Author Topic: Educator: I can't manage to save  (Read 3577 times)

barbaz

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Educator: I can't manage to save
« on: October 09, 2017, 01:33:05 PM »
"I can't save for retirement. If I had more money, I would spend it on my car."

http://www.zeit.de/arbeit/2017-09/erzieherin-wohngruppe-jugendliche-gehaltsprotokoll

German article, Google translate below
Quote
Educator: "I can not manage to save"
What can an educator do? Florentine, 31, earned 1,590 euros net. She spends 230 euros a month for fuel and repairs on her bus

My job

Occupation: Educator in a residential group for young people in Berlin

Education: Educator at the Rudolf Steiner Institute for Social Pedagogy in Kassel

Weekly working hours: 30 hours. I have four night services and a weekend service a month. At night services, I usually sleep only briefly. Otherwise, I almost exclusively late service, which ends at 11pm.

My income

Gross income: 2,190 euros

Net income: 1,590 euros

My expenses

Rental price: 470 Euro. I live with three friends in Berlin-Neukölln. Our apartment has four large rooms. I can not imagine living alone, just because of the shifts and because I work when other people are free. When I get home, we often sit together on our balcony. I am very happy here.

Additional costs: 40 Euro

INSURANCE: I have neither private retirement nor insurance, which go beyond the compulsory insurance which is deducted from my salary.

Food: about 300 euros. We buy everything for our flat-sharing community in the organic shop. It is important to me to support agriculture, and it is self-evident to eat organic. I grew up with it. I do not eat out often, but rather cook at home, for example, thai soup, curries or even lasagna.

Mobile phone: 25 euros for a mobile phone contract

Travel expenses: For bus and train I give 30 euros. Most of the time I ride the bike.

Vacation expenses: about 230 euros. I travel almost exclusively with my vintage bus which I share with a friend. Unfortunately, we always have to buy spare parts such as brakes or new metal sheets. This is expensive and we try to repair as much as possible ourselves. In addition, the bus consumes a lot of fuel, in total we spend about 70 euros per month. Last summer we were on the bus six weeks in Portugal, this year we had unfortunately only time for weekend trips: We went to the Elbe Sandstone Mountains and the Mecklenburg Lake District.

Clothes: 60 euros. I buy my clothes secondhand.

Body care: 30 euros. Here, too, I mainly buy biological care products; alone the daily cream costs 15 euros.

Books and music: 70 euros. I love bookstores. Most of the time, I read novels, biographies or specialist literature. At the moment, I read rubble and trauma , a book by Bernd Ruf on pedagogical approaches, such as traumatized adolescents who come from a war zone, for example. For music, I spend around 40 euros, I often go to hip-hop concerts and sometimes buy a CD.

Hobbies and leisure: 210 euros. I spend 45 euros for a hip-hop dance course - which I visit about once a week, because of the shifts I can unfortunately not go there regularly. For movies, pubs, and festivals I spend about 120 euros. I also have a lot to do with my sewing machine: clothes and pants for my niece and my nephews or for myself. For fabrics, I spend about 35 euros. In addition, I donate five euros to a club: the bicycle repair wheels and gives them to people who can afford no. Sometimes I help myself repair.

So much remains in the end

About 100 euros. I can not make money on my side. If I could afford it, I would go on holiday with my bus more often.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2017, 01:19:04 AM by barbaz »

Kimera757

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Re: Educator: I can't manage to save
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2017, 02:23:35 PM »
I think we need a little clarification, for those of us not familiar with German policies.

Additional costs: 40 Euro

INSURANCE: I have neither private retirement nor insurance, which go beyond the compulsory insurance which is deducted from my salary.

What sort of insurance? Renter's? Health? Pension?

Quote
Food: about 300 euros. We buy everything for our WG in the organic shop. It is important to me to support agriculture, and it is self-evident to eat organic. I grew up with it. I do not eat out often, but rather cook at home, for example, thai soup, curries or even lasagna.

That sounds expensive. A euro is more than an American dollar. Maybe food is really expensive in Germany?

Quote
Mobile phone: 25 euros for a mobile phone contract

Travel expenses: For bus and train I give 30 euros. Most of the time I ride the bike.

Alright to the first, very good for the second.

Quote
Vacation expenses: about 230 euros. I travel almost exclusively with my bus, a classic car, which I share with a friend. Unfortunately, we always have to buy spare parts such as brakes or new metal sheets. This is expensive and we try to repair as much as possible ourselves. In addition, the bus consumes a lot of fuel, in total we spend about 70 euros per month. Last summer we were on the bus six weeks in Portugal, this year we had unfortunately only time for weekend trips: We went to the Elbe Sandstone Mountains and the Mecklenburg Lake District.

"My bus, a classic car..." I'm thinking there might be a translation issue there.

In any event, 230 euros per month? How do you afford a six week vacation when you only work 30 hours per week?

The educator should consider selling their bus (if that's what is is) or their expensive car (if that's what it is) or both (if they have both!) and get a more fuel-efficient beater. I'm mystified why someone who buys organic food and organic skin care products wouldn't get something fuel-efficient. And if they take climate change is hot air... they'd still be saving money!

I would also try to avoid taking such an unreliable vehicle so far from home.

Quote
Clothes: 60 euros. I buy my clothes secondhand.

It's hard to say if this is rational or not. I don't think you normally need to spend 60 euros per month on clothing.

Quote
Body care: 30 euros. Here, too, I mainly buy biological care products; alone the daily cream costs 15 euros.

That might not be too crazy.

Quote
Books and music: 70 euros. I love bookstores. Most of the time, I read novels, biographies or specialist literature. At the moment, I read rubble and trauma , a book by Bernd Ruf on pedagogical approaches, such as traumatized adolescents who come from a war zone, for example. For music, I spend around 40 euros, I often go to hip-hop concerts and sometimes buy a CD.

