When’s the last time you thought about your retirement finances? Busy nurses can’t be blamed if the answer is, “It’s been awhile.” But ignoring or paying little attention to your financial life before and during retirement will only shortchange you. Nurses, in particular, have situations such as per diem or travel contract work that can impact their savings and retirement plans. And for some nurses, talking about money is something entirely unfamiliar on a much larger level.
When Pablo Oliva, a wealth advisor with Northsight Wealth Management, LLC, was growing up, financial planning was not dinner-table conversation. “I am a first-generation immigrant, and we did not discuss money growing up,” he says. “Like many immigrant families, I did not learn about money until I started working in financial services in my early working years.”
Oliva says that he has a particular affinity for those who want to learn how to save for retirement and plan for life events, but who may not have an understanding of financial planning best practices. But someone without a complete understanding of financial tasks is still able to learn. Educating yourself about your financial standing is necessary, and getting help when you don’t understand something is essential. “After all, we all want to get to retirement and not have to worry about funding the following 20 to 40 years in retirement,” he says.
Starting conversations about finances can certainly feel awkward. “Growing up not talking about money allows me to empathize with others and help them open up about money,” says Oliva, who frequently advises nurses. “Seeking professional help for money-related issues should be second nature, such as visiting the dentist for a toothache or a mechanic for an oil change.”
No matter where you are in your career or in your retirement path, Oliva is optimistic about taking steps, any steps, toward a better future. “It is never too late to start,” he says, dispelling a common misconception. “I have often been told by individuals that they feel it is too late for them to start saving for retirement.” It’s true that the earlier you start, the more time you have to attain your long-term goals, says Oliva, but that doesn’t mean it’s ever too late to put money away.
Setting aside time is part of the process, so you can learn what tools and options are available to you. With long shifts and overtime, nurses often just want to enjoy the time off they have and don’t want to sort out a financial plan. But there’s lots on the table they also don’t want to let slip by including any options for matching or investing that their employer may offer. They also want to take advantage of their workplace benefits, which can include everything from financial advice to reimbursement for fitness costs.
And retirement planning is constantly changing based on life events or even global events. For instance, student loans have become front and center again because of recent changes. “Now that the COVID-19 federal student loan payment deferment has ended, most individuals will receive a higher payment than in pre-pandemic years, mainly due to higher earnings,” says Oliva.
As you think about your retirement plans and what actions you have taken or that you need to take, Oliva has some advice. “If you have not started saving for retirement, start today,” he says. “Most 401(k) or similar retirement plans offer a match component. Some employers still offer pensions and ancillary benefits such as a 401(k) student loan match.”
And if you decide to investigate anything that could impact your financial outlook, Oliva says caution should be your first reaction. “I recommend seeking a second opinion,” he says, “especially if something sounds too good to be true.”
A legal disclosure from Northsight for this interview: Investment advisory services are offered through Northsight Wealth Management, LLC (NSMW), a Registered Investment Advisor. Northsight Wealth Management, LLC will only provide investment advisory services in jurisdictions where it is registered as an investment adviser or exempt from registration. Insurance products and services are offered and sold through individually licensed and appointed insurance agents. NSWM does not provide legal or tax advice.