Career advice

Financial know-how for nurses: make your money work for you

Planning for retirement, or living week to week? Financial education lets you take control

Planning for retirement, or living week to week? Financial education lets you take control

Picture: Alamy

Financial education helps people to help themselves get out of debt and become financially independent.

But achieving financial independence requires discipline and knowledge, along with an understanding of how to make your money work as hard for you as you do to earn it.

What we don't learn about finances at school

Financial education is not mandatory in primary or secondary schools in the UK, or in higher education institutions. When we are young we are taught how to dissect frogs and all the different mathematical algorithms, but we are not taught how money works.

More for your money

The RCN Student Money Guide offers comprehensive advice on funding, housing, benefits and other money issues, including a checklist to help students ensure they are making the most of savings and help they are entitled to.

We don’t learn about financial concepts, such as saving and investment, and we are not taught that it is our finances that drive our standard of living and enable us to achieve our goals and dreams.

Many of us have goals and dreams that require a substantial amount of money that would take too long to accumulate at our present pace of income. 

This can render our goals and dreams unattainable, or if we do realise them, it is at great financial cost and means heavy debt for some. It also lends itself to very hard work throughout our lives.

Failure to plan ahead means some nurses cannot afford to retire

Nurses often do not plan sufficiently for their retirement. Some find that when they want to retire after working all their lives, they have to take on agency or bank shifts as they have not made any financial plans and cannot afford not to work.

It’s a scenario that’s not uncommon because we, as a society, do not receive any formal financial education.

In my experience as a nurse, death comes to families when they least expect it. If there has been no financial planning for the death, the sad reality is that it becomes a financial burden for the loved ones left behind.

It is human to live as if life will never end, but it is wise to make provisions for your death so that your loved ones can give you a good send off and not be left with any financial burden.

At RCNi Nursing Careers and Jobs Fair in Islington, north London, on 17 September, nurses can attend a financial education workshop to help get their personal plan on track, with information on planning for retirement and ensuring you are covered in the event of serious illness or injury.

What’s covered in a financial education workshop for nurses?

Protection for you and your family

This is a basic need. We explain the benefits of life and funeral cover, as well as serious illness cover. I have met many nurses at RCNi Nursing Careers and Jobs Fairs who are looking for alternate work after taking ill health retirement due to an injury at work or out of work. Without serious illness cover, they can find themselves struggling financially.

Staying healthy

You can pay a lot less in life cover, live longer and also benefit from rewards and discounts by staying healthy.

Debt stacking

Tips for how you can get rid of debt, one debt at a time, leading to financial freedom.

Mortgage acceleration

How to become mortgage free 8-12 years sooner than initially expected, without paying a penny more.

Complimentary financial game plan

This usually costs a substantial amount if carried out by a financial house, but will be offered free on day one of the two-day RCNi Nursing Careers and Jobs Fair in Islington, north London, on 17-18 September. The financial game plan acts like a GPS for your finances; it helps show you how to get out of debt and plan for your financial future to ensure financial independence.


Can you afford to rely on the NHS pension?

Although many of us will have the NHS pension when we retire, I urge you to speak to retired colleagues who depended on that pension. If you ask them whether it meets their current needs and if their retirement is what they had been dreaming about, you will find that for many, the converse is true.

Now is the time for you take control of your finances and plan for your future life, and your dreams and goals. Armed with some financial education, you can set yourself on the path to a well-deserved comfortable retirement.

Sandra Bennett is lead nurse, integrated sexual and reproductive health, at Barts Health NHS Trust in London, and was a finalist in the leadership category at the 2018 RCNi Nurse Awards

Ms Bennett will host a workshop on financial education at the RCNi Nursing Careers and Jobs Fair in Islington, north London, on Tuesday 17 September

RCNi Nursing Careers and Jobs FairsRCNi Nursing Careers and Jobs Fairs

RCNi Nursing Careers and Jobs Fairs are the largest CPD-accredited nursing recruitment events in the UK. Visitors can meet leading employers and agencies with immediate vacancies, and receive advice on finding a new job, revalidation, and climbing the career ladder.

If you're looking for a new job, or aiming to develop your nursing career, come along to our next event. Go to to book your free place today.

RCN Bulletin Jobs

RCN Bulletin Jobs is a one-stop resource for finding and applying for the best jobs in nursing and healthcare.

Hundreds of new posts are added every month and you can browse vacancies by field of practice, band or location.

Registration is quick, making it as simple as possible for you to take the next step in your career.

Find out more at

This article is for subscribers only