About

I am a certified registered nurse anesthetist employed at an academic medical center in a major metropolitan city. I also work in numerous private practice settings.

In 2014, I came out of nurse anesthesia school with over $100K in student loan debt. I don’t have any credit card debt and I rent. I recently stumbled across the personal finance blogosphere (e.g., Mr. Money Mustache, MadFientist, Financial Samurai, and many more) and have since been hooked since.

This site was originally developed as a guide for prospective individuals interested in pursuing nurse anesthesia as a career. However, I noticed that there is a dearth of personal finance blogs geared specifically towards the new grad CRNA. Before nurse anesthesia school, I never really thought about retirement. Sure, I saved some money in a 403(b), but could never really discern the difference between a 403(b), 457(b), or 401(k). Furthermore, I had no clue as to what kind of investment products I should be allocating my money into. As a result, I decided to detail my experience getting into school, what life was like getting through school, and what life has been like while being out of school (with a particular emphasis on managing one’s finances as a new grad).

Throughout this site, I’ll be sharing tips/advice to those interested in pursuing nurse anesthesia along with providing an in-depth, but very basic discussion on managing finances. I honestly have no idea if my approach is the correct one, but through my research, I’ve been able to gather some information that will hopefully set me on a course where I will be financially independent (sooner rather than later).

Hopefully you’ll find some of this information useful.

 

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6 thoughts on “About

  1. Looking into CRNA myself and have done quite the extensive amount of research as well as pursued shadowing opportunities to see if this is the career for me. What gets me everytime is the fact that I won’t be able to work while in school whatsoever, meaning that I would need to live off some form of government loans for everyday life expenses (rent, utilities, payments..etc) thus causing me to accrue more debt on top of the tuition for CRNA schooling. Two questions for you: is it worth it in regards to the debt? and how old were you when you started and finished? Thanks ahead of time.

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    1. You raise a very important question I feel every prospective student must ask before actually going to nurse anesthesia school. Is the amount of debt worth the time you will put in to become a CRNA? My answer is it depends. So as long as becoming a CRNA remains a 2-year Master’s program, I say go for it because anyone can do anything for 2 years. That said, I would caution against going to a school that charges over $60,000 for tuition for the 2-year program. $60,000 is a bit of an arbitrary number. I paid $34,000 for tuition alone and had to borrow an additional $40,000 for living expenses. Did I really need $40,000? No, I did not. I could have lived off of $25,000 over 2 years, but I wanted extra money to be able to splurge on things to keep myself sane during those 2 excruciating years. Everyone is different in terms of their needs. Overall, I borrowed $74,000 for a 2 year Master’s program. Do I regret this decision? Not necessarily. I’m on a 4 year repayment plan, but I’m paying $2,000 a month, so that’s something you’ll have to factor in once you’re done with school. If you decide to be somewhat aggressive like me with repaying your loans, then you need to ask yourself if you’re okay making huge monthly payments. In some ways, I’m still making the same money as an RN. The only difference (albeit a big one) is that at least now I can max out my retirement contributions (my employer offers a 403(b) + 457(b), and pension). However, that additional $2,000 goes to my student loans, so I’m left with nearly the same amount of money I was making as an RN.

      My other answer is if this is for the DNAP, I would probably think twice about becoming a CRNA because now you’re looking at accruing over $160,000 (at least at one university that I know of) in debt. That’s a lot of money especially if you’re looking to increase your income by 50-90%. Again, you have to factor in the amount of time you’ll be spending to pay back that debt and the opportunity cost (the time you would have spent working but instead you’re in school) and ask yourself if it’s worth it to you. Therein lies the dilemma. This whole time I’ve been talking about being a CRNA within a financial context. The real question here is, how motivated are you about learning anesthesia? Is this a field that you find fascinating and that you want to learn more about? Can you see yourself as a lifelong learner in this field? These are the real questions you should be asking yourself because believe me, no amount of money is worth the effort if you find yourself hating what you do.

      In answer to your other question, I started nurse anesthesia in my late 20s.

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  2. Great content in all your material! Thank you for taking the time and effort to piece all this together. My wife is graduating from CRNA school very soon and I stumbled across your blog/website while doing some research.

