With ever-changing employers, retirement savings often fall low on the priority list for travel nurses.
However, through dedication and savvy planning, you can still pursue retirement readiness despite the transient nature of contracts.
Start Saving Early and Consistently
Harness the immense power of compound growth:
- Start regularly contributing to retirement accounts immediately, even if initially in small amounts.
- Time enables even modest contributions to snowball into substantial savings when invested effectively.
- Every year delayed represents thousands of dollars of lost compounded growth.
Early, consistent investing drives exponential growth best leveraging market returns.
Maximize 401K Opportunities
Some agencies offer 401Ks with generous matching. Seize this free money by:
- Contributing enough to receive your employer’s maximum match percentage.
- Reviewing investment fund options annually and adjusting your allocations accordingly.
- Rolling over 401Ks from past employers into your newest plan to consolidate.
- Taking loans only as a last resort.
401K matching provides guaranteed 100% returns from day one when fully utilized.
Explore Individual Retirement Accounts
Beyond employer plans, IRAs allow supplemental savings:
- Traditional IRAs provide tax deductions now while Roth IRAs offer tax-free withdrawals later.
- IRAs offer virtually unlimited investment options for customized strategies.
- Contribute up to annual IRS limits across all your retirement accounts.
A diversity of retirement accounts enhances flexibility to meet your goals.
Automate for Consistency
Automating contributions enforces disciplined hands-off saving:
- Set up automatic monthly or per-paycheck transfers into all retirement accounts.
- Incrementally increase automated amounts annually or whenever you receive a pay boost.
- Out-of-sight, out-of-mind saving minimizes the temptation of tapping accounts.
Automatic investing on autopilot is proven to boost savings rates substantially.
Review and Rebalance Regularly
Although you can and should automate your savings and investments, you shouldn’t put your entire retirement savings plan on automatically and just “set it and forget it.” Instead, it’s smart to check in routinely, at least once a year, to see how your retirement money is doing.
An annual checkup ensures your strategy aligns with evolving needs:
- Reevaluate your target retirement age at least annually as life priorities shift.
- Rebalance account allocations back to desired ratios if certain assets have outperformed.
- Review fees, management expenses, and fund choices for cost-saving adjustments.
Consistent assessments keep your retirement plan progressing smoothly.
Retain Accessibility Between Contracts
You always want to have some funds that are liquid or readily available. “Liquid” refers to money that you can easily tap into, without having to pay fees or penalties and without having to sell anything.
While traveling, liquid savings bridge gaps between assignments:
- Keep a portion of savings in an easily accessible money market fund or high-interest online account rather than just retirement accounts.
- Build a liquid emergency fund covering 6 months of expenses as a reserve between contracts.
You won’t just automatically get to six months of savings. And that’s OK. Just work to build your savings little by little. Access to ready cash prevents tapping retirement funds and penalties.
Don’t allow the mobile nature of travel nursing to derail your retirement readiness.
Committing to consistent automated investing, maximizing employer plans, and reviewing allocations periodically ensures you continue progressing toward financial independence.
Patience and diligence today pay off tremendously later.