Scrubs To Riches: 3 Tips To Build Wealth For Nurses Even Without A Wild Salary


By Bethan Moorcraft

A California nurse recently went viral for claiming she made between $250,000 to $500,000 a year — and paid off her student loans — by the time she was 27.

Olivia Reeves, 35, is a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) who chronicles her life to her 1.4 million followers on TikTok.

One of her recent videos — where she details her key steps to success — went viral on the social media platform earlier this year, grabbing more than 2.9 million views and over 289,000 likes.

“Want your life to look like mine? Then listen up,” she said in the TikTok. “I don't think my life's that cool, but I am proud of what I've done to get where I'm at.”

Here’s how she did it and how you can emulate her successful financial strategy.

Her steps to success

As a CRNA, Reeves is an advanced practice registered nurse. Her job involves administering anesthesia and other medications to patients. CRNAs are the highest paid of all nursing specialties due to the high level of skill required to manage a patient’s anesthesia.

If you want to make the big bucks as a CRNA — or in any other specialized field — you’re going to have to “sell your soul” to school and sacrifice the party life, according to Reeves.

Beyond that, she encouraged her viewers to keep learning, “join all the societies … get all the certifications.”

“Be proud of your education,” she said in her TikTok clip, adding that a good college degree and a strong work ethic can open a lot of doors — and not just for nurses.

She was able to effectively use the earnings from her high-paying nursing job — where she claims to earn between $250,000 and $500,000 a year — to pay off all her student debt by the age of 27.

Whether you make $50,000 or $500,000, here are three things you need to do if you want to reach your own version of financial freedom.

Prioritize paying off debt

Reeves admits that, like many Americans, she “did not have a penny saved going through anesthesia school," so she took out student loans.

But the first thing Reeves did when she finished school and started woring as a CRNA was pay off her debt.

Higher-interest debts on your credit cards or your car loan can weigh you down and often outpace the money you’d make saving and investing any excess income.

Even if your debts have a lower interest rate, like on some mortgages and student loans, there’s an argument for paying them off first. The savings you’ll see paying off your debts are guaranteed, while lucrative investing opportunities typically carry a fair amount of risk.

Work a side hustle

So how exactly did Reeves find the cash to pay off $200,000 of student debt before she hit her 30s?

“I threw money at it every month, working overtime, working different shifts, working things to pay off my loans as soon as I could,” she explained in another TikTok.

Not all jobs offer overtime pay or additional shifts. Of course, you could always look for a new job that offers a higher salary and more work opportunities.

If you don’t want to change careers, but you do want to boost your income by working beyond the average 40-hour week, consider getting a side hustle.

Working two or more jobs is more common than ever in America. 45% of working Ameircans have a side hustle in 2023 and they spend an average of 13 hours per week doing it.

Being a YouTuber or influencer is the highest-paying side hustle, with potential earnings of over $10,000 per month — but since success in those ventures is never sure, you might want to look into popular gigs like grocery delivery, dog walking or online tutoring that can all pay more than $1,500 a month.

Invest for passive income

Once you have a handle on your debt situation and good grip on money management, you might consider putting any extra cash that you have to work.

It doesn’t have to be a lot, at first. You can invest your spare change and easily generate passive income through dividends without having to lift a finger.

If you’re unsure about where to start, there are lots of apps and digital tools that can help you dip your toe in.


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