The teacher should see if Germany has Overdrive or similar technologies to borrow books online from a library for free. There's also Openlibrary, etc. The amount spent on music seems pretty high for someone who is Just About Managing as well.

Quote
Hobbies and leisure: 210 euros. I spend 45 euros for a hip-hop dance course - which I visit about once a week, because of the shifts I can unfortunately not go there regularly. For movies, pubs, and festivals I spend about 120 euros.

That is way too much. The educator cannot afford this on their salary.

Quote
I also have a lot to do with my sewing machine: clothes and pants for my niece and my nephews or for myself. For fabrics, I spend about 35 euros. In addition, I donate five euros to a club: the bicycle repair wheels and gives them to people who can afford no. Sometimes I help myself repair.

This doesn't seem too crazy. Especially sewing clothing!

Quote
About 100 euros. I can not make money on my side.

They're working only 30 hours per week... yes they can make money on the side.

Hula Hoop

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Re: Educator: I can't manage to save
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2017, 02:35:31 PM »
I get the feeling that this is a bad Google translate.  I'm really confused. So many questions!  :)

barbaz

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Educator: I can't manage to save
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2017, 12:57:02 AM »
I think we need a little clarification, for those of us not familiar with German policies.

INSURANCE: I have neither private retirement nor insurance, which go beyond the compulsory insurance which is deducted from my salary.

What sort of insurance? Renter's? Health? Pension?
Public insurance includes health, social security and pension, although she won't get much out of the last one. At her income level, public pension will cover living, health, and food, and that's it.

Quote
Quote
Food: about 300 euros. We buy everything for our WG in the organic shop. It is important to me to support agriculture, and it is self-evident to eat organic. I grew up with it. I do not eat out often, but rather cook at home, for example, thai soup, curries or even lasagna.

That sounds expensive. A euro is more than an American dollar. Maybe food is really expensive in Germany?
Food is generally cheaper here than in the US, 300 can feed a family of 3, even if you buy organic. "Organic Shops" sell luxury food to high-income people, you can get organic food for a fraction of the price at discounters like Aldi.

Quote
"My bus, a classic car..." I'm thinking there might be a translation issue there.

In any event, 230 euros per month? How do you afford a six week vacation when you only work 30 hours per week?

The educator should consider selling their bus (if that's what is is) or their expensive car (if that's what it is) or both (if they have both!) and get a more fuel-efficient beater. I'm mystified why someone who buys organic food and organic skin care products wouldn't get something fuel-efficient. And if they take climate change is hot air... they'd still be saving money!

I would also try to avoid taking such an unreliable vehicle so far from home.
Maybe "vintage bus" is the better translation. You can see it in the first picture. It's old, high maintenance, low MPG, and way too big unless you have 7 children.

Quote
Quote
Books and music: 70 euros. I love bookstores. Most of the time, I read novels, biographies or specialist literature. At the moment, I read rubble and trauma , a book by Bernd Ruf on pedagogical approaches, such as traumatized adolescents who come from a war zone, for example. For music, I spend around 40 euros, I often go to hip-hop concerts and sometimes buy a CD.

The teacher should see if Germany has Overdrive or similar technologies to borrow books online from a library for free. There's also Openlibrary, etc. The amount spent on music seems pretty high for someone who is Just About Managing as well.
Membership in a library is 10 per year. This also gives you access to movies, CDs and ebooks.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2017, 04:08:26 AM by barbaz »

Linda_Norway

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Re: Educator: I can't manage to save
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2017, 03:04:54 AM »
"I cannot save because I drive a money-draining buss and make other expensive choices."

Was this an article in a new paper about how difficult it is for young people to make a living? It would have been nice with some redactional notes, summarizing how your choices influence your ability to save, and how working 30 hours a week is not very much. It would be a good idea of they would teach basic finance in schools at several levels, so that this kind of people would not have learned these habits.

barbaz

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Re: Educator: I can't manage to save
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2017, 05:02:14 AM »
A lot of comments in the article say she can't take a second job because of irregular work times and she probably can't work full time in her current job either. But even if she can't increase her income, she has enough money to save some.

"I cannot save because I drive a money-draining buss and make other expensive choices."

Was this an article in a new paper about how difficult it is for young people to make a living? It would have been nice with some redactional notes, summarizing how your choices influence your ability to save, and how working 30 hours a week is not very much. It would be a good idea if they would teach basic finance in schools at several levels, so that this kind of people would not have learned these habits.
The whole story is provided without comment, but the way it's presented it seems to be about how difficult things are. At least in the comments most people caught that her food, car and hobbies spendings are way too high.

Just Joe

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Re: Educator: I can't manage to save
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2017, 01:42:57 PM »
Maybe it is a VW Bus aka van?

Regardless I think they can't afford it. Buy a used scooter or some more modern grocery getter fuel sipper hatchback.

CU Tiger

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Re: Educator: I can't manage to save
« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2017, 10:31:57 PM »
I have a lot of family in Germany, and this youngish teacher sounds fairly typical of Germans I know. As a rule most of them do things the way they have always done them, and changing does not seem easy.

For example, if you are used to taking four weeks of vacation a year, and going camping around Europe, that is what you think you need to do to relax. A stay-cation will not meet your beliefs about your vacation needs. We have seen this with a recently divorced cousin, her financial situation has changed, but she is not, so far, changing her spending habits.
There are two ways to get enough: one is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less. - G.K. Chesterton

LennStar

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Re: Educator: I can't manage to save
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2017, 12:39:00 AM »
But the worst point is that this is a teacher for - I guess - problem children. Where should those problem-heavy children learn to live without problems if even the teacher with 50% more then basic wage (for 40 hours, not 30) has money problems?
50% of the problems someone can have start there after all!

