Nursing – just a job or a vocation?

I recently came across an interesting thread on Reddit while searching for nurses and financial independence. The discussion was debating whether being a nurse or physician would provide a faster path to financial independence. It was an interesting read and even included a chart comparing salaries and the rate at which one could achieve a nice retirement nest egg.  But I felt like it missed the point. Becoming a medical professional of any kind is predicated on a desire to help. We deal with human suffering and have immense power to change someone’s life – that is fundamentally what draws us to this profession. (I will discuss elsewhere on this blog about my international humanitarian work and my ultimate decision to return to the states to “help at home”). Some may think that the only path to financial independence is a high-paying career, working long hours and side hustles right out of school, and living well below your means – and that is A strategy that works for FIRE. But I have had a varied career that strays from these principles, including volunteering and seeking positions in which I made half the salary of my peers because I believed in the mission of the work. Admittedly, I was younger and single at the time 😉 but I wouldn’t change a thing. I feel lucky to be able to have experienced both – meaningful work as a nurse and a salary which has ultimately allowed me to save enough to begin my journey to financial independence.

An important aspect of my personal life that wasn’t mentioned in the Reddit discussion, and seems to be frequently left out of conversations about FI, is the importance of my roll as a caregiver. This is a roll that many nurses share with me. Caregiving has been, and continues to be, an important part of my life – providing for my kids, caring for my parents, and having time to devote to good friends and family. It is a really hard juggle! However, FI will afford those of us those of us with multiple familial responsibilities many benefits. Being able to have time and financial freedom when thinking about a future that includes time for caregiving – and hopefully travel (!!) -makes me feel more secure about, and more determined about, this path.

Any thoughts? Please join the discussion below…

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