Doing your job on the road is adventurous, interesting and fun! Not only do you get to work with many different kinds of people, you get to experience new environments, travel the world (okay, nation) and learn new skills while exploring different environments. The life of a traveling medical pro is exhilarating!
And lucrative. If done correctly, you can truly manage your finances from the road, all while making sure the bills get paid on time. Here are some top finance tips for keeping your finances in order, no matter where you’re working this month!
Enroll in a 401k or retirement plan for travelers.
Gone are the days when being a traveling medical professional meant no retirement plan. A good 80% of U.S. employees have 401(k) benefits. Any agency worth its salt will offer you a matching plan so you can make sure you’re taken care of (when you’re done taking care of others. Here are some things to look for. What’s that you say? Your current agency isn’t offering you a matching retirement plan or doesn’t have any excellent options? Join the Triage family.
It’s an online world. Start living like it.
Use automatic bill pay for everything you possibly can and you got it, make sure your agency has direct deposit so none of those bills bounce. You’re way past living paycheck to paycheck, so make sure that even when you’re on a plane or driving between Tulsa and L.A., your insurance, car payment and credit card bills are all paid up.
You travel for work and chances are, you are due some serious mileage and travel reimbursement from the government. Make sure you have set up a “tax home” with your agency and keep track of your mileage. Travel a lot by plane? Hello! Sign up for a mileage card that will make those travel purchases worth twice the points!
When you’re on the road it can be hard to make sure all your records are in one place. Fortunately, we live in the future, where document storage (even super secure storage) can be done from your tablet or smartphone. Sign up for an Evernote account so you can copy your work contracts or save them from your email and keep your travel arrangements, contracts and itineraries (like ever-changing schedules) nearby!
Get those discounts.
Are you a member of a professional association? (Hint: yes, probably!) Then find out what that association is doing for you. Discounts abound for members of professional associations and some agencies or facilities will offer their workers discounts as well. From insurance companies to airlines to coffee shops, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for discounts on just about everything they buy. For example, some insurance companies offer deep discounts for members of the ANA.
Speak of associations.
If you spend a majority of your time moving from place to place, it might make sense to become a member of a travel association like the AAA. Not only can they make emergency help affordable when you need it, their discounts are nationwide for members. Look for other clubs you can join that have nationwide or regional benefits.
Odds and Ends.
At the end of the year, be sure to get all the information you need from your agency and ask them to refer you to a great accountant who understands the needs of a traveling professional. Staffing agencies are equipped to handle your financial queries or offer a solid referral to someone who can!
What is your favorite financial tip? Did we leave anything out?