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Insights & Education

Meet Max, a 31-year-old director of nursing from Florida

Max, 31, graduated in the summer of 2023 with his Master of Business Administration. He currently works as the director of nursing for a midsize healthcare company in Fort Lauderdale. Although he’s been taking his long-term financial goals seriously for years now, the birth of his son has caused him to focus on some short-term needs, as well. Here he shares the most important thing he’s doing to reach his dream retirement and who he’s taking advice from along the way to help get there.

Read Max's interview below or listen here.

Let’s start with your job. When you were looking for somewhere to work, did you consider the total benefits package beyond salary when thinking about where to go?

I graduated in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science and bounced around different jobs for a while. Going back to school was always my plan, but I didn’t initially plan on going back for business, or to end up in management and administration. I started at the company that I’m currently with, though, and really liked it. I was getting more experience and getting promoted, but my colleagues were telling me I needed to go back to school to move up. Luckily, I already had a ton of credits, so I only had to take a few outlying classes to get the rest of the prerequisites. The program itself was 18 months. So, while I maybe did initially take the job for the salary, it was the atmosphere that made me want to stay.

How often do you talk about financial matters with other people?

I talk with friends, my colleagues, and my parents for advice, particularly people who are also trying to save, or in similar situations to me. My sister told me I should be putting money in a Roth IRA, along with my 401(k), so I started doing that each month. You try not to compare yourself to the people you talk to, or box yourself in, though. You have to maintain that perspective that you are contributing somewhere, and hopefully you’ll have enough by the time you need it.  

How has debt played into your financial goals?

Student loans played into my goals at first. For my master’s, I’d say I did a good job of mitigating them. But with undergrad, I had student loans, but I didn’t care much about them until the year I graduated. By then I had $22,000 due. I ended up paying them off about four years ago.

What are you currently saving for, and how are you making that savings happen?

In terms of short-term goals, we like to go on two family vacations a year, so we have savings set aside for that. We ensure that we have six months in an emergency fund, even though I feel like it’s not as much as it should be.

I tend to think more long-term, though. Especially within the last couple of years. With my son’s birth we started saving for his college. I’ve thought more about my retirement, too. With my promotion at work, that came with a larger match for my 401(k). I wish I could be saving more, but I do as much as I can with the current state of everything. I’ve looked to cut certain things to help. My car is teetering on mileage, for example. I’d love a new truck, but I’ll probably get a used car just to get the job done.

Let’s close with a few forward-looking questions. What does your dream retirement look like?

I don’t have any grandiose plans as far as what I want to be doing or where I want to be in retirement. We want something simple. I’ll likely work close to retirement age, if not past it. It depends on the state of Social Security, or where we’ll be years from now. I’d just like to live comfortably, and have a purpose, whether that’s through work or maybe as a grandparent. I’d like to have an active retirement, though not be stressed out with bills.

What do you think is the single most important thing you can do today to make your retirement dreams a reality?

I’d say continuing to fight for a higher salary. That’s the one thing that impacts everything. It impacts your Social Security. It impacts your bottom line. I think that’s something I’ll continue to work on and will continue to strive for. You can invest and cut corners and get lucky, but what matters is your take-home. That’s your bread and butter.

I also think it’s so important to get yourself involved. I’ve always had an interest in finance, but if it’s not interesting to somebody, I can understand how it might not come naturally. People need to educate themselves. There’s so much information now. You can go on YouTube, read a blog. Ultimately, immerse yourself and find your path. And be patient and specific in terms of goals. Familiarize yourself with certain industries and markets. Familiarize yourself with where we’re heading as a nation, where the job market is heading. Be self-aware of what you’re doing and what you want to have in terms of career and family. Everything works together.

Research shows people are living longer. Have you thought about that at all regarding your retirement and overall financial plans?

It’s funny you ask that. I was recently having a conversation with a colleague who’s older than me, and he was talking about how my generation is expected to live longer. I hadn’t thought about that. I’ve only kept my goals to the shorter-term, I’d say maybe 70. I just don’t think I’ve ever really thought about what my life would be like when I’m 100 years old. But it’s an interesting thought.


These interviews are published for educational use only, and are not intended to provide financial, legal, fiduciary, accounting, or tax advice, nor are they intended to make any investment or insurance recommendations. Experiences presented may not be representative of the experiences of other individuals and there is no guarantee of similar results or success. Please consult with the appropriate legal, financial, or tax professional regarding your own financial situation and investment needs and objectives.


At the time of these interviews, the individuals interviewed were not clients, shareholders, or employees of Corebridge Financial, and no direct or indirect compensation was provided in return for such interviews. The interviews have been modified for content.

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