You’ll never hear the words ‘nurse’ and ‘get rich quick’ in the same sentence. As a nurse, you know how physically and emotionally challenging your profession can be. But it’s also very rewarding, isn’t it?
Nurses enjoy more emotional and spiritual rewards than just about any other occupation.
And your financial compensation for all that hard work is favorable, which is as it should be considering all the demands placed on you.
So can nurses become millionaires? Yes. Many nurses can become millionaires by following some simple steps. For starters increasing their income, managing their expenses and saving/ investing some of their money. It’s not easy (otherwise everybody would be millionaires) but it is doable.
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The good news about that compensation is this-if you’re currently a nurse, or you see nursing on your horizon, that horizon is brighter than ever.
Today, the median salary of registered nurses ranks in the top 36 highest paying professions at around $62,000 per year, with nurse practitioners and nurse midwives in the top 12, at about $90,000 (source).
And nurse anesthetists rank #5 at $140,000!
These are good earned wages to work with if you want to be financially independent someday. But can nurses become millionaires? Even better news-if you play it smart, you most definitely can!
Two of the most valuable life lessons you learn as a nurse are how to plan and how to discipline yourself. You just can’t be a nurse without these traits.
And this is precisely why nurses—probably more than most other professions—can become millionaires-it’s because you know how to have self-control, which is vital in personal financial planning.
Additionally, you know how to come up with a workable plan and stick to it. If you’re a nurse who’s looking toward becoming a millionaire someday, you don’t have to throw away money on lottery tickets.
The following are six steps you can take to fulfilling your own personal millionaire dream.
1) Start early—and if you did not start early, start now
Notice we did not use the words ‘as soon as possible’ here. This is because ‘as soon as possible’ is a someday concept. You must not start someday; you must start now.
The following steps are not foolproof, but if you follow them, you will have a much greater chance of fulfilling your dream of financial independence. But, again, you must follow them—diligently, systematically, routinely.
Sit down and develop a plan; create a budget and stick to it; get more education if you can; abandon the idea of using credit cards; and save and invest from every paycheck.
And, by all means, make sure your plan is a realistic one. It can have a little sting to it. After all, you likely will not be able to spend as much on fun and frivolity as you would prefer.
However, your plan should not be so outrageously ambitious that you know in your heart of hearts you will not follow it.
2) Develop a plan—and put it in writing
Nurses who have written financial plans are far more likely to follow them and achieve their millionaire dreams. According to a recent article in Forbes Magazine, writing down your goals is ‘strongly associated with goal success (source).’
Seeing your goals right in front of you every day, crossing them off your list, rearranging, rethinking, and re-strategizing will make it far easier for you to progress forward. It also has a way of making you focus both on what you’re doing today as well as where you’re headed.
Writing down your goals to achieve millionaire status means putting your financial situation on paper. Figure out how much money you make vs. how much money you need to spend.
Notice we said ‘need to’ spend—not want to spend or want to buy, etc. Nurses make good money, but like everyone, they also have a lot of expenses.
Figure all those necessary expenses compared to how much you earn, and then figure your ‘disposable income.’ At this point, you’ll need to decide what things to do with that disposable income and what’s most important to you.
Is being a millionaire at a point in the future more important than watching all your favorite channels or buying the next designer handbag? What you do with your disposable income will make or break your millionaire dreams.
Make an honest budget for yourself and follow it.
3) Budget—that’s right—budget
Code blue! There’s that word-budget! Okay, it’s a word no one likes, but everyone should do it. As we’ve already established, nurses are disciplined. They’re perhaps the most disciplined of all occupations.
After all, nurses have 16 hours’ worth of work to do in a 12-hour day; discipline must be every nurse’s middle name!
In her book, All Your Worth, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts promoted the 50/30/20 budgeting rule (source). The 50/30/20 rule means to allocate 50% of your income to needs, 30% to wants, and 20% to savings (source).
