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Resource Library > Video > First 30 days in the USA LIVE show FULL
Resource Library > Video > First 30 days in the USA LIVE show FULL

Tanya Freedman, CEO Connetics USA: Hi, everybody, and welcome to the Lefora Talk Show. This is season 3, episode 3. I cannot believe we've been doing this for three years already. So I want to welcome everybody who's watching all around the world. My name is Tanya Freedman, I'm the chief executive officer of Connetics USA, and we help nurses find jobs in the United States. And we focus on direct hire.

We work with facilities all over the United States. And I have with me joining Eliza. Hi, Eliza. Welcome.

Hello, Tanya. How are you? Good. Welcome. We also have Anna joining. Hi, Anna. Welcome.

Hi, everyone. How are you? Good. Welcome, Anna. And we also have Blair, who's joining us. Hi, Blair. Hi. Good evening. How are you? All? Good. Thank you, everybody, for joining us.

Who is watching around the world? I see we have Ariana, who is saying a very interesting topic.

Rosemary is giving us a thumbs-up. Pascal is saying Goodnight, everybody. So if you are watching anywhere in the world, please put into the chat and where you're watching from. We'd love to see who is watching all over the world. Today's topic is the First 30 days in the United States.

Now, many international nurses wait for many months and years to come to the United States but don't get a lot of thought about what it's like when we first arrive there. So Anna and your Eliza are going to be sharing their story and telling us their experience of the first 30 days.

And Blair is here as an expert who's going to be sharing some information on the financial side and how nurses need to prepare for arrival in the United States. So today, please keep watching. We are going to be talking about how to prepare. We're going to be talking about Social Security. We're going to be talking about communication, like how to get a cell phone, keep your laptop or your plugs to be able to make sure that you have that electricity. We are going to be talking about transportation.

We're going to be talking about housing, and we're going to be talking about children. We're going to be talking about your RN license endorsement. We're going to be talking about pre-arrival with your facility.

Before we get started, I wanted to just have the panel maybe introduce themselves. Just give a quick background about your background and your experience so that everybody watching knows who you are and how you fit in. Let's start with Anna. Okay. Hi, everyone.

My name is Anna Cruz. I'm a nurse from the Philippines. I waited almost eight years to arrive in New York, and I'm an awarded nurse now. But when I arrived here, I used to work in a nursing home for the baby. It was not easy, but it's very manageable.

Okay. Thank you, Anna. And Anna, I see Donna saying Hi to you. And also just want to point out that Anna is one of the admins of the Lefora forum. And we really want to just give a shout-out to Anna, Ms. Jean, Paul, and Louise for all the amazing work that all the admin does in helping nurses.

And that's really what the latest talk show is all about. Thank you, Anna. Eliza, do you want to introduce I see James has joined us. Welcome, James. James is one of our experts who's going to be talking about more the transportation side. Eliza, go ahead and give us a short background about yourself and tell us a little bit about yourself. Hello, everybody.

My name is Eliza. I'm from Brazil. I have been a nurse for over 13 years, and I have arrived in the US, and it has like less than two weeks. And I used to work at an emergency room in Brazil. It's kind of different than here in the US, but my largest experience is an emergency.

Thank you, ladies. I think this is going to be interesting for anybody watching because Elizabeth just arrived. So she's right in the middle of that 1st 30 days of arrival in the United States. And interesting to have Anna's perspective, who's been here for a while. So it's going to be kind of interesting for us for them to share their journey and to share their pointers and tips and advice with everybody watching. Blair, can you go ahead and introduce yourself? Yes, of course.

My name is Blair Blanchard, and I am the community development officer for Advancial Federal Credit Union. We have a program designed specifically for people in your situation that you can apply for before you even get to the United States and have a place to put your money to have it waiting for you once you get here. And we also have, as a part of this program, a pre-approval guaranteed to you for an auto loan, in substantial cases, mortgages, even a credit card, and all of our products pertaining to you, your spouse, and your children. So we're really excited to be involved. And this is probably my fourth or fifth time on here, and I look forward to it every time.

I was just going to say, Blair, you probably don't need any introduction many times, we've been on the Friday show onwards and upwards. I think a lot of people here know who you are, but thank you for sharing your background. And we certainly are so excited to have your expertise and all the information you're going to share with nurses. One of the biggest obstacles in those first 30 days is trying to build your credit, and you're going to dig a little deeper into that in the coming hours. James, do you want to go ahead and introduce yourself? Also, no stranger to the Lefora talk show a few times, James. Do you want to introduce yourself to those people who don't know who you are? Absolutely.

Hello, everyone. My name is James Krulder; I'm the director of International Auto Source. Very similar to Advancial, International Auto Source offers car loans to nurses who are relocating to the United States. We help them with purchasing that vehicle and trying to find the best price. Of course, we always got to help you find the best price on a vehicle and the best type of interest rates on their loans, as well as your auto insurance. In addition to that, we help you with your driver's license and registration of your vehicle and really just trying to help you through the entire process of your personal transportation to ensure that once you arrive here in the US, you kind of have one less thing to worry about.

