April 15th is just around the corner and for many nurses tax season serves as a rude awakening. This time every year we’re forced to run the numbers and take a long, hard look at our true financial picture. Unfortunately for many of us, the end result is always the same: we pony up to Uncle Sam and then push everything our tax forms revealed to us to the back of our minds… until next year. Maybe it’s time to ask these four questions instead:
Do you have the W-2 Blues?
Your W-2 can be a painful reminder that once again your income hasn’t measured up to your dreams. I’ve been there. My W-2 was a painful reminder that I was in a dead-end job and was going to have to work overtime at the hospital for the rest of my life just to pay my mortgage. If you feel stuck, you don’t have to be. My W-2 motivated me to step out and start my own legal nurse consulting business in 1982. Buck-up and take responsibility for changing your W-2. That’s the first step. I promise you’re more in control of your W-2 than you realize.
Where did your money go?
Tax season is a great reminder that unless you’re the government, you have to stop spending more than you earn. I encourage stretching way out to achieve a goal, but I never encourage living beyond your income. Living beneath my income is what helped me to be able to step out and start my legal nurse consulting business. It has also helped me to grow the business and survive the recession.
If you’re not quite ready to give up your Starbucks addiction, maybe you can pack your lunch or do without that new pair of jeans (or that cool purse). Living beneath your income cuts your stress levels dramatically and frees you to move toward your dreams as you gain more control over your finances.
Have you been underpricing yourself?
Here’s the tough part. You can love your job and the people you work with. You can even love your boss (I know I do – but wait, that’s me!). But if your W-2 says you’re getting the short end of the stick, do something about it! Don’t just accept what’s handed to you. When I got my masters degree, I didn’t get a nickel raise. So I went to work for a hospital that recognized the value of what I had accomplished. But more importantly, that situation sparked my drive to be more in control my earnings and helped to accelerate my plan to start my own business.
Do you deserve a refund?
We all love a tax refund. It’s like getting an unexpected bonus – even if it is your own money. But if you’re not getting one this year, there are many ways to refund yourself all year long. Wake up 30 minutes early just for you, not your spouse, not your kids, not your computer. Take plenty of walks. They are free and clear the mental clutter. Read a book to improve your mind.
Don’t tell me you don’t have time to take care of yourself. Disconnect from those time-sucking distractions that follow you everywhere like Facebook, Twitter, texting and Angry Birds. Make yourself the priority – not everybody else. A woman I mentored told me she waited 50 years to start taking care of herself. If you’re like her, it’s never too late to make a change. Refunding myself every day, both mentally and physically, is a big reason I love my legal nurse consulting business as much today as I did 30 years ago.
If you just can’t stand the thought of another year or more of the same – living paycheck to paycheck, stuck in a job you don’t like, stressed to the max – let this tax season be the impetus for bucking up and making the changes in your life that will bring you closer to your dreams. You can shake the W-2 blues. Get up and get started today.
Success Is Inside!
P.S. Comment and share how you beat the W-2 blues.