MrsPete

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Re: Educator: I can't manage to save
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2017, 12:33:52 PM »
Vacation expenses: about 230 euros. I travel almost exclusively with my bus, a classic car, which I share with a friend. Unfortunately, we always have to buy spare parts such as brakes or new metal sheets. This is expensive and we try to repair as much as possible ourselves. In addition, the bus consumes a lot of fuel, in total we spend about 70 euros per month. Last summer we were on the bus six weeks in Portugal, this year we had unfortunately only time for weekend trips: We went to the Elbe Sandstone Mountains and the Mecklenburg Lake District ...

Hobbies and leisure: 210 euros. I spend 45 euros for a hip-hop dance course - which I visit about once a week, because of the shifts I can unfortunately not go there regularly. For movies, pubs, and festivals I spend about 120 euros.
I can't relate to euros or costs in other countries, but I understand that when you earn 2190 euros and spend 440 euros on vacation, hobbies, and leisure, you've spent 20% of your salary on fun non-essentials. 

They're working only 30 hours per week... yes they can make money on the side.
This was the second thing that came to mind right away.  I understand that working late into the evening (the above poster assumed "problem children"; I assumed handicapped children in a group home) will limit the second jobs available, but it's possible.  A number of my fellow teachers are teaching online classes in addition to their regular jobs; that's super flexible.  A job cooking/waiting tables at a breakfast place would work.  A seasonal job during the holidays would work.  With only 30 hours of work coupled with high leisure spending ... yeah, you can't expect to get ahead.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2017, 12:36:56 PM by MrsPete »

Peony

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Re: Educator: I can't manage to save
« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2017, 01:29:35 PM »
This person sounds like an ideal candidate to pick up babysitting gigs on the side, which might be quite lucrative as she is an "educator" who probably can do a lot of great enrichment.

Imma

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Re: Educator: I can't manage to save
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2017, 02:41:09 AM »
300 is insane to spend on food in Germany. Berlin is a bit more expensive than the rest of Germany, but it's still the cheapest capital in western Europe. I live close to the German border and we go food shopping in Germany because everything is so cheap there. Even organic produce often costs less than the regular counterpart over here. I paid 1,35 for 2,5 kg of organic potatoes at Aldi just this Saturday. From the article it sounds like they cook and eat together, which means she can buy in bulk and spend even less money.

The classic car is probably a old VW van. And this is on top of spending on public traffic and a bike ...  I have never understood why oldtimer vans are so popular among hippies. If you are so concerned about the environment, and most of them are, then the last thing you should do is drive a 40-year old fuel inefficient van instead of a small modern, efficient, possibly electric car. I guess they like the look and the fact that you can take all your friends and your music equipment. I saw two punks last week in the parking lot of the local supermarket. They had the engine running when I went in and it was still running when I came out of the store, probably so they could listen to music. Meanwhile they were probably eating their vegan lunch.

Her net wage is fairly low though. I'm not familiar with German wages, but for someone who probably has a degree, 1600/net for 30 hours including night shifts and weekend shifts, it doesn't sound like much. Normally for these types of jobs with many night shifts and weekend shifts, you get some sort of compensation for those bad shifts.

Just Joe

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Re: Educator: I can't manage to save
« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2017, 12:12:08 PM »
The VW vans are as much a part of the hippie wannabe "style" as the giant pickup trucks are for the American guys. I doubt either group are giving much thought to the environment. This lady could probably get by just as well with a modern minivan or hatchback car if she wanted to.

I don't mind antique cars/vans/trucks b/c they generally don't rack up many miles in a year's time. I don't see much point to them either for folks who can't keep them in good repair all by themselves b/c any old car is maintenance intensive by design. It just took more work to keep these antiques reliable even when they were new. Adjust the carburetor, adjust the brakes, adjust the valves, grease and oil everything, adjust the timing and points, etc.

When I drove these kinds of cars as daily drivers years ago I could do all the maintenance and 99% of the repairs and they were affordable to operate if a person did the work at home. Every 1500 miles on the aircooled VWs though everything needed adjustment or at least a quick check.

barbaz

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Re: Educator: I can't manage to save
« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2017, 02:51:08 PM »
The VW vans are as much a part of the hippie wannabe "style" as the giant pickup trucks are for the American guys. I doubt either group are giving much thought to the environment.
At least the American trucker is consistent in his world view (if he is a denialist), the hippie not so much.

300 is insane to spend on food in Germany. Berlin is a bit more expensive than the rest of Germany, but it's still the cheapest capital in western Europe. I live close to the German border and we go food shopping in Germany because everything is so cheap there. Even organic produce often costs less than the regular counterpart over here. I paid 1,35 for 2,5 kg of organic potatoes at Aldi just this Saturday. From the article it sounds like they cook and eat together, which means she can buy in bulk and spend even less money.
Now I'm tempted to go to the nearest Bio Company to see what they charge for potatoes.

Also interesting, according to this study (sorry, German again) a representative selection of food items that costs 21.01 in Germany would cost 31.54 or 37.21$ in the US. From where are you coming, Imma?

Quote
Her net wage is fairly low though. I'm not familiar with German wages, but for someone who probably has a degree, 1600/net for 30 hours including night shifts and weekend shifts, it doesn't sound like much. Normally for these types of jobs with many night shifts and weekend shifts, you get some sort of compensation for those bad shifts.
Berlin is paying shit wages to its public workers, lowest in Germany I think.

