The Travel Nurse Retirement Plan


With a travel nurse career, it’s easy to think that you’ve already retired. You’re traveling, enjoying the scenery, and exploring the nation while many are sitting at home. However, most of us in the industry know that even though travel nursing has its perks, it’s still an extremely tough job. That’s why it’s so important to have a travel nurse retirement plan. While some will opt to continue travel nursing during retirement, others simply want to rest and relax during the next stage in life. We here at Travel Nurse Source aren’t financial advisors, but we hope this travel nurse retirement plan will let you enjoy life without working.

The Travel Nurse Retirement Plan

Know Your 401K Options

One of the biggest issues that travel nurses will come across is setting up a 401K. Since you’ll often be traveling and working for a variety of companies, it can be tough to organize a 401K. Since you’re not technically a full-time employee, the company might not offer a plan to invest in. Luckily, there are a handful of other options for your travel nurse retirement plan that you can explore. Here are just a few things to consider.

Company Contribution

If you are lucky enough to find an employer that offers its own 401K, make sure to do some research on the amount that they’d be willing to contribute to the plan. 401K Plans allow both the employer and employee to make contributions for the benefit of the employee. The employer’s contribution is called a “defined contribution” or a “match.”  This means that for every dollar that you contribute, they might offer to match it up to $500.

travel nurse retirement plan

Vesting Periods

This is also something to consider for your travel nurse retirement plan. While a company may offer to match your 401K contributions, they may also have a vesting period. A vesting period is an amount of time that you must work for the employer before they are willing to match your own 401K contributions.

Tax Deferred

When you begin your travel nurse retirement plan, you’ll also want to consider whether or not you want the “tax deferred” benefit. Tax-deferred means that you don’t pay income taxes on the money now. However, you do pay income taxes on the money when you withdraw it. This is something to consider. If you can afford to have taxes taken out now, you won’t have to deal with it later in life.

Use Recruiters As a Resource

Building a good relationship with your recruiter can help you land a great assignment. They can also help with your travel nurse retirement plan as well! Recruiters can often do the research for you to find out whether or not they offer a retirement plan and what benefits they have to offer. Your recruiters can even look for specific assignments and companies so you can ensure that you have a travel nurse retirement plan in place.

How Do I Manage Multiple Retirement Accounts?

If you’re bouncing around to different assignments, managing your travel nurse retirement plan might get a little tricky. Luckily, there are a few different ways that you organize multiple retirement accounts.

Transfer into a new 401K – If your plans allow this type of transfer, you might want to move the money all into the 401K plan of your current employer. From a tax perspective, the tax law encourages transfers between companies and these types of plans. You will not owe any current income tax. Also, all your old plan money can continue to grow until you begin income from this plan in retirement. This should only be done if you plan on remaining with that employer until you retire. If not, you’ll be in the same situation all over again.

Transfer to a Traditional IRA – This is often the most used choice when implementing a travel nurse retirement plan. One of the easiest ways to consolidate multiple retirement accounts is to have them transferred to a personal IRA account. This will often make the most sense since an IRA is your own personal account and it stays with you no matter where you end up working.

Cash Out – While we usually don’t recommend this option, cashing out is something that some travel nurses might opt to do. You can cash out the account, pay tax and potentially penalty on the distribution and then take that after-tax money and invest it or spend it. Many travel nurses will choose this because it’s the easiest way to get his or her money quickly. However, you will incur penalties and will be left without any retirement savings.

If you have any other travel nurse retirement plan tips, feel free to comment below! Also, if you’re looking for a great travel nurse assignment, feel free to explore the thousands of jobs we have to offer!

Author: Troy Diffenderfer

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