A quick look at why teachers are underpaid: 7 tips to financially survive as a teacher - Bright

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Year after year, studies show that high-performing teachers deliver high-performing students. So why do teachers remain so underpaid?

The complete answers are complicated and often local. But here are seven critical facts about teacher pay.

  • The national average teacher salary for the 2020–21 school year is $65,090-a 1.5% increase from the previous year.
  • The #RedforEd movement, which began in 2018, encouraged protests and strikes for higher wages and more funding.
  • Fifteen states, both red and blue, have either “proposed raising teacher pay or already done so, part of an effort to combat a national teacher shortage brewing for years.”
  • However, careers dominated by women pay “less on average than those with higher proportions of men” and “enjoy less prestige.”
  • Teachers make about 20% less than other professionals with similar education and experience. In many parts of the country, teachers live below the family living wage.
  • Up to a quarter of teachers leave the profession every year, and about 20% resort to second jobs.

It’s gratifying when neighbors and politicians acknowledge that teachers are underpaid. But practical advice can be hard to come by. In fact, financial literacy built especially for teachers is still in its early days.

Here are seven tips for getting by as a teacher.

1. Use teacher discounts

The vast majority of teachers (93%) pay for classroom supplies out of pocket. But teacher discounts are everywhere, from national chains to local retailers.

2. Apply for Teacher Next Door

Housing is more expensive than ever. The Teacher Next Door program offers grants and assistance with down payments, with no application fees.

3. Budget smart.

Review your expenses and see where you can cut back. Follow the 50/20/30 rule, a proven budget breakdown that works for just about anybody with any income:

  • 50% for essential needs
  • 20% to savings
  • 30% on wants and unexpected expenditures

4. Buy instead of leasing

Instead of leasing, buy a car and hold onto it. Once you’ve paid it off, you’ll have more room in your budget.

5. Look for districts with higher pay.

If you live in an area with multiple school districts, shop around. Look for districts with higher salaries.

6. Start a side hustle.

Gig work is everywhere and can often accommodate your full-time schedule. Consider doing something completely different, from handyman work to communication consulting.

7. Watch how others live well on less.

Financial well-being involves more than cash. It’s about balance, planning, and finding your own path. Find inspiration from others, in and out of teaching. Podcasts can be an especially easy way to understand how others cope, prioritize and manage finances.

Bright gets teachers.

We can help you make ends meet. Bright studies your spending habits and moves funds, and makes card payments when it makes sense for you.

Bright find the fastest, most innovative way to get you debt-free while boosting your credit score and building more savings.

It only takes 2 minutes. Just download the Bright app from the App Store or Google Play. Link your checking account, and your cards, set a few goals, and let Bright get to work!

Recommended Readings:

How to survive financially as a teacher

Financial Planning for Teachers: 7 smart tips

Originally published at https://www.brightmoney.co.