How side-hustling nurse Naseema McElroy paid off a $1M debt and grew a six-figure net worth in 3 years

Abu Mubarik May 19, 2023
In the course of her academic journey, Naseema accumulated a student debt of nearly $1 million, including her mortgage. However, she managed to free herself from the debt. Photo credit: Sidehustlepro

Meet Naseema McElroy, a published author and founder of financially intentional, a platform centered on personal finance and living life intentionally. She is also a mother, as well as a labor and delivery nurse. Although she has been making six figures for years, Naseema struggled with money.

Growing up, she had no financial knowledge, however, she knew she had to improve her knowledge of finance if she wanted to earn money. As a result, she changed her mindset around money and became more consistent and intentional, which helped her to pay off nearly one million in debt and grow a six-figure income in just three years without living in deprivation.

The West Oakland native grew up with a single dad, which is quite rare in the black community. Although her family did not qualify for welfare programs, her dad did not have enough money, making their daily life a struggle, she told Side Huslt Pro.

She developed asthma growing up, which inspired her to take up a career in the nursing profession. However, she did not get treatment early for her condition because her dad didn’t believe in Western medicine. 

“So he waited till the very last minute,” she said. “So I grew up going to Chinatown and doing herbal stuff. But he was waiting until the last minute and my asthma exacerbations were really, really bad to take me to a community clinic, where then we would have to wait for hours and hours and hours and hours to get medication…”

Years later, Naseema became interested in being a pediatrician, to help sick kids. This led her to the University of Southern California, where she started taking her pre-med classes. She later completed her Master’s in nursing in her early 30s and was set to work in the Bay area where nursing salaries are generally high.

In the course of her academic journey, she accumulated a student debt of nearly $1 million, including her mortgage. However, she managed to free herself from the debt using a mix of her real estate, the flexibility with her job as a nurse, and, some tactical strategies to reduce her costs, according to Forbes.

She sold her house in the Bay Area and made a $100,000 profit. By 2015, she was able to reduce her real estate debt exposure by nearly $650,000 while earning about $200,000 in profit. Naseema later settled in Oakland, rented a house, and convinced her landlord to allow them to sublease the basement, cutting her rent by 36%.

After clearing her mortgage debt, her attention shifted to paying off her student loans. According to Forbes, she took a 403b loan to enable her to afford the initial down payment on her house, along with a car, which she still owed about $25,000 on, and some other personal debt. 

After paying off her student loans, Naseema launched a podcast, Nurses on FIRE, where she explains tricks and tactics that nurses can use to expedite their financial independence. According to Forbes, since launching her podcast, she has increased her total savings to about 10% of her $2 million FI goal. 

In addition to the podcast, she has also launched her blog, Financially Intentional, with the hopes of growing her revenue streams.

Last Edited by:Editor Updated: June 11, 2023


Must Read

Connect with us

Join our Mailing List to Receive Updates