But even better, nurses–if you’re planning on becoming a millionaire someday, consider taking that 20% figure a bit further—to, say, 25%? And since nurses are so disciplined, you won’t have any trouble making this happen!
To create a budget, follow these steps:
A. Calculate income of all your jobs. Because nurses often work in multiple hospitals, practices, or businesses at one point in time, it’s incumbent upon them to compute the total of all those incomes before creating a budget.
After all, you need to know exactly how much you have to work with before you continue.
B. Determine your monthly expenses. At this stage of getting your plan on paper, consider the ‘pay yourself first’ method (source).
Have a designated amount automatically sent to your savings, 401K, etc., and then add up all your needs, such as mortgage/rent, car payment, etc.
If you have that amount automatically taken out of your paycheck and redirected to your savings, you will eventually get used to living without it.
C. Set a realistic goal for paying off all debt. You must pay off debts in order to have more disposable income with which to save and invest for the future.
D. Keep detailed records of each and every financial transaction. Consider your financial plan as your own business.
No business would pay bills without keeping detailed records, and no business would purchase an item in a store without saving a receipt and logging it into a ledger.
Having it in a ledger will show you what you’re doing right and what needs improvement.
E. Be honest with yourself and be realistic.
4) Education—the higher, the better
All nurses may be created equal, but not all nursing professions are paid equally. RNs make more than LPNs. As stated above, nurse practitioners and nurse midwives make more than RNs.
Psychiatric nurse practitioners tend to make more than general nurse practitioners. And nurse anesthetists are among the highest paid professionals in the country.
The point here is clear—get more education. If you’re an LPN, go for your RN. If you’re an RN, go for your MSN. If you have an MSN under your belt, consider one of the nursing specialties that will move you up the ladder and get you a higher salary.
5) Credit is a six-letter four-letter word
Don’t get into debt—if you’re already in, get out. Getting out of debt is so vital to financial planning that self-made billionaire Mark Cuban flat-out says he doesn’t believe in getting into debt, not even to start your own business (source).
And the reason is simple. Cuban states, “If you take a loan, you’re no longer the boss.” So, nurses, whether or not you’re a charge nurse, you must take charge of your money! Get out of debt and stay there!
6) Save and invest
Paying yourself first isn’t just about routinely putting a portion of your paycheck into a savings account; it’s also about investing. Investing may sound risky, but the truth is that it’s the most sound means of growing wealth.
And, nurses, if you want to be millionaires, you’ll have to start making your money work for you. However, investing can be daunting. Do you start an IRA or a 401K, and what’s the difference anyway?
If you’re intimidated by the concept of investing, consider reaching out for help at work.
Nurses often work for companies that have perks such as free employee assistance programs with professionals who can help you navigate the investment world and decide which investments would work best for your situation in order to progress toward your goal of being a millionaire.
Ask your HR rep for more information. If you don’t work for a company that has this perk, consider visiting a financial planner or spend some time researching on the internet.
Everything you do that will advance you toward your goal of being a millionaire will be time well spent.
These might seem daunting, but they’re doable. Let’s recap a bit of what we talked about.
- Figure out what you need to do to make more money.
- Figure out what your household income is.
- Make a budget.
- Automate as much as you can. Automate your savings, so 5, 10, 15% or whatever you decide is put into savings or investments without you having to think about or do anything.
- Keep learning.
Keep learning is important and to help you out I’ve put together some of the books I’ve read and have found helpful in my financial journey…
Helpful Financial Resources for Nurses
The Millionaire Next Door
For starters, let’s begin with The Millionaire Next Door (on Amazon.com) by William D. Danko and Thomas J. Stanley.
This book details how the average American millionaire isn’t walking around in the nicest car in the world or dressed in the most expensive clothes.
No. Instead they could be the “average” looking person wearing blue jeans standing in line behind you at the grocery store.
This book is nice because in a way it resets expectations on what a millionaire should be. And it also changes this notion that millionaire status is unattainable.
The Total Money Makeover
You can also check out some of these other Dave Ramsey books.