Two years of experience? Check. Renewed certifications? Check. Applications filled out with agencies? Check. Money in savings? Well…
Not having enough money in savings before embarking as a healthcare traveler can make for a rough start. There are a number of things at the beginning of an assignment that can take a financial toll on your bank account if you’re not prepared. Here are seven things to consider saving for before entering the wonderful world of travel!
Whether your license is compact or not, additional licenses are something to consider. Having a compact license surely gives you more options, but what if the perfect assignment opens up in a non-compact state? Read up on what licenses may be beneficial to have, or may take some time to get when looking for contract. Licenses can be pricey, and they can range anywhere from $50 to $350! While many companies reimburse for licenses, you will have to pay for the license upfront when applying for it.
Deposits can add up quickly! An apartment deposit alone could set you back hundreds of dollars. If your agency is setting up housing for you, you may be fortunate enough to not have the financial burden of a deposit. Keep in mind other potential deposits, though: pet deposits, utility deposits, cable or internet installation charges, and so on.
“To Assignment Money”
Getting to an assignment involves a number of things that could set you back without savings.
- Gas money
- Airfare – if you’re flying to your assignment location
- Hotel/Lodging – if your drive to the assignment takes a few days, you’ll need somewhere to spend the nights.
- Tolls – if your drive includes tolls, remember to keep cash in the car.
Most companies will provide some sort of travel reimbursement, but you won’t see that money until it’s added to one of your paychecks. Be sure to ask your recruiter or manager if your reimbursements are applied to your first check or divided up on multiple checks.
Depending on how long you go between your last day at your previous job/assignment and your first day on your new assignment, this delay could be two weeks or more. For example, say it takes you a week to drive cross-country to an assignment; you work your first week when you get there, and then you get a paycheck a week later for your first week of work. That’s three weeks between paychecks (assuming you were paid right before you left for assignment). Having money in savings will allow this gap between paychecks to be no big deal for you.
Other Reimbursable Items
In addition to licenses and travel reimbursement, sometimes there are other items you’re reimbursed for as a traveler. Perhaps you need to buy new scrubs in a different color for your assignment. Maybe you have to pay to park at your work location. Be sure to ask your recruiter or manager what is reimbursable and what isn’t. Once again, even if certain expenses are reimbursed, you will have to pay for it upfront.
The “Uh-oh” Fund
Unfortunately, things happen. You get a flat tire, you forgot to pack a heavy coat for your winter assignment, or maybe you get sick and have to swing by urgent care. Having an “uh-oh” fund for the unexpected expenses can help keep you out of the red.
The Fun Fund
Even though you’re traveling to a new location for work, you’ll inevitably want to have some fun while you’re there! Some adventures, like hiking the Rocky Mountains, are free. Others, like a whale watching cruise, can cost you a bit. Save a little bit of fun money – you’ll be glad you did!
Travelers, did having savings built up, help you while on assignment? How much did you save? Recruiters, what other expenses have you seen pop up that can be a financial burden without savings?
Jillian Haney is a Recruiter for the Aureus Medical Social Media Recruitment Team.