    As a Financial Advisor myself I will say your tone about our profession is quite strong and inaccurate. Some of the beliefs/feelings you have are true and some are not. If you recall back to your SRNA days you may remember two different CRNAs or Anesthesiologists telling you multiple different ways to a perform a particular procedure and both of them told you their way was “the right way” despite the fact that they both arrived at the same result.

    At any rate, giving financial advise is substantially different than surgery and anesthesia. You’re attempting to compare apples and oranges. With the DOL changes made in 2017 I would encourage you to do more research. I would also kindly ask that you be more respectful to the National exams, State level exams, Designations, and annual continuing education we must complete to maintain our profession. Lastly, if we don’t do what is in our clients’ best interest then we get fired by our clients, we don’t get referred to others, and in some situations we could lose our ability to operate in our profession entirely…so why would we not do what is in our clients’ best interest?

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    1. I appreciate the feedback, Kyle. My apologies if the content on the site comes off disrespectful towards professionals within the financial advisory sphere. You’re right. How would I feel if someone outside of my profession started proselytizing to the public on what kind of anesthetic ought to be administered for whatever procedure they were having. It’s shortsighted and potentially harmful. So, my apologies to you if I have offended you.

      The site is merely a document of my journey from being an SRNA to a CRNA and the kinds of decisions I’ve been making to ensure that I lead a “financially stable” life. In no way, shape, or form do I claim to be an expert in personal finances. I’m just sharing information I’ve collected over the years. I think I make that explicit in my site when I share financial information.

      “….very basic discussion on managing finances. I honestly have no idea if my approach is the correct one…”

      In any case, I appreciate you sharing your thoughts about the site. It’ll give me some time to think about the tone I’m using when writing about all things related to personal finance. All I can really say is I’m just trying my best to make the right financial decisions for myself and sharing what I’ve come across.

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  3. Oh my I was not expecting such a prompt response…thank you! Thank you for being honest and transparent. In return I will share with you that I agree with many of your financial positions in how you seem to be managing your financial affairs & debt reduction – so well done! I am a Fiduciary to many of my clients, but for the clients that haven’t hired me in that capacity I still have to do what is in their best interest or I’ll lose the relationship and tarnish my reputation in the process. An Advisor should have the heart-of-a-teacher when working with clients. Unfortunately in my experience in having thousands of private financial conversations with clients over the years I have learned that many people don’t have the financial discipline to pay off their loans in 2-5 years as it seems you’re on track for…which is our plan as well and one that I strongly encourage…so again – we’ll done to you! Some of my most cherished memories with clients is when they share they’ve paid off a car, credit card, or student loan.

    A common misconception in our industry is that people “shouldn’t work with an Advisor until you’re rich and have tons of money.” I love working with clients in their 20’s and 30’s because it gives us the opportunity to earn their trust over the years and add as much value as we can…because once people (and yourself) have $250,000+ to invest then you’ll be called on quite a bit by other Advisors…and my hope is that I’ll have built up enough loyalty and trust with my clients so that when that happens to them their response will be “Thank you, but I’ve been working with my Advisor from the beginning back when I had nothing and they’ve helped me every step of the way.”

    There should be more value created by working with a Financial Advisor than the cost of an annual fee for assets managed (give to get mentality). As an example, just this week I shared a tax tip with a client that will save them over $1,200 on their 2017 tax return. Furthermore, not all Advisors do this, but I do not charge a fee for the planning analysis our team puts together for each client relationship. Some Advisors charge thousands of dollars for the analysis before the client makes one change to their planning or cash flows…although many business owners and high net worth families can afford this many chose not to employ an Advisor solely for the purpose of planning.

    Vanguard has a really good article about the value of working with an Advisor – which is interesting because many of Vanguard’s Funds are passive vs active management.

    At any rate, I’d like to conclude by saying that I greatly appreciate & respect your profession. My wife had 8 years of bedside care in the ICU before starting her SRNA program. I am much more connected to the nursing profession than many others and deeply respect what you do. I’m also more private with my digital footprint and commend you on having the courage to create this blog and share your story publicly. Thank you!!!

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  4. Great blog – appreciate your work to keep it going. Like Kyle, my wife is currently in school and this website is a great resource for us civilians (not in healthcare) not as familiar with the career and its demands. I’m also a big fan of Mr. Money Mustache, although I haven’t come close to his level of frugality!

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