No matter where you are in your career path, retirement planning is something you need to think about.
From young nurses just starting out to nurses who will retire in the next year, retirement planning is a big issue. Preparing for an unknown future isn’t always the easiest task, so sometimes retirement planning gets pushed aside so nurses can deal with the here and now of student loans, mortgage or rent payments, transportation costs, and rising daily expenses.
Relegating retirement planning to the back burner is easier in the short-term, but will cause significant problems later. Taking steps now, even small changes, can have a positive impact on how prepared you’ll be for when you retire.
“Many nurses are unsure how much retirement savings is enough,” says Elliot Dole, CFP®, EA, AEP®, CExP™, CAP®, a Wealth Advisor with Buckingham Strategic Wealth. “It’s a scary question for anyone to face. Nurses take care of everyone else.”
Dole recommends that nurses get educated about the basics of retirement planning including the best ways to plan and how to use available resources to help retirement savings and investments grow. He also suggests that nurses use a professional for guidance, particularly at certain stages and even if it seems unfamiliar. “It can be intimidating to ask for help,” he says.
Being informed about your options is essential. In particular, find out as much as possible about any employer-provided retirement benefits. Then consider all the other options and choices you have to build up your retirement savings.
Successful retirement planning includes proactive steps like taking a whole financial strategy into play so you can find a target retirement amount that will help you live the life you want.
“Nurses cannot assume that retirement account contributions made by their employers will be sufficient to allow them to retire comfortably,” says Dole. “The default is to make some election, usually a percentage of salary, and hope that, along with any match or employer profit sharing contribution, is enough.” In fact, additional savings beyond a modest percentage of salary is often needed, he says. “The sooner this is identified, the better.”
Nurses, says Dole, may feel like they don’t have enough in savings to warrant professional advice. They also might be unhappy with their employer-provided options but don’t feel like they have a voice to prod any change, he says. Although employer-provided retirement options (like contributions and matching) are a great bonus, they shouldn’t be the only retirement plan you have. Branching out into additional platforms and options will protect your assets.