Plan Your Retirement with Ease: A Guide for Nurses

It’s never too early to start planning your retirement. If you’re a young nursing professional, not only can you benefit from the power of compound interest over decades, but you’ll also have the peace of mind of knowing you have a plan in place to ensure your needs are met in retirement. Additionally, you have the benefit of learning from other nurses who’ve retired early. However, if you’re starting retirement planning well into your career as a nurse, don’t be discouraged. With the right financial plan and an understanding of various nurse retirement lifestyles, you can still set yourself up for success. 

In this blog post, we’ll cover what you need to know about how to plan your nurse retirement with ease, from advice on nurse retirement savings to various options for nurse retirement lifestyles that may be of interest. If you’ve ever dreamed of retiring at the beach or the countryside, keep reading to learn how to make your dream nurse retirement a reality. 

Nurse Retirement Planning

piggy bank with people walking behind it

According to the American Nurses Association (ANA), the rate of retiring nurses is outpacing new entrants into nursing, which is one contributing factor to the nursing shortage in the US. Additionally, the ANA states that more than one-fifth of nurses—whose medium age is fifty-two—intend to retire in the next five years, with the pandemic accelerating this trend.

With a significant portion of nurses planning to retire before the standard retirement age of sixty-five, it’s essential to ensure your nurse retirement plan is rock-solid, as you may be working fewer years than your peers in other industries. 

As you plan for your retirement as a nurse, keep the following considerations in mind:

  • Lifestyle: What type of lifestyle are you aiming for in retirement, and how much will it cost?
  • Savings: What do your savings look like at the moment, and how can you ramp up if needed to retire by your ideal age?
  • Ideal retirement age: What age would you like to retire from nursing? Are you open to working a few extra years if needed or taking on part-time work to supplement your income during your retirement?
  • Healthcare costs: What are the costs of being insured in retirement? What other health costs do you anticipate which may not be covered by insurance?

Nurse Retirement Benefits and Nursing Retirement Funds

To plan for your retirement as a nurse, it’s essential to understand the purpose and differences between pensions, 401k and 403b, Roth IRAs, traditional IRAs, and an HSA. Below is an explanation of each to help you determine which may be most suitable for you: 

  • Pension: A pension is a guaranteed payment you receive after retirement, which is drawn from a lump sum of money that either you or your employer contribute to throughout your employment. As most employers deduct your pension contribution from your taxes, this can help you receive a tax break during your working years. 
  • Roth IRA: This is an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) you can contribute to, consisting of your after-tax dollars. With a Roth IRA, you can make contributions anytime and decide which kinds of investments you want to include, and if needed, you can also withdraw your funds at any time. 
  • Traditional IRA: A traditional Individual Retirement Account (IRA) is a tax-deferred account that you control, similar to a Roth IRA. However, the maximum contribution and withdrawal penalty differs between both retirement accounts. 
  • 401k and 403b: As part of an employment package, many employers match contributions to your 401k or 403b, which means as you save money for retirement, you effectively double your contributions. Unlike IRAs, you will have no control over the plan’s investments, and similarly to other retirement funding plans, you will face penalties for early withdrawals. 
  • Health Savings Accounts: Known as HSAs, Health Savings Accounts are a type of savings account that enables you to set aside money on a pre-tax basis to pay for health expenses, including co-pays, prescriptions, dental care, and more. 

To learn more about these options and determine which is most suitable for you, you can read retirement planning books to boost your knowledge and confidence. Additionally, you can book a meeting with a financial advisor through your bank, which is typically a free service. If you’re seeking unbiased advice and are willing to pay for it, look for a fee-only financial planner. Fee-only advisors will bill you for their time and advice, and unlike a financial planner at the bank, they do not sell commission-based products or receive referral fees. 

Nurse Retirement Lifestyle

two beach chairs

When planning your retirement, it’s essential to think of your ideal lifestyle. Here are some considerations:

  • Nurse Retirement Lifestyle
  • When it comes to your lifestyle—living situation, luxuries, hobbies, how you spend your time, where you live and travel—what do you envision for your retirement? Morgan Stanley created six profiles for retirement lifestyles—home hobbyists, entertainers, globetrotters, early birds, healthcare spenders, and average retirees—which you can refer to when planning your dream retirement lifestyle. 
  • Nurse Retirement Traveling
  • Ideally, how often would you like to travel? How much would each trip cost?
  • Would you like to retire in another city, town, or country entirely? 
  • What other costs associated with travel (such as visas, petsitters for any animals you own, etc.) do you need to consider? 

Final Thoughts on Nurse Retirement Savings

As you consider preparing for retirement, in addition to having a clear vision for your nurse retirement lifestyle, it’s essential that you have a plan for your retirement savings. While it can seem overwhelming learning about your various options, as with many tasks in life, getting started can help ease your anxiety. For many, the first step can be reaching out to a trusted financial advisor. 

If you’re early in your career and want to consider early retirement as a nurse, this is very much possible, and there is no shortage of other nurses who are planning to do the same and are sharing their journeys online. Regardless of your reasons for retiring early, from experiencing burnout as a nurse—which has been particularly heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic—to wanting to travel and enjoy more free time while you have the health and energy to do so, it’s entirely feasible if you’re willing to learn, make lifestyle adjustments, and stay on course with your plan.

Blog published on:
February 10, 2023

Meet Jacky, a contributing copywriter at Nursa who specializes in writing about nursing specialties, FAQs, and career advice.

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