Dipping Into Savings Hurts

August 11, 2016

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..Location, Location, Location! This real estate adage couldn’t be any more true than in the world of International Teaching. Depending on where you are in the world, you CAN literally starve on a salary considered fantastic back home. Or conversely, you CAN live like royalty on an income so low you wouldn’t even consider it back home.

..An important, but often overlooked step in considering a school and location is a cost-of-living Vs salary comparison. The last thing you want is to find yourself dipping into savings each month just to make ends meet.

..Before you say you can save money at your low-paying International School by living like the locals, you’d be wise to thoroughly check out what their lifestyle is truly like. Remember, you’re going to be there month after month after month. So, if you can survive in humid, 100+ degree weather without AC, subsist on rice & beans & you never need an icy cold beer on a Friday evening, or reliable transportation, or freedom from vermin/mosquitoes/snakes/cockroaches the size of a Volkswagen, this may be a viable plan.

..But be aware that life in most emerging nations is rich in cultural experiences but surprisingly expensive if you want even a humble but higher standard of living. Minor conveniences such as running a small window air conditioner, for example, can easily run the electric bill up to over U.S.$350. It can be quite expensive to make yourself comfortable in the emerging world.

..On the flip side, beautiful, cultured Western Europe can deplete a paycheck (and possibly a savings account) quickly. With loads of teachers looking for positions in this part of the world & the number of jobs proportionately low, Western European schools get away with offering salaries that are disproportionately low in relation to the cost-of-living. Some teachers even report having to take on part-time jobs to supplement their salary with no savings possible. But for many, the opportunity to live in Europe make the temporary “poverty” all worthwhile.

..Fortunately there ARE many schools where the salary allows teachers to live well & save way more money each month they they ever could back home. And, of course, there’s the opportunity to live & work around the world that may offset any inconveniences a salary dictates. What’s YOUR take on this? We’d like to hear about your situation:

..Where in the world are you? How do salaries Vs cost-of-living compare at your school? What’s the name of your school?  Are you saving money and living well? Here’s a chance for us to Share the good & the bad & the ugly truths.