Allie Hall — also known as the Debt Free Nurse — accomplished a feat few people manage to achieve: paying off $46,000 in student loan debt in only 18 months while still prioritizing her mental and physical health.
Now, in addition to being a PICU nurse based in North Carolina, Allie is a financial educator who aims to share what she has learned about finances with others, especially nurses.
Allie initially attended San Diego State to get a degree in exercise science. However, as she neared graduation, she realized conventional pathways for exercise science majors — such as physical therapy — would not be financially worthwhile for her.
She had never wanted to be a nurse, but her mother worked as one and Allie expressed her interest as she neared graduation. Allie fell in love with pediatric nursing while becoming a certified nursing assistant (CNA), so she continued on to nursing school.
Unfortunately, Allie missed the deadline for her dream position at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles by one day as she coped with a painful breakup, so she applied to new graduate nurse residency programs and got into Duke’s program. So, she relocated from California to North Carolina eight years ago.
As Allie began working in North Carolina, she was shocked by the pay differences between nursing jobs in California and North Carolina, and she struggled to pay her bills. Eventually, she became burnt out in her second year as a nurse from working overtime, and she almost quit the profession. When this happened, she had to discover ways to maintain longevity as a nurse.
“I quickly realized I wasn’t going to be able to function here making what I was making,” Allie says. “I feel like a lot of nurses get into that trap where they aren’t making anything before they go to nursing school and they think they’re going to be making big money, and when they get their paychecks they don’t really factor in the taxes and the fact that they need to start saving for retirement.”
In 2018, Allie started The Debt Free Nurse, starting out with posting about her own journey with paying off her student loans. As she built a community on social media through content creation, she moved into one-on-one calls and group coaching with clients, and she built a self-paced course to improve financial literacy among nurses.
Allie believes financial literacy is especially important to teach because there is a lack of financial education in schools and it can be easy to pick up bad habits.
“My goal is to make financial education simple and to bring it to more people and create more awareness because I feel like it wasn’t something I learned growing up,” Allie says.
She also aims to teach people they can change their habits and completely alter their own relationship with money.
Now, much of Allie’s business centers around providing affordable resources and courses about topics such as financial literacy, money management, money mindset and pay transparency. She creates educational TikToks and sends out a free newsletter, and she started a blog.
Ultimately, she hopes to help nurses achieve financial freedom and realize that they can achieve a good balance between investing, spending and saving for the future. She views these money management steps as especially important after going through a divorce last year, during which she had to uproot her life. However, she had her finances in order so she was able to dodge financial stress.
“We [nurses] have to take care of ourselves,” Allie says. “We can’t be working until we’re 70 years old because we chose not to save or not to invest. I think there’s a lack of education. Also, we think we have endless amounts of opportunities to make money.”
Now, Allie aims to answer this question: “How can I increase my hourly rate so I can work the least amount of hours but still have the most amount of money? And how can I create a life of freedom by saving, investing and taking jobs that are higher pay so I don’t have to kill myself working forever?”
Allie has found ways to maximize her own income, such as by working weekends as a nurse to bump up her hourly rate.
She wants other women to know it is never too late to start changing your relationship with money.
“Set yourself up for success by knowing your own finances,” Allie says. “Don’t depend on anyone else. Even if you are the biggest shopaholic and you think you are the worst person with money, you always have room to grow and you will figure it out because I was there.”
Allie hopes to continue to expand her business and build upon her goal of reaching $100K net worth last year. She also enrolled in a financial trauma certification course this coming September to build her knowledge, and she hopes to eventually invest in rental properties to create affordable housing options for travel nurses in her area.
“For a long time, I was told I had to go full-time in my business to be a real business owner, but I still want to keep my foot in nursing,” Allie says. “I felt a lot of guilt and shame that I didn’t want to do that. [I realized] that I can do what I want to do and if I want to leave, I will put myself in a situation to be able to leave when I’m ready. I don’t have to listen to what other people are doing or what other people say I should do.”