We had the good fortune of connecting with Naseema McElroy and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Naseema, is there a quote or affirmation that’s meaningful to you?
“If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready. ” -Suga Free
I think too many of us approach our finances by just reacting to life around us. We don’t take the time to make our money do the things that allow us to live life on our terms. This starts by having a plan in advance for where your money needs to go, Staying ready so you don’t have to get ready.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ve been a nurse for 12 years. My path to nursing wasn’t linear and in fact, I had already had a Master’s in Healthcare Administration before I started my nursing program. Nursing to me represented a career that could take me around the world with the ability to work with autonomy and be a flexible career that could change as my life changed. It also allowed me to escape the bureaucracy of health care administration.
I had images of taking travel assignments across the globe. Instead, I took a job in my native SF Bay Area (which happens the be the best paying location for nurses, making it hard to leave) and have grown my skills tremendously as a perinatal nurse. I love helping bring life in this world so much I don’t even use my advanced practice degree I earned to become a Family Nurse Practitioner.
After several years of being a nurse and earning a great salary, I found myself at a crossroads. Though I had a decent income, I was broke. I knew I had to change my financial trajectory, if not for myself but for my daughter. I set out on a path to take control of my finances in 2015 and by 2017 I had paid off nearly a million dollars in debt and increased my net worth to multiple six figures. This is a big deal as the average net worth for a black woman my age is $5.
I knew that I was not alone in my financial ignorance so I created my platform Financially Intentional to share the money lessons I continue to learn that have aided me on my path to financial freedom. I think nursing as a career is the “cheat code” to financial independence and I have a goal to normalize nurse millionaires. My podcast Nurses on Fires highlights the stories of financially independent nurses and shares resources that make financial indenpence a possibility.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
There is so much to explore in the SF Bay Area. We would start the trip with a Sunday Brunch at Fred’s Place in Sausalito then explore the surrounding downtown shops before visiting and crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. The next day we would head to Half Moon Bay for lobster rolls at Sam’s Chowder house and have a leisurely day at the beach. The next day we would head down the coast to visit the Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey. We would continue down Highway One to experience the Scenic 17-mile drive through Pebble Beach. We would end in downtown Carmel where we would window shop and explore the art galleries and picking from one of the delicious local restaurants for dinner. We would book a few days at the Carmel Highlands Big Sur Coast Hyatt and alternate a day at the beach and a day camping in Big Sur. To conclude the trip we would head back to my hometown of Oakland where we would go tasting at Hanger One and other local wineries then conclude with dinner at Mua in Downtown Oakland.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to shout out my girl Jamila Souffrant of the Journey to Launch Podcast. At the end of my debt payoff story, she introduced me to the FIRE movement which allowed me to shift my money mindset from using money to fix past mistakes, to using money to live life on my own terms. Through her podcast and friendship over the last few years she has expanded what was possible for me.