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How do you ensure financial security as a teacher?

Hi! I'm a high school student in New York. I have always felt passionate about going into teaching, but over the years, I have contemplated if that profession will support the lifestyle I want to live. A lot of my teachers work second and even third jobs for financial support. Should I follow my heart or listen to my mind?

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Grandon’s Answer

#1 question is your priority. what do you prioritize in your life? Is it your financial position or your passion for helping others learn? I am in Grad School right now & the way i see it is, Yes i may not make a bunch of money working as a teacher (high-school) but i will have an awesome schedule & still have so much time in the day for my hobbys. One thing to note is you have an entire summer to work a 2nd job or pursue other things, whose to say your hobby's cant also make you some extra income? For instance if something like gaming is your hobby, you could dedicate your extra time to that & find a way to make income from it or say doing nails is something you like, you could do that on the side.
hope this helps
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much for your feedback. I appreciate it :) Lauren M.
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Kim’s Answer

some options:

1. live, and work, someplace that doesn't have a high cost of living. For example, in San Antonio you need half the money that you need in Brooklyn to maintain the same standard of living. https://www.nerdwallet.com/cost-of-living-calculator/compare/new-york-brooklyn-ny-vs-san-antonio-tx

2. Specialize. Rather than being a general teacher, specialize in something that is highly sought but in short supply. That could be music, sign language, coaching, etc. I don't know what it would be, this would require more research on your part.

3. Adjust "the lifestyle I want to live." I'm not sure what that lifestyle is. Rather than spending your summers travelling, become a park host at a campground. Learn to shop for bargains. Make your own decor rather than buying. An awful lot of financial independence has to do with adjusting wants and needs.

4. Money management. Don't run up credit cards, keep a good credit rating, if you have to use cards, find low interest ones. Take advantage of 0% interest payment plans (furniture, for example). Find ways to cut food expenses. Learn to save and invest. Have good insurance, including medical, car, disability, pet (if you have one). Establish an EMERGENCY FUND. In all caps because it's important. Unexpected expenses are the downfall of many people!

5. side-hustle. If you work a side job, do it for extra spending money - don't build your budget around it! And, let's say you are a music teacher. Tutoring in music is a good paying gig, much better than driving an Uber!

The sad reality of life is that normally you have either time or money, but not both. When you have lots of money, you are too busy working to have the time to spend it. And, when you have time on your hands, you don't have the money to do the things you want. So, we start out in life trying to make money. As we grow older, we understand that time is much more precious than money.

Bottom line, if you want to live a life of luxury, no, teaching is not for you. But, if you can have a reasonable standard of living that allows you to afford all of your needs and some of your wants, and you feel yourself being called to teach, then, go for it!

hope this has helped!
Kim
Thank you comment icon Thanks for the help Kim! I appreciate the list lol. Lauren M.
Thank you comment icon Great response, Kim! You are certainly correct that this is not a luxurious way to earn a living, but that it is one of many careers where one's choices in other areas will enable them to be financially secure. Thanks so much for your answer! Alexandra Carpenter, Admin
Thank you comment icon Thanks Alexandra! Sometimes I worry that I'm getting too old to be on here. . . these are definitely different times than what I grew up in! I can almost hear, "but Mom! You don't understand. . . . " Please let me know if I'm ever too far removed from the present reality Kim Igleheart
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Annika’s Answer

It can definitely be tough! I wanted to be a teacher so badly, and I did for a while. Then decided financially I wanted more so I became an HR director. Somehow, I ended up back in childcare and I’m so happy! Sometimes you just have to follow your heart! If your hearts in it, the rest doesn’t matter!
Thank you comment icon Hi Annika! Thanks for sharing your story. I think you are correct about heart, but it sounds like this Student might have a particular reason for needing to ensure financial security as a teacher. When you returned to childcare, was there anything you did specifically to ensure you made an adequate living in that career? Thanks in advance! Alexandra Carpenter, Admin
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Lauren’s Answer

As a former teacher, my candid advice is find a career that makes a good living. If you ever want to travel or invest, your best bet is to avoid teaching. You can always volunteer with youth organizations on the side or make enough money to retire early and then become a substitute teacher in your free time. There’s plenty of other ways to feed your soul and still be able to feed yourself. I was in the same position as you in high school; I wanted to change lives because so many of my teachers had changed mine, but I’m sad to say it’s just not worth it at the end of the day unless you want to live a really simple life without any luxuries. If teaching is what you really want to do, my advice is to teach outside of America. There are many European countries that value teachers as much as doctors and you might actually find a better quality of life. It wouldn’t hurt to research education in other countries if you’re open to moving abroad.
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