We're excited to hear your viewpoint and all the information you can share with nurses because, again, transportation can be very tricky. Most places in the United States, you have to drive and have your own car. And a lot of international nurses they've never driven before and haven't owned their own car. So that can be a whole experience that is both exciting and stressful at the same time.

Yes, very intimidating process. I mean, even us Americans, I'm sure Blair can agree that even going to buy a car is very stressful looking for a car and dealing with the car salespeople, the slimy car sales people. I don't do that anymore. I just oversee the program now. So I'm not one of those guys anymore. But no, just as far as going through that process, it's intimidating. And to imagine someone moving to a new country, in addition to going through all of those new challenges and then having to go car dealer at a car dealer at a car dealer is even more while also learning a new job and trying to figure out how to get to that new job, there's enough going on. You don't need the press.

And I think that's where the Lefora Talk Show is so helpful. Every month, we host the Lefora Talk Show on different topics. The main aim is really just to help is to share free information. So please tag your friends, and tag your colleagues to watch the show. We do it every month. And as I said, the main aim is really just to serve you and to provide free information for you when you come here so that you can be educated and hopefully have less stress and more joy, because this is what so many people are working so hard to do, is to get to the United States and live the American dream.

Okay. So let's get started on our topic. I'm going to just bring up our success path. So this is something that you can find on the Connetics USA website and it kind of gives you a roadmap of the steps that a nurse has to take in order to come and live in the United States. So today's topic we're kind of going to be talking a little bit. So we start with the NCLEX, preparation for the interview, the visa framework, licensing, and credentialing get ready game plan. And six and seven are where we're going to be focusing most of today's show, talking about the pre-arrival sequence. And the number seven is enjoy and prosper because this is what everybody's worked so hard to achieve.

As we move through the different topics, please, everybody in the chat, feel free to put your questions in for the nurses and for the experts. We would love this to be interactive; it's a conversation. And so please feel free to put your questions into the chat, and I'll try and get through as many questions as we can.

The first thing we want to cover is preparation for arriving in the United States. Anna, can we maybe start with you? Can you share with us how you prepared for your first 30 days in the United States and also now, having been through it, when you look back, maybe second part of the question is what you could have done, maybe differently, what any mistakes that you made that you would like to point out to nurses now that you've been through it?

Okay, so I made a lot of plans. I actually have a notebook, and I list all my plans and Google everything. The place where I'm working, the environment, the neighborhood, what community, what kind of school they have, and the enrollment process since I have an eleven-year-old daughter now. But back then, she was only four years old. And I Googled about the nearby hospital. I made a lot of notes before I left the Philippines just to let you guys know I'm here in New York, working now for seven years. And one thing I regret about not going back home is learning how to drive.

I live in a city, so I go up to my school and my job. Hopefully, when I arrive in the area, I will learn about the bus and the bus time train station, and I made a lot of Uber guy friends. Another preparation was before I left, I completed all my BLS ACLs and my house. And this will be the American heart. I want to save money, and I don't want to go here to New York aside from that. And other reason was I bought some other stuff for my daughter and for myself because I don't know yet what will happen here. I have a headache or body pain and I basically comply. Whatever the company called me for a company or living in offering me money and time that's what I mean seven years ago.

Okay, so those are some great tips, Anna, do your research, little things like get your prescriptions, get your medications, get your certifications before, if that's possible to do. So lots of really good tips there. When you look back at you've now, long past those initial 30 days, was there anything that you think that you could have done differently, that maybe you made a mistake and you wish somebody had told you about that from driving? Someone told me how cold. Which part of New York are you in now?

I'm here in upstate. I'm down in Long Island. I mean, it's cold, but when you get upstate, it's colder. It is. Absolutely. That's another thing. It gave me a hard time. And aside from that, I read someone called me about finances, finances. And health insurance is so different back home. We won't even have health insurance whenever 14. So, go for the things that if I can only go back seven years ago, I will invest on both. If only.

I think we all said that if we could only look seven years ago. But Anna, you're doing such a great service for so many nurses that are watching right now, because if they are about to leave to a cold climate, they need to be listening to you. So they need to be prepared for the weather sometimes just to have the right clothing. It's something that many nurses don't realize. And Eliza, you are in North Dakota, so even colder. Can you tell us a little bit about I mean, you've only been here for a few weeks. How did you prepare to live and work in the United States?

Actually, it's not so much different from Anna. I also researched a lot and there is a group in Brazil with a lot of nurses that are coming. And coincidentally, many of them, they arrive like two, three months before me, so I could share their experiences. So I restarted a lot about the place. I would like to live near to the hospital and comfortable and could suit my needs and my family's need. Also, I also got like save money to provide my family the first two months.

It's important because when we arrived here in the US, we need to have the society current number before doing anything. And there is a preparation and we take time to start to work. So we have to provide ourselves with money because I don't know how it is for other countries, but my currency in Brazil is so low compared to dollar. It's basically what Ana did. I also made like a checklist medication, special medication that I need, like a prescription here in the US and what's easy to buy in Brazil. I got me to not have any trouble.