LennStar

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Re: Educator: I can't manage to save
« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2017, 03:49:25 AM »
Her net wage is fairly low though. I'm not familiar with German wages, but for someone who probably has a degree, 1600/net for 30 hours including night shifts and weekend shifts, it doesn't sound like much. Normally for these types of jobs with many night shifts and weekend shifts, you get some sort of compensation for those bad shifts.
In 2013 average wage was 30K (before any taxes etc.) the median was 20K. 2017 average should be up to 37K but still you can see it is not a high paying country if you are not in the top 30%. And if you are in the lower 30%.... when minimum wage was introduced at 8,50 millions of people got a raise.

And surprise! The before propagated 2 million lost jobs ended up being about 20K. FUD...

Imma

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Re: Educator: I can't manage to save
« Reply #15 on: October 17, 2017, 04:24:55 AM »


300 is insane to spend on food in Germany. Berlin is a bit more expensive than the rest of Germany, but it's still the cheapest capital in western Europe. I live close to the German border and we go food shopping in Germany because everything is so cheap there. Even organic produce often costs less than the regular counterpart over here. I paid 1,35 for 2,5 kg of organic potatoes at Aldi just this Saturday. From the article it sounds like they cook and eat together, which means she can buy in bulk and spend even less money.
Now I'm tempted to go to the nearest Bio Company to see what they charge for potatoes.

Also interesting, according to this study (sorry, German again) a representative selection of food items that costs 21.01 in Germany would cost 31.54 or 37.21$ in the US. From where are you coming, Imma?



NL. We go shopping in Kreis Kleve. We usually go to Aldi or Penny Market for groceries and to DM for personal care products. I still have my receipt, some comparison:

400 gr can kidneybeans:  DE 0,49 - NL 0,95
690 gr bottle passata:      DE 0.79 - NL 1,99 ( currently on discount, 2nd one for free, DE is still cheaper....)
1,25 l Coca-cola:             DE 0.89  - NL 1,62 for 1 liter

I don't really drink but alcohol is also much, much cheaper. We bought one 700 ml bottle of cider for 0,90 cents. It's at least 1,00 for a 300 ml bottle over here. I don't think I have my DM receipt, but most stuff is 30-40% cheaper. A name brand Labello stick is like 1,50 and they are 2,50 over here. I buy organic care products in Germany for the same price or even less than I'd pay for regular in here. In many border areas, shopping centers are built at locations that are convenient for foreign shoppers. You barely see a German plate in the car park.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2017, 04:40:03 AM by Imma »

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Re: Educator: I can't manage to save
« Reply #16 on: October 17, 2017, 12:36:49 PM »
I get the feeling that this is a bad Google translate.  I'm really confused. So many questions!  :)
Swap the term "bus" for "Mercedes Uni-Mog" -- a large all terrain but street legal vehicle used by many travel to remote rugged locations (month long or weekend travel)....   the translation will make a lot more sense.  (or think of an old Land Rover, if you must).   Often used to tour africa.

http://www.truckcampermagazine.com/off-road/extreme-rigs/building-a-unimog-truck-camper-rig/

StockBeard

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Re: Educator: I can't manage to save
« Reply #17 on: October 17, 2017, 11:17:42 PM »
Her net wage is fairly low though. I'm not familiar with German wages, but for someone who probably has a degree, 1600/net for 30 hours including night shifts and weekend shifts, it doesn't sound like much. Normally for these types of jobs with many night shifts and weekend shifts, you get some sort of compensation for those bad shifts.

Having lived and worked in 3 countries (France, Japan, US), it's eye-opening how wages for similar jobs can vary depending on the political/social background and salary expectations for each country.

I'm not shocked at her salary. I was making similar income (maybe a bit more) as a junior engineer in France (granted, that was a bit more than 10 years ago, factor in inflation, and her salary is definitely not great). I have seen junior engineers in the US make 4 to 6 times that, for the exact same job.

Imma

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Re: Educator: I can't manage to save
« Reply #18 on: October 18, 2017, 02:47:37 AM »
Her net wage is fairly low though. I'm not familiar with German wages, but for someone who probably has a degree, 1600/net for 30 hours including night shifts and weekend shifts, it doesn't sound like much. Normally for these types of jobs with many night shifts and weekend shifts, you get some sort of compensation for those bad shifts.

Having lived and worked in 3 countries (France, Japan, US), it's eye-opening how wages for similar jobs can vary depending on the political/social background and salary expectations for each country.

I'm not shocked at her salary. I was making similar income (maybe a bit more) as a junior engineer in France (granted, that was a bit more than 10 years ago, factor in inflation, and her salary is definitely not great). I have seen junior engineers in the US make 4 to 6 times that, for the exact same job.

It's about 33000/gross/fulltime. I make more (about 36000) as a bookkeeper in NL, and I have only a few years experience in this field, gaps in my work experience due to illness and an unrelated degree. It's a super easy office job. I don't really know what anyone in her line of work would make in my country, but it seems like an intense job with night and weekend shifts too. I hope they earn more than 33000.

havregryn

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Re: Educator: I can't manage to save
« Reply #19 on: October 18, 2017, 04:20:49 AM »
She doesn't necessarily have a degree, this job she has can be anything from actually being a trained specialist working with troubled teens to just being a kind of a designated adult in a group of teens in care who can't for legal reasons ever be left unattended. I don't think she's a teacher, this is probably a google translate from https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/P%C3%A4dagoge and at least in Sweden now you don't really need any kind of real university education to do this kind of a job...you really only need a criminal clearance and that's it.

havregryn

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Re: Educator: I can't manage to save
« Reply #20 on: October 18, 2017, 04:25:29 AM »
Her net wage is fairly low though. I'm not familiar with German wages, but for someone who probably has a degree, 1600/net for 30 hours including night shifts and weekend shifts, it doesn't sound like much. Normally for these types of jobs with many night shifts and weekend shifts, you get some sort of compensation for those bad shifts.

