Travel nurses have numerous retirement saving options, some available through their travel nursing agency. Some agencies offer traditional employer-sponsored 401k plans. Usually, 401ks attract a high contribution limit than other plan options annually. Further, some employers provide a matching benefit. The 401k plan is ideal for increasing your savings as a travel nurse. 

What should a travel nurse do with their 401k? 

Many travel nursing companies have adopted 401k plans and cover their travel nurses as an employee benefit. Investing in the 401k plan is one of the best decisions travel nurses can make. However, travel nurses should make various considerations before adopting the plan.  

Analyze how your employer matches your contribution and determine the structure of the vesting program. The matching demonstrates how much your employer is contributing to your 401k. Often, the amount is a percentage of your salary based on the amount you contribute.  

The vesting program demonstrates how long you must remain with the employer to maintain the money they contribute to your 401k. Often, this schedule is based on a sliding scale where travel nurses can keep a more considerable percentage of their employers’ contributions by staying longer.  

How to manage multiple retirement accounts as a travel nurse 

Often, travel nurses change their jobs more regularly than regular nurses. Travel nurses have different retirement accounts when transitioning from one employer to another and advancing their careers. Managing these accounts can be a difficult thing to do. Here are some tips to ease the management of your multiple retirement accounts.  

  • Cash-out your 401k 

Consider cashing out the account, paying tax and any arising penalties, and spending or investing the remaining balance. This option is inefficient for travel nurses with substantial money in their retirement accounts. Remember, your cash out will be included in your regular income account for that specific year, escalating your tax bracket.  

  • Change to a new 401k 

Once you change jobs, consider moving the money to your new travel nursing employer. The tax law supports transfers between these retirement plans and companies. However, avoid making withdrawals to avoid paying any income tax on your current retirement amount.  


The old money continues growing until the travel nurse starts earning income from the plan during retirement. This option may not be the best for travel nurses if they change employers again.  

  • Can travel nurses keep all their 401ks active? 

Assuming your current retirement plan allows, travel nurses can keep each 401k from different employers active. Doing so allows them to grow their money while avoiding unnecessary transfer concerns.  


Travel nurses who choose this process should monitor their accounts annually to determine whether they need to change anything or re-balance. Further, they should keep a tab of places they have worked over the years to know where their money is and avoid losing it.  

  • Choosing the 401k plan 

While numerous retirement-saving options exist for nurses, identifying the best among them can be difficult. Travel nurses should consider short-term savings, overall liabilities, income, and age before choosing their preferred retirement investment option. Travel nurses often have to conduct a comprehensive financial evaluation to help them make informed decisions. Seek guidance from a financial advisor to avoid making mistakes.  

  • Why is the 401k ideal for travel nurses? 

The 401k plan comes with tax deferment, whose financial advantage largely depends on a travel nurse’s income bracket. Remember, income taxes are continuous. Earning more money exposes you to higher tax rates. As a result, the tax savings travel nurses make from tax deferment will be great even when their taxable income increases.  

A travel nurse’s taxable income can be low because a significant percentage of their compensation is tax-free. These nurses can take more tax deductions, such as travel expenses.  


Before investing in the 401k plan, travel nurses should ensure the vesting schedule is practically based on the matching plan. Nurses should also establish whether the 401k’s tax deferment element will be beneficial by evaluating their marginal rate. Remember, professional financial advisors can help you choose the best retirement plan. A licensed individual will help you make the best decision based on your financial position.  




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