A lot of research and a lot of preparations speaking to other nurses who've gone through it. The Lefora talk show is just an example of that, but it sounds like a very similar experience to what Anna has also experienced. And I'm just looking in the chat, I see that there's another Brazilian nurse, Priscilla, who's saying Hi. She's in Memphis, Tennessee, thanks to Connetics USA. So, Priscilla, we excited that you are here. And obviously many nurses going through the same experience. The more that you can lean on each other, the better. So I see we have a question here from Donna. Donna is asking how much pocket money do I need to bring? Someday I'm going to be in Sanford father, North Dakota. So don't be excited that you're going to be joining Eliza. But, Anna, now that you've been through it, how much money do you think a nurse should be saving before they arrive in the United States? Because obviously, the more you bring, the better. But what's kind of the minimum in answer to Donna's question?

Well, it really depends. If you arrive as a family and you have kids, you're going to need more when I arrive. Seven years ago, I left my husband and my daughter in my in law, California, and I earned in New York by myself. I have $20,000 money and the house provided my bills are included. Basically, I never have any problem with my money. It really depends on a family coming alone or you're single, how many income?

I think good advice there anything to add from a financial perspective. As Eliza said, many nurses, when they come in, there's going to be a delay. And often nurses don't realize this. There's going to be a delay getting your Social Security. There might be a delay. Some States require Social Security to do the license endorsement. So there might be a delay to start working and earning. Some States might not. So there are differences. Anything to add from a financial perspective of how a nurse could prepare financially before they arrive in the United States?

One of the beauties of our program is that you can apply before you get here. You can actually open your savings account before you get here and wire money. That way it's here waiting for you before you arrive. And then as soon as you get here, we can go ahead and issue the credit cards and the checking account and the debit card and get all that sent to you. Obviously, we do recommend you coming with some cash because it does take about, we say seven to ten business days for that card to get to you at your location.

Definitely do some research that's a lot of comments that we've had is the drastic difference in currency compared to the US dollar. So do your research and figure out what your dollar is compared to what the US currency is, and then also factor in your bills if you're having to budget your rent, if it's not provided, anything like that before you get here. Transportation is a big one. You're not going to have a car the first day that you get here. So if you're going to be taking public transportation, if you're going to have to be utilizing Uber, all of those things. But my biggest advice would be to take any money that you're able to wire into a savings and get that done before, whether it's with us or a comparable program, get that money here waiting on you before you get here. That way when you arrive, you just have to visit or make a phone call to be able to access that money.

So as far as specific amounts go, that it just speaks to where the region, because the cost of living where I am in South Louisiana is going to be drastically different as to where anybody else is in the United States. It just varies region, state, even if you're rural, city or country living. So do your research, talk to your employer. They're probably going to be your best source if they're living there.

But, definitely find a program where you can get some money wired and have it waiting for you. In those circumstances, I will say you do not have to have a Social Security number to take advantage of many of the programs for people in your position. You would just need your government ID and your passport and then your offer letter from your employer stating that you are an employee to get that account open. So there are resources. Just educate yourself on those resources because they are available to you. So thank you for sharing all of that. I think one of the biggest worries for nurses is how to build their credit, how to access funds in that first few days before they can start working, and their complications for Social Security. Sometimes, especially in the pandemic, there can be delays, there can be delays with licensed endorsements. So really important to do your research.

I know from the Connetics USA perspective, our case specialists are well trained to help the nurses that work with Connetics specifically to help to educate you on how much money you need based on your family dynamics, if your children, spouse, that kind of thing, and also to give you the checklist to prepare you. I know that there are many other reputable companies that have similar programs. Okay, so we've got Arlene is from Jamaica. Charmaine is from the Philippines. Edna is from Deval City. Nicky saying Hi. Nikki is one of our Connecticut nurses already in the US. Great to see you.

We have Romel from the Philippines. Okay, so we have a question here that is from Takjo. Who's asking about jewelry? Gold? Is it taxable? I'm not sure if anybody on the panel knows the answer to that question. The only thing that I would suggest on that and just to kind of base exactly what Blair was saying about transferring money. And I think that's always the best option, I believe you have to claim not that I've ever done this, but you have to claim anything over if you're bringing into the country over $10,000. Correct. So if you're bringing in cash, that's the maximum amount of cash that you should be bringing in. The last thing you want to do is go through any challenges with customs on the day that you're supposed to be coming in. And as far as gold, I believe that counts as valuable assets. So it's something that they want to make sure that you're not trying to dispose of in the United States. I mean, it's all a risk, but not a risk I would want to take as I'm about to start my new life. So definitely something I would look into there on that. But I'm pretty confident that the Max that you're allowed to bring in value wise, is up to $10,000. Up to $10,000.

Thank you, James. I've checked that box a couple of times. No, I do not have 10,000 reminder. Another depressing moment and I checked it. Okay. Not alone. Helpful advice. Yes.

Both nurses have said that they worry about the driving, and that is obviously a concern. Is there anything that a nurse can do before they arrive in the United States to try and prepare? I mean, Anna was saying she wishes she'd driven before. If a nurse is not able to drive in their home country, any advice, any advice about licenses, anything that somebody can do before they arrive?