Having lived and worked in 3 countries (France, Japan, US), it's eye-opening how wages for similar jobs can vary depending on the political/social background and salary expectations for each country.

I'm not shocked at her salary. I was making similar income (maybe a bit more) as a junior engineer in France (granted, that was a bit more than 10 years ago, factor in inflation, and her salary is definitely not great). I have seen junior engineers in the US make 4 to 6 times that, for the exact same job.

Yes, this could be interesting reading for US doctors
http://www.zeit.de/arbeit/2017-09/arzt-gehalt-ausgaben-einnahmen-protokoll

This guy takes home 3300 (3900$) every month for working 50-60 hours as a doctor.
It's a different planet really...you really can't earn as much money in Europe as you can in the US, but you have the benefit of free healthcare and education. I wouldn't trade ever but I just feel it's important to really reflect on this as it has vastly different implications for Mustachianism. You really can't save millions working here but you need to budget a lot less for unforeseen events.

Just Joe

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Re: Educator: I can't manage to save
« Reply #21 on: October 18, 2017, 08:02:11 AM »
I get the feeling that this is a bad Google translate.  I'm really confused. So many questions!  :)
Swap the term "bus" for "Mercedes Uni-Mog" -- a large all terrain but street legal vehicle used by many travel to remote rugged locations (month long or weekend travel)....   the translation will make a lot more sense.  (or think of an old Land Rover, if you must).   Often used to tour africa.

http://www.truckcampermagazine.com/off-road/extreme-rigs/building-a-unimog-truck-camper-rig/

Yep - I know about Unimogs. I have seen one of the expedition camper conversions in a national park once. At least an old VW bus would get low-20s MPG compared to the Unimog that might get a fraction of that. I can't imagine what it costs to drive such a thing with German fuel prices. 

Goldielocks

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Re: Educator: I can't manage to save
« Reply #22 on: October 18, 2017, 11:48:02 AM »
I get the feeling that this is a bad Google translate.  I'm really confused. So many questions!  :)
Swap the term "bus" for "Mercedes Uni-Mog" -- a large all terrain but street legal vehicle used by many travel to remote rugged locations (month long or weekend travel)....   the translation will make a lot more sense.  (or think of an old Land Rover, if you must).   Often used to tour africa.

http://www.truckcampermagazine.com/off-road/extreme-rigs/building-a-unimog-truck-camper-rig/

Yep - I know about Unimogs. I have seen one of the expedition camper conversions in a national park once. At least an old VW bus would get low-20s MPG compared to the Unimog that might get a fraction of that. I can't imagine what it costs to drive such a thing with German fuel prices.

Well, 10-14 MPG and a top speed, typically, of 70 kmph that turns a 6 hour drive into a 10 hour drive.  (Source - friends are now on their second)

Imma

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Re: Educator: I can't manage to save
« Reply #23 on: October 18, 2017, 02:20:09 PM »
She doesn't necessarily have a degree, this job she has can be anything from actually being a trained specialist working with troubled teens to just being a kind of a designated adult in a group of teens in care who can't for legal reasons ever be left unattended. I don't think she's a teacher, this is probably a google translate from https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/P%C3%A4dagoge and at least in Sweden now you don't really need any kind of real university education to do this kind of a job...you really only need a criminal clearance and that's it.

I assumed that because in the NL I think you would need a degree in applied science for anything like that.

I too sometimes think 'wow, look at those American salaries' and it annoys me that in my country you're almost punished if you take care of yourself financially. It's very hard to FIRE because of wealth tax and a lot less possibilities for tax-deferred retirement savings.

But then I think what kind of life I would have had in the USA, being from a working class environment and diagnosed with a chronic ilness in my teens. All in all I pay about 3000/year for my medical care and that's about 20% of what it actually costs. If I can't work anymore, I will get disability payments of 950/net per month until I retire. When I reach retirement age, I will get a government pension of 750/net per month for the rest of my life. The only thing I need to do for that is live here, you don't even have to work to qualify. I'm not sure these benefits still exist in a couple of decades from now, but currently my government is looking after the average person quite well. The only thing that's hard to do is RE - but that was a conscious policy decision. We have a strong calvinistic heritage, not working is frowned upon and so is 'flaunting your wealth' by retiring early.

havregryn

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Re: Educator: I can't manage to save
« Reply #24 on: October 19, 2017, 03:12:56 AM »
To be honest, I know very little about the US but just from casually browsing this forum I don't see what would the difference be between our pension system and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Security_(United_States), I think the only real difference here is that we have a lot easier access to health insurance and that healthcare simply doesn't cost all that much to begin with.
And we (and our kids) get to study for free.
Don't get me wrong, I'd never trade in this for being able to make more money (on the other hand we're quite lucky and in Luxembourg which is a bit of an outlier so we are making money that would qualify as good even in the US), I am just curious how this social security thing seems to be more or less the same thing but relying on it is seen as a last resort kind of thing, whereas in Europe it's just generally assumed that's exactly what you'll be living off in old age and why would you even need something else.

Imma

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Re: Educator: I can't manage to save
« Reply #25 on: October 19, 2017, 11:08:39 AM »
There are important differences between Dutch social security and US social security, as far as I know through this forum. I don't know about other European countries of course.

I think Americans can decide their own retirement age, at least they can choose to claim SS from a certain age. In NL, the government decides when your cohort can claim SS and they announce it only 5 years before the date. My mother is nearly 60, she expects to work until she's 68 but that date is not set in stone yet. I'm 30 years younger, the way this is going we'll have to work until we're in our 70s.
If you want to retire earlier than that, you can just quit working of course, but you'll need to get your income from your taxable accounts. You can't access pre-tax retirement accounts before the state retirement age. It's a huge problem: many people of around my mother's age feel ready for retirement (she's not, at all, she's thinking of starting a new business!). They have state pension and company pension starting from government retirement age and enough money in their private retirement accounts to bridge the gap. They just can't access the money. The positive side is that everyone qualifies for state pension as long as you've lived in this country between the ages of 15 and 65. You don't have to have a job. I think in the US you earn a certain amount of social security through your payments.

