#7 - Travel Nurse Pay
Did you know you could be paid more to work less and travel the country? It sounds too good to be true. But for many travel nurses this is the life they lead. In the next few paragraphs, I am going to show you how this scenario worked out for my wife.
To start with, let’s look at the net cash flow of a traditional nurse in a clinical supervisor role that makes $75,000. A married couple with no other income that take the standard deduction in 2018 will have a net after tax cash flow of the following: $75,000 - Gross
($13,670) - Estimated FICA, Federal, State and Local Tax
$61,330 - Net after tax
Compare that to my wife’s estimated annualized travel nurse income (varying contract lengths): $6,395 - Taxable Kansas City, MO
$6,070 - Non-taxable Kansas City, MO
$7,603 - Taxable Lansing, MI
$12,624 - Non-taxable Lansing, MI
$15,030 - Taxable Buffalo, NY
$8,180 - Non-taxable Buffalo, NY
$17,808 - Taxable Stockton, CA
$14,663 - Non-taxable Stockton, CA
$88,373 - Gross
($7,692) - Estimated FICA, Federal, State and Local Tax
$80,681 - Net after tax
Get Paid More - The nearly $19,000 increase in after tax cash flow easily made up for any increase in living expenses due to traveling.
Work Less - The total number of work weeks was only 46. The other 6 weeks of the year were unpaid vacation time.
Travel the Country - My wife worked in central, eastern, and pacific time zones.
Each individual’s situation is different. My wife could have made $30,000+ more than she did by signing up for 48hr per week contracts instead of 36hr per week contracts and choosing the next spot based on pay vs. the state she wanted to travel to. Thankfully, my wife knows (and reminds me) that the sum of life is not about how much one can accumulate.
Hopefully, this short blog gave you at least one example of how travel nursing pay can play out. There are many pros and cons to travel nursing and pay is not the only item to take into account.