Nurses Report a Change in Plans for Retirement

Research from Fidelity shows that while nearly eight in 10 nurses (79%) feel secure about their jobs and their financial future, more than seven in 10 (71%) do not feel they are saving enough for retirement.

That lack of confidence has risen significantly since 2007, when 57% of nurses felt they were not saving enough.  

Nearly half (49%) of nurses also report their retirement plans have changed because of the economy and ongoing market volatility. More than one-quarter (26%) now plan to retire later than they had originally expected and almost one-quarter (22%) plan to work in retirement when they had not previously planned to do so.  

In addition, more than four in 10 nurses (42%) believe they will never fully retire. When asked why they will work in retirement, nearly eight in 10 (79%) say they will do so because they will need the income to meet basic living expenses —a significant increase over the 65% of nurses who said so in 2007. More nurses also expect to struggle or just make ends meet in retirement compared to 2007 (28% vs. 18%).   

Despite having to change their retirement plans, nearly half of nurses still believe they are better prepared for retirement, both emotionally (47%) and financially (45%), than workers in other professions.

Nurses Seek Help in Retirement Planning  

Although nurses expressed concerns about retirement in the Fidelity survey, they continue to save for the future. For example, more than eight in 10 nurses (81%) report participating in their workplace savings plan and those who participate say they are saving an average of 9% of their annual salary.  

Despite this high rate of savings, more than half (54%) of nurses say they find retirement planning to be overwhelming and wish they could get some help. When asked about resources they use to learn about and manage their workplace retirement plans, more than four in 10 (43%) say they rely on guidance from a financial professional. One third (33%) also rely on educational materials provided by their employer and nearly one third (31%) rely on online planning tools and calculators.  

Changes Expected  

The study also showed more than half (54%) of nurses “love their jobs and can’t imagine giving them up, even in retirement,” reflecting their commitment to their profession and patient care, despite working in an industry that continues to experience significant change.   

Looking ahead, nearly all nurses (98%) say they anticipate changes in their profession to continue over the next five to 10 years due to recent health care reform, rising costs and the challenging economy. When asked about the specific changes they expect, the majority of nurses identified a shortage of qualified workers (59%), more demanding hours (57%), and more nurses leaving the profession (50%).   

They also expect hospital consolidation to continue -- an activity many say has raised their personal stress levels, lowered morale, and impacted their benefits.