I think generally in Europe, the government has kind of a set plan of how you should live your life : you can only borrow money for 4 years of fulltime university between the ages of 18 and 30. You can only retire at the state pension age. You can only deduct mortgage interest for 30 years of your life (you're supposed to have paid it off by then). For the average person these are good guidelines, but if you're not average, it doesn't work like that.

I'm a perfect example of someone who's distinctly not average. I have a chronic illness that doesn't allow me to work or study fulltime. That meant I didn't qualify for government aid in university. After a short, failed attempt at going to university fulltime, I chose to take a parttime degree and paid for it out of pocket. I qualify for a certain disability benefit for people who have lifetime disabilities from childhood, but to convince the government agency that pays me that I was perfectly able to study from home and get a small parttime job wasn't easy. In the end it did work out - I took the degree, I work 5 x 4 hours, I get paid very well for what I do and much more than my benefit used to be. But it is risky. If I am earning my own income for too long without hospital stays in between, I might not qualify again for this benefit if I fell ill again ( I think I "need" a hospital stay in the next 4 years, unless the minor surgery I had on Monday qualifies, in that case I'm safe for another 5 years). I would be without income in that case and in the best case scenario my benefit is still 30% lower than my current salary.  I am financially sensible, so I have money in my emergency fund for this possibility, but any money over 25000 per person is subject to a wealth tax. My mortgage has a low interest % so it's not extremely interesting to pay it off early, but any money over this threshold we will be putting into the mortgage because wealth tied up in your residence is exempt from wealth tax.

I am looking to RE at some point because I'm not healthy. I spend all my energy on work with little left for living my private life. RE is very difficult to achieve and it feels a bit unfair to me, because I probably won't actually enjoy my conventional retirement. It's not unlikely I'll not reach that age. I am trying to navigate the complicated tax planning of our social security system (and I'm sure in the US people have their own problems doing that) but I'm a bookkeeper with a law degree and a special interest in FI and it's hard even for me.

I think in general, the US government is geared more towards giving people responsibility to live their own lives. The downside is of course that if you end up in difficult circumstances, there's less help available to you.

Hula Hoop

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Re: Educator: I can't manage to save
« Reply #26 on: October 19, 2017, 12:50:45 PM »

I think generally in Europe, the government has kind of a set plan of how you should live your life : you can only borrow money for 4 years of fulltime university between the ages of 18 and 30. You can only retire at the state pension age. You can only deduct mortgage interest for 30 years of your life (you're supposed to have paid it off by then). For the average person these are good guidelines, but if you're not average, it doesn't work like that.

IMO it's best not to make generalizations about Europe.  This is how things are in the Netherlands but it's not how things work in the European country where I live.  We have much less of a social safety net here as it's a much poorer country than the Netherlands.  However, there is a pension age here and complainypants types complain bitterly that the government keeps increasing it.  My colleague, who earns a lot more than me and whose wife earns a ton more than my husband, BUT who owns a boat and a car (we have neither) was just complaining bitterly about it to me yesterday.  He has that mindset that he can't retire until the state pension kicks in at (I think) 67.  I want to say to him 'well maybe you could sell the boat and retire a bit earlier..." Meanwhile we are socking away a third of our meagre income and hoping to retire quite a few years before the state pension age.  My husband probably won't get the pension anyway as he's self employed.

Just Joe

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Re: Educator: I can't manage to save
« Reply #27 on: October 19, 2017, 01:10:44 PM »
Well, 10-14 MPG and a top speed, typically, of 70 kmph that turns a 6 hour drive into a 10 hour drive.  (Source - friends are now on their second)

That makes a vintage VW Bus seem positively sporty! (and efficient). I'll be the 'Mog is safer in a crash though.

Imma

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Re: Educator: I can't manage to save
« Reply #28 on: October 19, 2017, 01:36:22 PM »

I think generally in Europe, the government has kind of a set plan of how you should live your life : you can only borrow money for 4 years of fulltime university between the ages of 18 and 30. You can only retire at the state pension age. You can only deduct mortgage interest for 30 years of your life (you're supposed to have paid it off by then). For the average person these are good guidelines, but if you're not average, it doesn't work like that.

IMO it's best not to make generalizations about Europe.  This is how things are in the Netherlands but it's not how things work in the European country where I live.  We have much less of a social safety net here as it's a much poorer country than the Netherlands.  However, there is a pension age here and complainypants types complain bitterly that the government keeps increasing it.  My colleague, who earns a lot more than me and whose wife earns a ton more than my husband, BUT who owns a boat and a car (we have neither) was just complaining bitterly about it to me yesterday.  He has that mindset that he can't retire until the state pension kicks in at (I think) 67.  I want to say to him 'well maybe you could sell the boat and retire a bit earlier..." Meanwhile we are socking away a third of our meagre income and hoping to retire quite a few years before the state pension age.  My husband probably won't get the pension anyway as he's self employed.

I made a mistake, there should have been a . there in the first line and not a : . The examples are from NL, and they don't apply to many other countries, but I do think it's fair to say that most governments in Europe have a very paternalistic attitude. Certainly the ones in the EU that have had to adopt EU legislation.

I think very few countries have such a high retirement age. Only a few very rich and a few very poor countries. There is an extreme difference in wealth between richer countries (like NL) and poorer countries (basically the majority of the territory) in Europe and that reflects in the amount of benefits etc available.

