8 Financial Planning Tips For Nurses

“Nurses have an innate level of caring about others that is hard to match, which I’ve seen firsthand with my sister being a nurse,” shares Jacob Merk, CFP, CPA and Associate Financial Consultant with Provident.  “She’s continually putting others first, making sure their needs and concerns are met.  However, she sometimes neglects her own well-being and financial health along the way.  With that in mind, I’ve created a list of some important financial considerations that could benefit nurses when they’re planning for their financial future and retirement plans.


Review your employer’s retirement plan closely.  Make sure to review your employer retirement plan, typically a 403(b) plan, each year to ensure two things.  First, that you’re maximizing the benefits, meaning you are contributing, at minimum, your employer’s contribution match.  If you’ve received a raise in the last year, you may be able to increase your contribution, even if it’s just by a percentage point or two.  Secondly, make sure that your plan is aligned with your current risk tolerance.  Typically people have more aggressive investments when they’re just starting out, but it’s important to monitor that and become more conservative as you near retirement age.  

Establish an emergency fund.  While nurses typically enjoy a higher level of job security, part of my job is planning for life’s “what-ifs”.  It’s important to have an emergency fund of six months of necessary expenses in case you were unable to work for a period of time.

Make yourself a priority.  Set aside some “you” money, too.  Planning for the future is important, but you don’t want to miss out on the here and now either.  Going out to eat once a month or paying for a weekly exercise class likely won’t break the bank for you.  Just be mindful of your monthly budget and bills.

Schedule a yearly financial check-up with your financial advisor.  If you don’t have a financial advisor, it’s important to connect with someone you feel that you can build a positive relationship with for years to come.  I understand that a nurse’s schedule is busy, and finding the time to sit down with your financial advisor once a year can seem like a burden.  However, just like you recommend that your patients have annual check-ups with their doctor, taking an annual look at your finances is beneficial for your present and long-term planning.  After all, you don’t want to be the patient who self-diagnoses themselves on the internet.

Check your credit score each year.  With all of the data and security breaches occurring, it’s wise to review your credit report at least once a year to ensure it hasn’t been compromised in any way.  You do get a free annual check at each of the three credit bureaus.  You’ll also want to review your statements each month to make sure they’re accurate.

Enroll in a Health Savings Account (HSA) program.  If your employer offers an HSA program, it’s wise to take advantage of it.  It’s known as the “triple crown of tax benefits” and you can read more about HSAs here.

Consider refinancing your student loans.  I know your nursing degree wasn’t cheap because I know how much my sister had to pay.  Refinancing your student loans is something you’ll want to look into closely, because while it could be quite beneficial, it could also compromise the benefits of the types of loans you may have.  For instance, some student loans come with a loan forgiveness program if you work at a nonprofit organization for ten years. 

Don’t borrow from your retirement account.  That account is there for a reason, and while you may be in a pinch now, you’ll be in a bigger pinch if you start depleting the money reserved for when you’re retired.  Borrowing against your retirement account could potentially result in tax consequences as well.” 

If you’ve found these tips helpful and would like to schedule a consultation with Jacob to discuss your financial planning needs, please call 920-230-6898.