The best thing that you can do before you arrive, obviously, is if your country does offer some type of driving license, it does. Driving lessons. I have been in numerous foreign countries, and I assure you if you can drive in your home countries, you can drive in the United States. I've seen the driving in the Philippines. You're okay to drive here in the United States? Okay, fine. It's just you just have to learn to drive and kind of learn the new rules of the road and the signs. I mean, they're all pretty universal, but it's the idea is I would want to feel a little bit more comfortable driving someone else's car, learning the rules of the road, learning the stop. And before I step into a brand new vehicle or even a brand new used vehicle and drive that car here in the United States, it's definitely something I suggest getting an international driver's license or international driver's permit is something I suggest. It makes life a tad easier when you first arrive here in order to convert over to a US driver's license or the most unfortunate thing about the United States is we have 50 States. It's like 50 different countries. I can't even imagine what advance has to go through with the banking laws. But as far as the registration and licensing, the challenges that come up with registration and licensing, everybody's different.

Everybody requires different things. When it comes down to a US license or identification points, Social Security number, whatever that particular case is, International Source does have that information. And we do share that information with all the candidates. There is a document that we have provided that gives the breakdown of every single state, their requirements for a driver's license, registration, taxes, anything that you may need to know specifically. And that information is free and available to you whether you obtain a car from International Auto Source or not. It's something that really just to educate you and prepare you. That's a lot of good pointers and tips. And James, do you think it would be worthwhile for somebody to download the booklet from the DMV and start studying that before if possible? Definitely. They kind of give you some guidance. And now they actually, I was looking these last few days and preparing for some States and trying to help candidates that are coming in for obtaining a road test, where if you come to the US and you don't have a driver's license at all, you have to go through a five hour driving course which kind of teaches you about rules of the road. Then you can apply for your permit, then you could apply for a road test. Then there's a lot of steps there. So if your biggest concern is to get on the road as soon as possible, you would want to try to take care of some of this stuff before you arrive. And I would download the book before I arrived.

They also put example tests online, too, where they show the 20 questions that you're going to have to take. And I would go through that process as well just to kind of test yourself and see if you're prepared anything you can do to make your life a little bit easier before you arrive here. When you're trying to learn your new job and your new living conditions and your children are going to school and your husband's trying to figure out or your spouse is trying to figure out where you're going, anything you can do before you arrive is going to be extremely beneficial to you to get a lot less stress trying to obtain get prepared for driving or whatever you're going to do here in the US. Okay, good. So Rice is saying driving in the Philippines. So that's good, right? Yeah. That makes things definitely just easier all round with the Japanese motorbikes. I don't see many Japanese and motorbikes flying all around. You'll be okay, I promise. Yeah. And it depends which country you come from, because when I came from to the United States, from South Africa, I was an immigrant. I came here 20. This year will be 22 years. Wow. That's amazing. And the biggest challenge for me on the driving side was driving on the other side of the road which country you're coming from. But that can be a challenge in it, our roads themselves can be a challenge. Yes. Especially with the bad weather and New York, it's potholes. They catch up the road. That's a really good point. I came from a country that we don't drive automatic cars. I don't have to drive a manual car in my life. I think if I had to come here and drive a manual up here because nobody does.

That's kind of the preparation. And I think we've got some questions coming in. So I'm going to try and get through as many questions as we can on the different topics. So keep the questions coming because this makes it more fun and interactive. And I know these are things that are worrying nurses all around the world. So this is your time to ask preparing for that 1st 30 days. We want to give you as much information as possible. So we have Evangeline from Manila. So we have Paula saying Hi to Anna. Rain is saying good morning. Nash is asking about cash. So we're going to talk about that in a bit more detail. Nash, Louise is saying Hi from California. Hi, Louise. Welcome. We're excited to have you join us. And watching from California. Louise has also just arrived in the United States.

So let's talk a little bit more about some of the basics because some of the things that derail a nurse and can be very upsetting in the beginning of things like Social Security or not having the right plugs to be able with voltage can be different in different parts of the world or getting a cell phone. Anna, can you talk us through some of those communication aspects and how you handle that? And was there any challenges getting a cell phone, getting set up on the different voltage, the electricity, that kind of stuff?

When I arrived seven years ago. I have the old iPhone or when it plugged in, it didn't work. Luckily, my mother in law before we arrived, I completed that time and complete with flip card. But then I have to buy another one for my husband. For some reason, he's not in war. So they ask a lot of requirements from us. They need to know where you're at, where you're living, your payment, your monthly. It was only an express home.

You just buy a SIM card and you just buy a small amount of $0.10 and you're going to have a load. But in here we have a plan adding you from the cell phone here, but YouTube and Google, I learned how to use it.

Romel is asking can you give some advice regarding SIM card? Can we buy prepaid SIM card in the United States? Would you suggest people do that and use their own phone or would you suggest that they get a new phone?

Well, you can buy a SIM card, but I never cried. My mother in law gave me a cell phone and you can offer you for phone. But however, I think you have burning or do something about it with the same car that you're applying, like in when my mother in law came from California, we have to under a service of this kind of company. So, yes, you can buy your prepayment here. You can convert your cell phone.

Hopefully that gives you your answer. Alyssa, how have you handled the communication aspect, getting a phone? Did you get a SIM card? Did you get a new phone?

I didn't get a new phone yet because I don't have the Social Security number. So we bought a line for prepaid because it's essential to have an Internet outside, especially when you want to drive and you don't know the place, you have to use the GPS.