I think the high retirement ages will prove not to be sustainable - it's projected that people live much longer and can work much longer, but I don't really believe people get more healthy. To say it in a crude way: they will not be able to work much longer, they only take longer to die. My parents and parents in law are late 50s - early 60s and 1 of them can't work anymore and the others are struggling. 3 out of 4 have had a serious, life threatening illness. Many people will not be able to work until 67 or even 70+ in the future.

Kimera757

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Re: Educator: I can't manage to save
« Reply #29 on: October 19, 2017, 05:24:38 PM »
I am just curious how this social security thing seems to be more or less the same thing but relying on it is seen as a last resort kind of thing, whereas in Europe it's just generally assumed that's exactly what you'll be living off in old age and why would you even need something else.

The answer is in the payout. I'm Canadian, so I can't really talk about Social Security. In Canada spouses do their taxes separately, unlike in the US where you can pool that income.

In Canada, there are two main government pensions, Old Age Security and the Canada Pension Plan.

OAS comes out of general tax revenue, is only about $7000 per year, and is technically taxable. (It's so low that if it's your only income you won't be paying tax on it.) If that was your only income, you would also (based on your and your spouse's income) get the Guaranteed Income Supplement. You would get less than $18,000 together with your OAS if unmarried, or about $24,000 max if married. That's not much money. Living off of this is like "living off of Social Security". Every dollar of GIS is reduced by 50 cents for having pretty much any sort of income, beyond OAS.

You can only collect OAS and GIS when you turn 65.

The CPP is based on your earnings, and can vary from $0 to a little over $13,000, with the average being about half that. It pays out a max of one quarter of your average earnings (to a max of a little over $13,000), but can be modified by various complex rules. If you worked but saved nothing you would have to live off of CPP. As of about a decade ago the CPP stopped being a "Ponzi scheme" and you basically pay into the plan. It's difficult to avoid paying into the plan, unless you're self-employed.

If a single person had high income while working but saved nothing, they'd be getting OAS plus CPP of around $20,000, which isn't much, and in fact isn't much higher than if they had never worked and got GIS.

You can start collecting CPP at age 60 and get paid less (but for more months, obviously) or wait until later and get paid more (but for fewer months). You can work and collect CPP at the same time, possibly collecting a small post-retirement benefit; if you're over 65 you can choose to stop contributing into CPP, but then you won't get the post-retirement benefit.

OAS and CPP give you a low floor to your income. As a result, Canadians should be saving and investing. They have various retirement plans available, but all require you to either save or at least have money removed from your paycheque.

The US system is pretty similar, expect Social Security seems to be a mix of OAS + CPP (with a minimal amount for those who never worked, and SSI which confuses me a little). I don't know the payouts, but I believe they're low.

When it comes to European plans, I only know Greek plans. (I was disappointed that Wikipedia does not have an article on that. I learned that Greeks work a lot of hours but for low pay, and until the crisis you could retire as early as age 50. Many young people are dependent on their parents' pensions.) You can get up to 80% of your income post-retirement. The actual payout is usually low as the working income had been low... it wasn't sustainable and played a role in the recent Greek financial crisis.

Goldielocks

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Re: Educator: I can't manage to save
« Reply #30 on: October 20, 2017, 12:48:49 AM »
US system pays out about double that in Canada... But that is because the rates paid in during years of employment are about double; FICA is very expensive in comparison.


havregryn

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Re: Educator: I can't manage to save
« Reply #31 on: October 20, 2017, 02:10:38 AM »
What I meant is that here in Europe, especially in the more socialist parts, there is this assumption that in the US there is no kind of social security at all and you're supposed to save your money yourself, while our pension systems are supposed to be incredibly generous. I kind of took that for granted for a long time and it was only reading this forum that I realized that this is more different culture than fact. Even if there are differences in how the system is set up, when you can draw etc, it's rather obvious that also in the US you have this possibility of receiving some income in old age if you worked even if you saved 0 on the side, but no one considers this to be the center of their retirement savings and everyone just assumes that if that's all you've got, you're poor. Whereas in Europe pretty much everyone, even if they do some of their own saving, see this as the central pillar of their income in retirement and no one thinks of people living off this as poor people who failed to save, it's really a very mainstream approach to retirement. It's like it's a lot more common to just assume that you're going to be Mustachian when you're old anyway. I mean, since you're never paying for healthcare that is not so hard.

havregryn

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Re: Educator: I can't manage to save
« Reply #32 on: October 20, 2017, 02:23:41 AM »
Btw,since we're talking about NL, I was looking at some statistical report about Luxembourg and there were some comparisons with other EU countries, I was really shocked to see that something like 75% of women in NL work part time!? How come? I always imagined NL as a kind of Sweden but then I realized you guys have exorbitant childcare prices, you pay for your health insurance, you even pay for universities...what the heck do you get for all the taxes then?

I lived in Austria, Sweden and now Luxembourg and it seems that these countries are actually among the best when it comes to what the state provides for you so I always just assumed that it's the EU norm...but it seems I was just really good (or rather lucky) at picking my countries.

LennStar

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Re: Educator: I can't manage to save
« Reply #33 on: October 20, 2017, 03:26:56 AM »
Well, the netherlands certainly look wealthy compared to my part of Germany ;) And they certainly get way better bike paths.

Quote
I think generally in Europe, the government has kind of a set plan of how you should live your life : you can only borrow money for 4 years of fulltime university between the ages of 18 and 30. You can only retire at the state pension age. You can only deduct mortgage interest for 30 years of your life (you're supposed to have paid it off by then). For the average person these are good guidelines, but if you're not average, it doesn't work like that.

