexpected ways. Knowing that you have enough money in your bank account to handle these unpredictable events can help you financially and mentally. Building an emergency fund can help ensure you can cover any expenses due to unforeseen circumstances, such as getting laid off or having to break your contract. This action will help you avoid taking on any unwanted debt.
There may be a time in your life when you find yourself in between travel nursing jobs and need to support yourself until your next contract. There’s no “perfect” emergency fund, as it all depends on your financial state, needs, and monthly expenses. The more you’re able to contribute, the better, but it’s vital to prioritize what best suits you currently.
Start Your Retirement Accounts
One of the most common financial goals among 20-year-olds is to start saving for retirement. This directly ties into your retirement goal and what age you prefer to retire by.
Be sure to dive deeply into when you’d exactly like to retire and what your company’s 401(k) policy is like. This means taking advantage of your company’s retirement plans, setting aside a portion of your income each period, and investing correctly for your age.
If you don’t want to set aside too much of your monthly income, saving the minimum amount is an excellent opportunity to put aside some cash for your future. Your employer may even have a competitive 401(k) matching plan that would be beneficial to look into.
Financial Milestones in Your Thirties
Your thirties are significant years for financial milestones, especially if you’ve set high goals for yourself. You’re more settled than you were in your 20s and have probably acclimated to spending and saving habits as a travel nurse.
Build a Nest Egg in Your Savings Account
The typical standard is to save at least a year’s worth of income in your thirties to serve as a nice nest egg in case you need it. This can also go toward big purchases you’ve planned for the future and give you something to fall back on.
Buy Your First Home
Buying your first home is an attainable goal for you to hit in your thirties. This takes a good amount of pre-planning, and hopefully, you set yourself up well enough in your 20s to prepare for this next big moment by saving enough for a reasonable down payment.
There are many financial factors in the home buying process, such as looking into the correct credit score necessary to buy a house, knowing how much the down payment would be, and finding out how long it takes to get preapproved for a mortgage.
Some of these processes take a long time to finalize, as they need to analyze your credit score, assets, and income to see what type of loan you qualify for. Even though traveling as a nurse requires ample time away from home, owning a house is a great way to invest. Consider renting out your home or a part of your home as a short-term rental when you’re away on contract. You can also make extra money to pay your mortgage each month.
Pay Off Your Student Loans And Credit Card Debt
Paying off your student loans is a great goal to set for yourself during this time in your life. Even if you’ve set up a 10-year repayment plan, this is a big feat to follow through with.
Look at your estimated monthly payment for your student loan debt and see if your monthly budget will allow you to pay a little more than your minimum payment. This way, you can lower your loans a lot faster.
Keep in mind how much you need to pay each month toward your loans and input that within your monthly spending budget. You will want to remember this when signing a new contract with different pay. You’ll have to take care of new expenses in your new location, so budgeting for them and paying back your loans is essential.
Pay off Credit Card Debt
In your thirties, you should have more savings under your belt. This safety net might allow you to start to make a dent in your credit card debt. Make more than the monthly payment to be debt free faster.
This gives you financial freedom in case anything were to happen with the availability of travel nursing jobs and will be helpful if any unforeseen circumstances were to occur personally.
Financial Milestones in Your Forties
As your 40s come around, you might be able to take on more specialized travel nursing assignments, enjoy more time off between positions, or maintain a more flexible schedule that keeps you closer to home. Plus, you might even have kids to take care of simultaneously!
There are plenty of tips and tricks available for local travel nurses to ensure you’re making the most out of your experience while also being able to spend time at home.
Teach Your Children about Financial Planning
If you have children, your goals most likely include them as well. You’ll want to ensure you have a college fund set up for them by this time, whether it’s a few thousand dollars to help them pay off debt when the time comes or money to put toward their tuition bills when they start college.
Set your children up for success by teaching them how to manage their spending habits, open a savings account, and impress upon them how important financial responsibility is.
Keep Building Your Savings Account
At this time in your life, you’ll also have years of saving under your belt to help build onto your emergency fund to increase the amount saved. By now, you’ll have wanted to save at least three times your income to keep on track toward your retirement goals for your late sixties. Don’t worry; this doesn’t have to just come from cash savings from your paychecks but can be combined with 401 (k) earnings and any investments you have.
Financial Milestones in Your Fifties
This is when your mind is constantly thinking of retirement plans and your future. You want to ensure you’ve hit your goal retirement fund and have followed all the terms necessary to use your retirement funds or start saving additional money if possible. At this point, you should be well acquainted with your company’s retirement policies and benefits.
Determine How to Care for Aging Parents
In your fifties, this is when you should be prepared to discuss or start saving for your parent’s care if necessary. Begin the conversation about where they’d like live when the time comes, whether in your care or at a facility. This will allow you to know how much money you should contribute to their care if they don’t have a fund.
Build Your Savings Account and Retirement Savings
Another milestone to hit is to have saved six times your yearly income. As your savings and investments have become more complex, you may want to enlist a financial advisor.
Working with strong financial advisors can help you better understand your personal finance needs and manage them accordingly.
You should meet with your financial advisor at least once a year to discuss your investment performance, your Roth IRA, your budget, and if there are any financial goals you desire to achieve, perhaps more depending on your investment portfolio. They can also help your financial planning to be digestible in a way you can understand.
Financial Milestones in Your Sixties
Retirement is approaching in your 60s, and you’ve spent years achieving some of your financial milestones.
Pay Off the Rest of Your Debt
Now is when you should pay off your mortgage and any home loans.
If it’s not paid off yet, but it’s about to be. You can increase your monthly payments to ensure it’s paid off before you retire. Take advantage of your paychecks before retirement, make payments on your other debts, or make some last-minute additions to your savings.
Look into Retirement Communities
This is the time to look into retirement communities and properties and begin to plan to transition into retirement life. Check out retirement facilities, vacation homes, or downsizing options to see what fits your budget and lifestyle.
Confirm with your partner that you’ve both hit your financial goals and are in an excellent position to make this new purchase and life change together.
Reaching Your Financial Milestones is Possible!
Achieving your financial milestones takes a lot of dedication and hard work. By keeping these steps in mind, you’ll be on your way to financial security.
Sticking to your goals, large or small, creating a budget, and doing substantial financial research in your varying stages of life is a great way to start setting your financial future up for success as a travel nurse.