According to a 2006 study carried out by the National Education Association, says author Danny Kofke, half of teachers leave their profession within five years due to low pay and poor working conditions. Yet, soon after they got married, Kofke and his wife, Tracy, paid off a new car in two years, visited 10 countries, and managed their finances so that one of them could stay home the first year of their first child’s life—all on a teacher’s salary. They didn’t start out with a huge nest egg, either, but they were armed with common sense, good purchasing and saving practices, and a stated, shared goal. In fact, they might have taken as their motto: “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.”
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Kofke saved $2,000 toward a new car before he was 16, working summers as an appliance deliveryman (starting at age 14) instead of hanging out poolside and working on his tan. He continued this trend of saving for established goals as he entered college, graduated, got married, and began his teaching career.
How to Survive (and Perhaps Thrive) on a Teacher's Salary isn’t a how-to manual for would-be weekend investors, house-flippers or get-rich-quick hopefuls. Rather, each of the short 11 chapters highlights basic principles of careful planning, spending and saving. The word “sacrifice” comes up more than once. So does “family.” The Kofkes not only work hard together toward their goals, but they are part of a circle of family and friends on whom they draw for reciprocated favors. Self-control and family ties are part of the formula by which Kofke explains how to:
At 87 pages, this book is a quick read. It’s not literary genius, but you wouldn’t go to your financial planner expecting to hear Shakespeare recited. What you’d expect—and what you get in How to Survive (and Perhaps Thrive) on a Teacher's Salary—is plain-spoken, inspirational “you can do it” advice from someone who walks the walk. Whether or not you’re a teacher, if you’re looking for ways to save for the future or to get out of debt you’ve already amassed (and Kofke addresses that topic as well), you may just get schooled by How to Survive (and Perhaps Thrive) on a Teacher's Salary.
- retire with an meaningful nest egg
- own your possessions outright, including your house and cars
- invest in retirement accounts, starting from a young age
- establish a budget and stick to it, and
- live comfortably on a teacher’s salary.