May 19, 2015

Half of nurses struggle with financial decisions

Daily Briefing

    A new survey from Fidelity finds that more than half of nurses feel unprepared to make significant financial decisions, and others lack adequate time to focus on financial matters.

    Nurses struggle with financial issues

    Marybeth Winklejohn, a family nurse practitioner, says nurses often feel financially unprepared because nursing programs do not usually include courses on business, personal finance, or economics. "Nurses might be at a disadvantage when it comes to making long-term investment and financial decisions," she told U.S. News & World Report's Kimberly Palmer.

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    Winklejohn's sentiments are echoed in the Fidelity survey of nearly 360 nurses, 56% of whom said they do not feel confident when making financial decisions and 40% of whom said they do not have time to think heavily about finances. Kerry Sweeney, vice president at Fidelity Investments, says, "They're so busy taking care of everyone else except themselves. We want to ask them to pause and make sure they're taking care of themselves."

    However, the report also found some positive news for nurses. For instance, 84% of nurses were saving for their futures and their average savings rate after accounting for employer matches was 12%. That savings rate is nearly on par with Fidelity's recommended rate of 15% and higher than the rate for most Americans, who have an average savings rate of 10.5%.

    In addition, Sweeney says nurses are "motivated to learn about financial planning."

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    How to prepare for the future

    To best prepare for their financial future, U.S. News urges nurses to:

    • Take advantage of workplace financial resources, like retirement accounts, matching benefits, and available seminars about money management;
    • Make saving for retirement a priority; and
    • Avoid taking out loans against your retirement (Palmer, U.S. News & World Report, 5/18).

    The takeaway: Many nurses feel unprepared to make big financial decisions, but taking advantage of workplace resources like matching benefits and seminars could help ease their financial anxiety.

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