I don't see my life without Internet, even for a minute. And something that I thought was strange here in the US compared to my country, it's that not all the restaurants and bars and houses, they have free WiFi. So I think it's due to buy one prepaid phone meeting card. And you have your Social Security number because make a contract with the line and buy a phone together because they have this view, you can buy the phone and then have a contract. It's quite cheaper than my country also. I'm waiting now the security number to make line.

Okay. Thank you for that. So Ellen is asking how long does it take for us to start working on the floor and get paid our salary? Anna, how long did it take you?

Well, I got paid for my first name when I arrived. I arrived April 11 for two weeks. I got my paycheck. I never have no insurance. Home is my whole house. Even when I phone. You have a classroom, you're going to get paid, right? Okay, so you had to get your Social Security. And how long did it take you to get your Social Security number when they arrived? We're seeing an average of about six to eight weeks. And they didn't spell somebody's name wrong or put something incorrectly where that's a really scary situation. Yeah. Unfortunately, there's a Social Security is definitely a big barrier because there's a lot of things you can't do until you get your Social Security.

Can you maybe share with everybody what the Social Security number actually is? It's your identification number? Is your access point into so many aspects of America, of your personal identity, of your banking system, of getting paid?

We work very little with the Social Security numbers because we don't require them for our products and services. Once you get them, we do update them in the system. However, you don't need your Social Security number to take advantage of our products. So James would probably be able to say a lot more than I would on that aspect because we don't deal with them we don't ask you for it until you get it and you provide it to us, but it doesn't prohibit you from taking advantage of any of our financial assistance. That's an amazing benefit.

That's amazing. This is such a vital number and an important number. That's a really amazing benefit. Lisa, do you want to share with everybody what your status is in terms of Social Security right now because you've been in the country? What is it about two weeks? Right?

I'm here and it comes like in two days I have a meeting with the hospital to get the number. And the problem is I'm waiting for the Social Security number to make the endorsements in North Dakota, but I'm enjoying the time I'm here. I'm looking for the places in the city. I'm enjoying the food, the markets, the supermarkets are amazing. There are everything we need. And I love to Cook. So I'm joined this time, the time to have with my family because we are going to start to work like hard so worried. I'm concerned about getting the Social Security number.

Actually, to be honest, you're okay being not working for a little bit longer, then the chance to enjoy the city. My first time being here, I never have been here before.

Okay. And was it what you thought it was going to be like much better about the weather? Because I come from Brazil country. It's lovely. Of course, I'm not living here for 20 years. Like the people are not struggling, but I didn't feel like cold at home. Seems like we are in the normal weather in my country. It's not cold at all outside. If you dress like the proper cloth, you don't feel trouble with the weather. So everything is beautiful. The landscape is amazing. The people are kind. I'm in love much better than I ever thought in my life. That makes me so happy. I can cry when you say that because we know this journey to get to the United States, it's been such a wonderful experience.

Okay. So I think the main message, though, was the Social Security number for everybody who's watching and doesn't know what that is. So hopefully now you know what that is. And it really is the step number one, when you arrive in the United States, there are two ways of obtaining a Social Security number. So just for everybody to bear in mind, one is you can either apply for it at the DS 260 stage of your concierge green card process. And that is where if you've done that, then you just wait basically to receive it. The second way is not to apply at the DS 260 stage and apply when you arrive in the United States. And in a normal world, pre pandemic that was taking roughly about one to two weeks. But as James says, unfortunately with the pandemic that time has lengthened. And I think that's really just with the Lefora talk show. It's a matter of setting the expectations. Right? Because if you know, like Lisa, that it's going to take a while for you to get it, and then you can only do your license endorsement in that particular state. Once you've got Social Security, at least you know what to expect. I think a lot of stress comes when you don't know what to expect. So at least that gives some clarity.

Okay. I'd like to dig a little bit deeper now into the financial side. I know we spoke about the way that Advancial, the structure that Advance Shield offers, and Blair on the bank account and the car loan and getting a credit card. Can you talk us through a little bit more about that so that people can really understand the advantage? Advancial has got there are other banks that offer great programs, but I think Advanced has a particularly great program.

Yeah, absolutely. We have competitors that offer similar programs. One of the best things that I can say about our structure is that Americans don't even understand the US banking system. So for me to explain it to you in a short time frame, I mean, credit scoring in itself is just a whole other world. But the specifics we have banks and we have credit unions. So it's all about the ownership structure. Banks are not for profit. They are owned and operated by board as to where a credit Union, they are non profit. So any profit goes paid out in dividends to the members, lower rates, and we have less regulations than your standard traditional financial institution. With that being said, we belong to a network. Advancial only has so many physical brick and mortar locations around the United States. However, we are partners in a co-op where you can type in the zip code of where you're moving to or where your hospital is or where your apartment is, and you will find one of our partner institutions within a 510, 15 miles radius. And in bigger cities, there are a ton where you can actually physically walk in and do a business like you would in one of our branches. The day of the pandemic and modern technology, it's great to be able to do everything on the app or on a computer, but sometimes you need to actually go in and do something in person. Our partner institutions and our co-op make that possible. Not every credit Union or financial institution is a member of that. Your traditional banks, you have to go into your specific banks, brick and mortar. So it just allows us to access you guys, whether you're in North Dakota, New York or Tennessee, wherever you are.

