How much do I earn as a nurse in the UK?... Should I back-out on FIRE? (The Truth - with payslip)
Credit: introspectivenl on @unsplash
In England, anyone employed by the NHS will be subjected to the pay progression journey as outlined on the NHS Terms and Conditions of Service pay scale framework. This, depending on your job, is composed of different bands - from 1 to 9 where each scale has an entry pay which will gradually increase every year until you reach the full rate. Nurses belong to the Band 5 pay scale. As there has been a change on the pay scale in England as of 2018, everyone's pay progression journey is a bit different. But the point of that change is to decrease the number of years in which nurses reach the maximum pay from 7 years to just 4 years. Therefore, by 2021, everyone will have one pay progression uplifts. If you are intrigued with the current framework, check here.
Let's talk about numbers.
If you are employed by the NHS now as a qualified nurse (not pre-reg), the annual entry salary is £24,214 (1.6million Pesos). After 4 years, your full rate will be £30,112 (2million Pesos). This is only BASIC salary excluding overtime, weekend and bank holiday and agency/bank shifts. Also, depending on the location of the hospital that you work for, the salary will be topped up with a High Cost Area Allowance - Inner London (20% of the basic salary or a minimum pay of £4326 yearly), Outer London (15%/£3659) and the London Fringes (5%/£1000). There will be no allowance if you are working outside the aforementioned areas.
Inner London Entry: £24,214 + £4,326 = £28,576 Full Rate: £30,112 + £6,022 = £36,134
Beyond London Fringes Entry: £24,214 Full Rate: £30,112
Of course the taxman will take 20% and, 12% (may differ) for the National Insurance contribution. If you hustle hard and you earn more than £50000 a year, for 2019/2020, the tax will be 40%.
P1 Sample Payslip, Inner London
After deductions, my take-home pay is £1935.85 or Php128,000 for a 37.5/week work. Can I do FIRE with this income? Maybe - but by the time I will be FIRE, it is highly likely that I have already undergone or about to undergo a hip or knee replacement, and possibly could no longer walk a flight of stairs without becoming breathless. I don't want that.
P2 Bank Shift Income: £1,002.32
Whilst still young and able, my short-term remedy to boost my income is to do bank shifts. That is, adding 20* more hours per week of work. This will add me an extra £1000 monthly income as seen on P2. In total, my take-home monthly pay is £3000 (Php200000) subject to forex fluctuations. Can I do FIRE with this? YES in 11-13 years, provided that nothing changes with my spending and saving habits, and that I will increase my savings rate over-time. At time of writing, my Savings Rate is 50%. That means, I invest 50% of my monthly income and survive with what I have left which is around £1400-£1500. This FIRE calculator shows that I am on track.
One could argue that nothing is certain. Nobody knows what is going to happen in the future - marriage, kids, disease, job loss. But at least I know the numbers and that gives me a stroke of confidence to tread on this journey purposely.
Finally, band 5 nurses don't earn a lot. But I am convinced that anyone can do FI-RE. This movement is not only for the software consultants, engineers, investment bankers, you know, the top 1% earners. After all, "it is not about how much you earn, but how much you save and invest."
*20 hours is the maximum allowable extra hours you are allowed to work under Tier 2 visa in the UK.
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