According to data collected by the ANA, nearly half of the RN workforce is age 50 or older.
But how many of you are ready for retirement?
In a study that surveyed 174 nurses, 71% of respondents planned to retire by age 60. But only 24% had completed adequate financial planning.
Don’t Stick Your Head in the Sand: Planning for RetirementClick the image to read the Nurses Retirement Decision-Making Guide from WiserWomen.org.
The Department of Labor offers helpful tips for retirement planning, including an in-depth planning worksheet, information about social security benefits, and ideas for taking control of your retirement plan. And here’s another guide, this one particular to nurses. It also never hurts to see a financial adviser, who can help you devise a more aggressive savings plan if you’re concerned that the numbers aren’t adding up.
Who am I? The Three-Quarter-Life Crisis
For nurses who have spent their entire working lives caring for others, you may struggle with a sense of changing identity. But there are a number of ways to redefine who you are as a nurse, even if you aren’t working in the clinical world.
- Stay involved: Just because you aren’t practicing in a clinical arena, doesn’t mean you can’t maintain a strong connection with the nursing profession. Continue working with nursing organizations and get involved in what’s going on behind the scenes. Or become involved in legislation, which can make a great impact on healthcare delivery as a whole.
- Volunteer: Volunteering allows you to give back to the community and continue your nursing legacy. Not sure what you want to do? Check out VolunteerMatch.org to find tons of opportunities in your area. You can search by keyword or browse volunteer positions by specialty area. Or if saying goodbye to the institution where you’ve worked for so many years is difficult to bear, look into volunteer opportunities within your organization. Maybe you don’t really have to leave after all!
- Mentor new nurses: There are so many new nurses out there who could use a kind, seasoned veteran to help them through that tumultuous first year. In fact, retired nurses are the perfect resource, because you’re no longer bogged down with endless clinical demands. Contact a local hospital or school of nursing to find out how you can mentor young nurses in need.
Need to Keep Working? Maybe it’s Time for a Change
Some of you would love to retire, but your financial reality says it’s not going to happen just yet. In response to the projections of a looming nursing shortage over the years due to baby boomer retirement, greater attention has been placed on ways to retain veteran nurses.
Career advice columnist Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, offers some great advice for experienced nurses who are looking for a change of pace.
Whatever your next step may be, keep thinking outside the box, reignite the passion, and believe in endless possibility!