Another great thing is like James said, it's very rare that financial institutions don't require a Social Security number. Our program is designed to benefit you and help you before you get here, as long as you have your Visa, your off letter, and your ID. Essentially, you send that in, we process it. We get your savings account open. That way, you have a place to put money, whether it's a little or a larger sum, to wire that money, to have it waiting for you when you get here. That way, you can contact us or visit a partner institution and withdraw that money if you would need cash.

Once you're here, we can go ahead and issue out your debit card, which connects to your checking account. We can set up the direct deposit so that your money that you're getting from your employer is going directly into your bank account. Everything can be automatic draft. And the scariest thing in the response that I've heard most from the nurses is that it's a scary thing to come to another country with a lot of cash and not knowing if you're going to be able to pay for this or pay for that when you have children. I mean, the expenses are outrageous. So when you're guaranteed to be able to get a credit limit, which is phenomenal if you would speak to any natural born American, some don't qualify for the limit that we're able to give to you guys.

Whenever you're guaranteed right off the bat to get that line of credit and to get that auto loan for that specific amount, it opens a lot of doors for you to not only be able to commute and travel, but to have access to charge things or purchase things that you may not have been able to purchase with the cash that you came over with. It's a very scary limbo to be in when you first get here. So like I said, my biggest recommendation is to get everything set up and squared away before it here. That way, it's one less waiting period, because when you apply for membership with us, it takes about 24 to48 hours for the membership to be opened. Then it will take another, however many hours to wire that money and then to get there to access it. If all of that's already done before you get here, it takes a solid two to three days off of your waiting period.

Yeah. So that's huge because it can really give you peace of mind to have that in those first few days or weeks before you start working in some States, as we said, like, at least in North Dakota, you've go to get your North Dakota endorsement. You only can do that once you've got an SSN here can be a layer. it can be incredibly stressful from a financial perspective, especially if you have family, if you don't have that line of credit.

This is very valuable information that we sharing today. One thing that we touched on that I want to just talk about a little bit more is credit and building your credit history Anna, before you came here, did you know what credit was?

No, not at all. Not at all. I have no idea. I have real people in California, but they never said anything about it. But you have to build a presence. Doesn't mean you always have very important piece of information.

Did you know about credit before you came here?

Yes, I did. It's something that we talk a lot in the WhatsApp group with my other friends who are nurses. And my husband also. He researched a lot about this. I left for him like this part of the job. And yeah, we have a good idea about the credit score. We came prepared to use our finances positively and create a good score. Okay. And if anybody hasn't seen it, I would encourage you to go to the nurse recruitment agency Connetics USA website.

You can also see it in the Lefora forum. Also, we did a whole show, I think, Blair, you were actually on that show. We did a whole hour on credit. What is credit? How do you build your credit? How to understand how credit works, why it's so important. So I would really encourage everybody to check out that show. And I think we'll put the link in the chat for anybody who's interested. But it's a whole topic in itself.

So, James, if a nurse purchased a car through International Auto Source, does that affect the credit in any way, good or bad or not at all?

Well, it's important that you pay. You have to pay the bank the loan. So there's two different ways you're going to have a situation where it could affect your credit in a situation of debt to income ratio. The amount of your monthly investment versus your monthly earnings. They consider those things as they give you more credit. As you go for maybe purchasing a home or purchasing another item, they'll start to look at it and say, ‘okay, your debt to income ratio is getting to a higher percentage you might have to pay.’ And this one, as Blair was mentioning, you'll never understand the credit situations in the US. They might charge you a higher rate, making your payment more and making it harder for your debt to income ratio, which I still don't understand today, but really just the understanding of protecting themselves against any kind of risk of that.

Hence, having a car loan is an important piece of credit. I would say probably 99% of people have car loans or some type of car lease or something in the US if they didn't purchase their vehicle for cash. So it's something that's expected to be on your credit report. And it's very important to ensure that you're paying that loan in a timely manner. Any kind of blip on your credit report can affect 2030 points, which could be a massive drop going from 700 to 670 which would affect anything as far as getting a mortgage, interest rates, credit cards, reduction in credit limits. It's very important to make sure that you maintain that on a monthly basis every single month.

I know we did a whole show on credit but if you can maybe sum up what is your best advice from a financial perspective for nurses that are coming to the United States in their first 30 days.

How to tackle credit is my absolute favorite thing in the world to talk about. It makes me really fun socially. But my number one piece of advice is, do not try to understand the credit scoring system right off the bat. You're going to come here and there's no such thing as being born into good credit. Everybody starts at the same playing field. So whenever you're a natural-born American, we say start establishing credit early, finance a computer, finance this credit because you need credit. But there's a huge difference between good credit and bad credit and it takes one late payment to ruin your credit but seven years of good payments to bring it back up. So my biggest thing is any type of debt that you're taking on. So this auto loan for us our limit is $25,000. If you get a vehicle for $25,000 tax, title, license and you're ready to go, make sure you make that payment every time if you have to separate it. And this is one of my biggest things.

