Many nurses aren’t happy with their current jobs and find themselves in stressful situations. Others feel pushed out by their employers because of vaccine mandates and some are simply at retirement age.
In fact, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing survey, half of RN’s are 50 years or older.
However, retiring right away might not be a workable choice for every nurse. Sudden retirement could lead to an even worse situation if you haven’t planned ahead.
In this article, we are going to discuss some critical factors that nurses should consider when thinking about taking retirement:
- Assess your financial health
- Estimate your nursing retirement benefits
- Explore advanced nursing career opportunities
- Post-retirement nursing jobs
Assess your financial health
Assessing your financial health gives you the information you need to make so taking early retirement won’t backfire on you.
Whether you are planning to retire and relax (emoji) or transition to a new career, you need to ensure you are ready for this kind of move. This is done by evaluating your finances.
Follow these steps to assess your current financial health:
1. Determine your gross income
Your gross income represents your total salary and earnings.This information is usually given with your monthly paycheck.
2. Calculate your net income
Most net income is determined for you. This is your take-home pay less taxes and other deductions (HSA, 401(k), dues, etc.). This is the amount on your paycheck.
If this is not provided, you can figure out your net income. Calculate the difference between your current gross income and the total expenses against it (pre-tax deductions).
You should calculate your net worth for at least 12 months in order to determine what you will need annually.
3. Estimate your total monthly expenses
Estimate your monthly expenses by adding up your fixed payments and flexible expenses.
Rent, insurance, and loan installments are some common examples of fixed payments.
Flexible expenses include things like credit card payments, food expenses, and the cost of recreational activities. These tend to vary every month which is why they are referred to as flexible expenses.
What to do next?
If the difference between your annual income and expenses is a positive number, then you may want to go ahead with pursuing a nursing retirement plan.
However, don’t forget to evaluate your cash savings and retirement benefits mindfully before leaving the nursing profession permanently. You may also be hit with penalties if you take out retirement funds early.
You shouldn’t decide to retire immediately if the difference between your net income and expenses remains negative for multiple months.
Estimate your nursing retirement benefits
Assessing your current financial health is merely a part of a workable nursing retirement plan.
In addition to your current finances, you should also estimate retirement benefits offered by your employer, including pension, 401(k), and 403(b).
Furthermore, your individual plans such as IRA, HSA, and personal savings could also come in handy when managing your post-retirement finances. But there’s good news. It’s never too late to start saving for your future if you haven’t begun investing in retirement plan yet.
Here’s a brief summary of some popular retirement plans:
401(k) and 403(b)
These retirement plans are a complementary package with most nursing jobs. Your employer automatically deducts monthly installments from your gross salary.
You will have to pay a penalty if you take an early retirement or decide to withdraw your 401(k) or 403(b) money before your retirement age.
A pension is a savings fund that your employer pays into over the length of your career with them. You don’t have to pay into a pension – this is solely the employer’s responsibility.
When you retire, the pension is paid out on a monthly basis.
Individual retirement account
An individual retirement account (IRA) is a savings account that allows you to save money for your post-retirement life.
An IRA gives you certain tax advantages and is governed by your bank instead of your employer.
Health savings account
A health savings account (HSA) is used to pay for qualified healthcare expenses.
This offers you certain tax advantages. You can use it to cover expenses such as copayments, deductibles, and coinsurance. But this is only available if you have a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP).
Social Security benefits
Explore advanced nursing career opportunities
If you’re a nurse considering retirement, but your salary isn’t high enough, you can try to enhance your nursing skill set and explore better career opportunities.
Advanced specialties receive the highest-paying nursing jobs. These include careers as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, Nursing Administrator, Nurse Practitioner, Certified Nurse-Midwife, Nurse Instructor, and other advanced practice nursing roles.
Moving to a new region may be another option. Average nurse salaries vary significantly in different regions of the country. Finding a nurse job in a higher-paying region might be a good idea.
Remember to factor in the cost-of-living differences between regions in order to make a better-informed decision. Confusing? We can also put you in touch with nurses just like you for career advice.
Expert advice from nurses like you
Post-retirement nursing jobs
The idea of life after retirement varies from person to person. Some people have been planning to fill their post-retirement life with fun activities for years.
Others don’t plan for life after retirement and find themselves easily bored. Some wish to go back to work and get back to a routine.
There is good news. We have some exciting job suggestions for retired nurses such as a freelance nursing writer, nurse educator or teacher, nursing licensure exams reviewer, nurse bill auditor, and more!
Wrap Up: nurses considering retirement have a lot to think about
Leaving your current career is never an easy decision and should not be taken lightly, especially if you are considering retirement. However, if you plan ahead, it can certainly be a great option.
If you’re looking to move on from your current employer but stay in the nursing field, consider signing up with Incredible Health.
We can help connect you with new potential employers so you can start getting the most out of your nursing career.
Tired of applying for nursing jobs?
With Incredible Health, hospitals apply to YOU.
“Evaluating Your Finances.” practicalmoneyskills.com. Accessed Jan 28. 2022.
“Frequently Asked Questions.” ssa.org. Accessed Jan 28. 2022.
“How Much Will You Get from Social Security.” usnews.com. Accessed Jan 28. 2022.
“Life After Retiring as a Nurse.” diversitynursing.com. Accessed Jan 28. 2022.
“What is Full Retirement Age?” ssa.org. Accessed Jan. 31, 2022.