Here’s Why Every Travel Nurse Needs an Emergency Fund
How much money do you have available in savings right now? Is it enough to keep you afloat for the next couple of months? For travel nurses, this is an important question to ask — even if you have your next assignment already lined up. The unexpected can strike at any time, leaving you without a paycheck and a gap between assignments. In times like these, an emergency fund is critical.
Are you prepared for the unexpected?
Life has a habit of throwing curveballs when you least expect them. If you’re not prepared with some sort of safety net, you could struggle to get by. Having an emergency fund is one way to alleviate that potential.
An emergency fund is a sum of money that you save for unexpected expenses. You might use an emergency fund to cover the expense of car repair, medical bills, or loss of income. Rather than take out loans, rely on credit cards, or empty your everyday bank account, you can use the money in your emergency fund to carry you through.
The amount you should save in your emergency fund will really depend on your financial situation and unique needs you might have. Most people aim for a baseline fund of $500 to $1,000; however, it’s a smart idea to save enough to cover three to six months of living expenses.
Emergency funds for nurses
While everyone can benefit from an emergency fund, these types of financial safety nets are particularly useful for travel nurses. The travel nursing assignment schedule can create some level of uncertainty that nurses should be aware of and prepared for.
A few travel nursing-specific scenarios could leave nurses without work unexpectedly:
- A personal or family emergency could force you to end an assignment early.
- A low census situation could result in your contract being cancelled without warning.
- There might not be enough open positions in your specialty or desired location, leaving you unemployed for longer than you anticipated.
Having access to an emergency fund with enough money to cover living expenses for a few months can help tremendously in these situations. Your safety net will alleviate some of the panic and anxiety that comes with sudden unemployment, allowing you to live comfortably while you determine your next steps.
Tips for building an emergency fund
As simple as creating an emergency fund might sound, some people struggle to find a solution that works for them. If you’re just starting your fund, here are a few saving tips.
- Open a new savings account: Saving for something is easier when you have a dedicated account to direct money to. Open a new savings account specifically for your emergency fund — preferably one with a high interest rate.
- Make a savings plan: Create a plan for your emergency fund before you start saving. Determine your savings goal, then figure out how much you can reasonably save routinely. You might decide to save a set amount each week or put a percentage of your paycheck into the fund automatically.
- Save your change: If you get change when paying in cash, save it for your fund. All those small amounts can add up to a lot one day! There also are apps that do this by rounding up your expenses to the nearest dollar and stashing the “change” for you.
By planning for and saving an emergency fund, you’ll set yourself up for financial success and less stress down the road. Hopefully, you won’t need to use it — but it’ll be there if you do.