If your auto loan payment is $500 a month, take split it in half. However many times you get paid and pay it then add maybe $5 to it. So do like $255 and over time that goes to your principal so you're able to pay it off quicker. You can save on interest. Take advantage of programs that if you do automatic withdrawal we take off an extra half of percent off of your interest rate. Essentially a credit score is what the US banking system gives you that shows your likeliness to pay something within a reasonable time.

There's a dozen factors that go into your credit score but the biggest one that has the biggest impact is the timeliness of your payment. So as long as you make sure that you're making these payments on time and making the accurate payments even if it's the minimum payment, you should be in a really good place. Like I said, one little mistake takes seven years to come off of your credit report which then affects your credit score. Everything you purchase that you finance, they will take a look at your credit score and your debt to income ratio. We see it at times where somebody may have a terrible credit score but they have a very healthy debt to income ratio so they're able to get by. And then we see people who have awful debt to income ratios that have great credit scores. You want to be a happy medium, you want to keep a healthy debt to income ratio. And you want to keep a healthy credit score because that'll give you healthy rates and APR, then it'll make your lifestyle much more affordable. But coming into little or no credit in your shoes, the biggest thing is you want to work hard to establish that credit. And the easiest way to do that  is to make those payments on time.

And to educate yourself about what it's all about. So under the finance umbrella, the finance topic, let's talk there. And I'm just watching the clock because we've got like nine minutes and we still got so much to talk about under the finance umbrella. Just talking a little bit about budgeting because for many international nurses, as we now know, they're going to have to come in, they're going to have to get Social Security. They're going to have to get the license endorsement in some States might not be able to do that before they arrive. So there might be a delay and sometimes some longer than others in getting to start working. Hannah, what would you say is the biggest mistake that you see nurses make in terms of budgeting in those first 30 days?

It will be converting your money for your company. And when I was new, I always convert the dollar amount in propel, so I wasn't able to build in the right way. I'm always short on my first name, especially when my husband and my daughter arrived from California and I realized that, hey, I wake up, you're now in the US, you're paying dollar, you're earning dollar. So it's not a big money in my mind. I have X amount of dollars. I'm not back home anymore. I made a lot of mistake with the rent, the bill, the WiFi, the water, the heating. I really know you have eight could be heating mistake. Stop converting your money from where you from, who you are. You have to think you're in the US, you're earning dollars, you're going to pay in dollars. And any point in it. Yeah. So I think that it's kind of like a mindset and getting your mind around that different change.

Eliza, you've just arrived. So it's probably not a fair question to ask you about budgeting there. From the financial broad financial perspective, what would you say is your best advice from a budgeting perspective? You've seen a lot of nurses come into the United States understanding the conversion is a huge thing.

It's very different. I didn't even understand the difference until I started doing this more in depth. Another thing, and I mentioned this in a conversation with one of our client groups. And some of the people were like, I don't understand that expression. And I think it was a cultural thing. And I was like, okay, let me think of how I can put it that you would understand keeping up with the Joneses. But we've now rebranded Keeping Up with the Kardashians because everybody knows that's a good thing. Make sure you're keeping up with the Kardashians. You're not coming to the US as a Kardashian.

Cost and the cost is drastic, it's geographical. But the amount of money that thing cost, people have no idea that physical drawdown of a dollar. So make sure you're living within your means. Make sure that you're prioritizing WiFi all of these things. Yeah. Obviously you need the basic living needs, but identify what is a need and what does it want, what is a priority, what is a necessity, what is a luxury. And make sure that your hard earned money is going to paying the necessities and leaving the luxuries for bonuses are given time because nobody's going to come here and be able to afford that lifestyle. And all the bells and whistles of what a lot of people believe is the American dream. It takes time. So that was our biggest takeaway was don't keep up with the Kardashians. Sorry, go ahead. Your own family here in the US, you have to remember that you also have a family back home and they are your number one priority. That's why you aim to come in the US.  You're right, it takes time also. You were saying and it's quite right, it takes time.

But I really like what you said there think of like what is a need and what is the one, because that's kind of a good distinguisher because you come into the US and you see lots of very attractive shiny objects in a more driven society. Okay. Everybody wants this and that. You're going to see the advertisements, you're going to see America is a consumer driven society. You have to put that in the back of your mind and focus on your main goal. Don't give in to the shiny lights and the beautiful picture.

It'll come keep the expenses low, be very careful. You start to look at buying those new Glitzy things and you do have your Social Security number. These stores will push credit on you, correct? So they will push store cards and they will push those things on you. I know where James and I, the last time we did something we like both at the same exact time, said if any facility or anybody says, no interest, no problem, big problem, big problem. Let the morning bells ring. If you hear ‘yes’ and they'll pull you in with that, with the new furniture, new TV, new items like that, you go into your place and then all of a sudden the next thing you have everything on credit. Now you've over exceeded your credit and in a year, all of that interest compounds and joins right onto that price. If you don't pay it off, there's a lot of tricks that they could use. It's not worth it, and it's not worth the pressure just because somebody else, like the Kardashians, has something. You don't have to have it right away. The American dream takes time to build. It's not given to you. It's not handed to you.


You're going to be able to build it and you're going to be able to get everything you want. It's all here for you. I think that's great advice and really important, because the last thing that you want is to get here. You worked so hard to get here and then get all stressed out because you are over your head in terms of expenses, and you haven't had a chance to figure out what your budget is going to be and what your expenses are going to be. And then everybody gets stressed out, and that's not good. Yeah. And then it's not fun. We talk people out of expensive cars. We have to think about the daycare, which is very expensive. That's expensive, too. Absolutely. We haven't even got there. And I'm looking at the clock, we have the hour. But there are a lot of things that you're going to and it's like, wow, where did the time go? Yeah, I know, but I think there are certain things like we haven't even spoken about. Most employers these days will give you like one month, two months or three months of initial housing.

So you don't have to worry about that initially. But it's going to be a time when you are going to have to pay for your own housing. So you got to find that. You're going to have to pay for childcare. You got to find that out. You got to look at schools if your children are school going in. So there's a lot of things to consider, and I think keeping your expenses low is very good advice. James, one last question. Just on the transportation side, kind of under the idea of the finances. There's a question here from Donna who's saying is it better to buy a brand new car if somebody doesn't know anything about cars?

Can you maybe talk the viewers through buying a car and how much they should spend on a car, especially looking at it from the perspective of being here in the first 30 days or so? Well, here's what I can promise you. I've been selling cars or working in the car business for 22 years, and I don't know anything about cars. Okay. I just know that they're going to get me from point A to point B. That's really what I'm focused on. And sometimes point C, the idea really is there's two different schools of thought there that if you buy a pre owned vehicle within maybe about two or three year period, as long as you purchase an extended warranty, that would cover that car, that's an option for you, especially if you don't know about vehicles.

When purchasing a new car. The new car automatically comes with either a three or 36,000 miles warranty or a five year 60,000 miles warranty. So you have that protection if there was any kind of challenge or any kind of issues with the vehicles, that the vehicle will be repaired, because that would be another concern that you have to have that if you purchase a vehicle that was too old and then there was a challenge with the car, that's another hidden expense where something like replacing brakes or replacing a transmission can be almost $2,000. And if you don't have that ready, that's not something that typically you can finance right now.

The market as it exists today is a very challenging market. It's challenging in the sense that people who are purchasing used cars today, they're going to be in a lot of trouble in a couple of years because these used cars are going to drop in value once the vehicle manufacturers start building cars again. We're at a point where microchips are delayed and they're preventing cars from being built. I don't know how many people pay attention to the news or to autos, but Audi, Volkswagen just had a boat sink in the Atlantic Ocean. It was $300 million worth of inventory. That's going to value of cars is going to create an issue where they can't build enough cars. Now, cars are worth more. But the thing about a car is it depreciates, and in time it will depreciate. It's a depreciating item. And in the sense of a used car, right now, you're paying almost a price of a new car. In three years or four years, will depreciate much faster than a new car. That's today. That's today's market and how it exists today. And it's most likely going to be like this for probably about the next year that we're going to be in this situation. It's a very, very unfortunate situation in a very difficult situation to manage for any kind of person who's out there for even us again, as Americans lease returns that are coming back, people aren't returning their leases. They're keeping them because the market prices are too high. So there's a lot of different challenges. So the easy answer because it was a very long winded one.

But the easy answer for that question would be right now, it's probably better to buy a new car than it is to buy a used car because of the challenge that you'll have in a few years with that used car value dropping, that would be the challenge.

That’s really interesting information, up to date information. Obviously, there are choices when you come to the United States, and transportation is a critical aspect, especially in those first 30 days. If you get a used car or get a pre owned car or a new car, that is something that would be at your choice and your discretion. But that's where we're so grateful to the panel for sharing advice, sharing up to date information. And that's what the Lafora talk show is all about.

We have so much more to discuss, but we are out of time. Thank you. So thank you to everybody on the panel who shared your experience, shared your advice, shared your pointers, shared your tips. So helpful for any nurse to bear in mind when they are coming to the United States and how to prepare for those first 30 days. I see Ms. Jean is watching from Texas. Hi, Ms. Jean, welcome one of the Lefora admin who does such a fabulous job where nurses are helping nurses. And as I said, that's what the Lefora talk shows all about. So we're going to finish off now. I just want to say one thing just about those first 30 days is we have done some shows before on credit history. So if you look at the Lefora talk show shows on credit history, we've also done a show on budgeting as well as a show on culture shock. And I think very important for any nurse who's arriving in the United States to watch those shows. You can see them in Lefora if you're a member of Lefora. If not, you can see them on the Connetics USA website, on the Connetics USA YouTube channel or social media. So really important to educate yourself about that because we've spoken about the practical things of the first 30 days, but we didn't even really talk about the emotional rollercoaster. When you come here, you come in, you're in the honeymoon in the beginning and then you might have a culture shot and how to navigate through that. So really important just to mention that for anybody who's watching.

Any last advice, Anna, that you want to give everybody who's watching about for the first 30 days. I'm very busy, but it all works with a company that will help you with your own referral. You can make it work and do not revamp and have a faith in yourself. America is not perfect, but America is the best thing that ever happened for my life and my family. So come on here and get your tax done. Okay. There you go. Awesome. Those are great words from Anna.