I don't think that is the right way to lok at it. Try it historically. All those things were fight for by people in a certain situation. And since they cost a lot of money, you needed a lot of people to achieve them.
So of course those benefits are made to supplement a certain way of life that existed for a large part of the population (if not nearly all) in the time when they were introduced.

In the case of Germany a decade after the second world war, when the "Wirtschaftswunder" was blooming, the retirement system was changed from capital backed (I guess because Germans were still traumatised by hyperinflation) to "distribution backed". That made sure that everyone that worked got a share in their retirement, whatever happened to money.

Imma

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Re: Educator: I can't manage to save
« Reply #34 on: October 20, 2017, 07:28:02 AM »
Btw,since we're talking about NL, I was looking at some statistical report about Luxembourg and there were some comparisons with other EU countries, I was really shocked to see that something like 75% of women in NL work part time!? How come? I always imagined NL as a kind of Sweden but then I realized you guys have exorbitant childcare prices, you pay for your health insurance, you even pay for universities...what the heck do you get for all the taxes then?

I lived in Austria, Sweden and now Luxembourg and it seems that these countries are actually among the best when it comes to what the state provides for you so I always just assumed that it's the EU norm...but it seems I was just really good (or rather lucky) at picking my countries.

If you ask that on the street, people will say: we bailed out all those lazy Greeks, Spanish, Irish, Portugese and all the banks in Europe. ( I know that's not a fair representation of the facts, but that's what the average person thinks: we are paying and working so everyone else in Europe can sit on their backsides enjoying the sun)

People have this view of the Netherlands being super tolerant and liberal. Actually, we have a very strong calvinistic heritage and it took a lot more time for gender equality to reach our country. These days, it's normal for women to work, but I'm 27 and when I grew up, very few mothers worked. Maybe two or three mums of the kids in my class worked, and my mother was married so it was a bit of a disgrace.

It's not like that anymore, but it is still very much frowned upon for a mother to work fulltime. Most women will work anywhere from 20 to 30 hours a week. As a result, there are a lot of part time positions available, especially in jobs geared mostly towards women: admin, beauty, nursing, teaching. It's hard to find a fulltime position in some of these fields. You start by taking on a parttime job and if you're lucky you might get more hours at some point in the future. Employers are also hesistant to give fulltime jobs, especially management positions, to young women, because it's expected that once you get married and have children you will scale back to parttime. It's a legal right to request parttime work, they don't want to get stuck with a manager who works 2 days a week. It's a complicated thing: it's great that there's a real option to work parttime for most people. I can imagine in certain seasons of life parttime work is very good for people (young parents, for example). I have a chronic illness and for me it means I can find a well-paying parttime position.

On the other hand, I do feel that women are held back by this big cultural norm that you shouldn't work fulltime. Men generally expect women to do most of the housework, schools are underfunded and rely on volunteering mothers for all sorts of activities, the care for the elderly is underfunded and relies on women to take care of elderly relatives and neighbours. If you are a career-minded woman it's much harder to get into a management position. I know women who write on their CV that they are voluntarily childless for this reason.

How do people fund this all? We go into a lot of debt. We are upset that the IMF keeps warning us about the high levels of private debts, but it's a huge problem. You don't need a downpayment for a mortgage - on the contrary, it used to be common to borrow 106% of the value of the property so you had money for the closing costs as well. This has now been scaled back to 100% and people are extremely upset about that. People can legally spend about 30% of their family income on their mortgage and most people choose to buy the most expensive home they can buy. With the current low interest rates and 30-year mortgages being the most common, it means people can spend a lot of money on a home and we are in a massive housing bubble. Mortgage interest is deductible too. We bought a home when we were 24 and 28. We bought a super cheap home (79.500) in need of renovation in a bad neighbourhood. Our original mortgage was about 97% of the property value. The rest of the price + the closing costs were paid from our savings account. We changed lenders because the first lender was super suspicious about us, they were convinced the 20.000 in our savings account must be drugs money or something. We didn't get an inheritance, how else do young people get so wealthy?

The same goes for student loans. The interest rates are super low, you can pay back in 30 years, they're not registered anywhere formally so a mortgage lender can't even check if you're honest about your loans. You pay back by income and if you've paid in for 30 years, the outstanding balance is forgiven.

Childcare, healthcare and rent can get relatively expensive (to European standards) so they've invented childcare and healthcare and rent benefits that nearly everyone can claim. It would be much easier if they just made it all a lot cheaper, but as these services are 100% privatized the government can't influence the price levels. Instead they distribute billions of benefits and making a huge admin mess. You get a monthly benefit and at the end of the year they check if they gave you the right amount. If they paid too much, you have to pay it back. The system is very complex, so no one really knows if they're entitled to what they get monthly, it's always a surprise until you get that letter. They can claim back benefits from up to 5 years in the past so it happens that you get a bill for something that happened years ago and you just pay it back in installments to get rid of it. This month, I'm paying back the last remaining bit of rent benefit that I received, apparantly unjustified, in 2014.

The insane debt levels people have and the austerity policies of our government caused the country to recover only very slowly from the 2008 crisis. We've been in recovery for about 2 years now and the housing bubble is getting so extreme that I'm very worried about a new crisis coming up soon. We look rich on the outside, but there's a huge economic mess below the surface.

Hula Hoop

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Re: Educator: I can't manage to save
« Reply #35 on: October 20, 2017, 02:00:42 PM »
My former boss was Dutch.  She told me that she would never move back as there was so much pressure on women with children to not be ambitious and work part time.  As you mentioned, because so many Dutch women work part time they are passed over for high level jobs and expected to do most of the childcare, housework etc.  It all sounds very 1950s to my ears.

Ex-boss has 4 kids and started her own extremely successful business when they were small (when I interviewed with her she was pregnant with her 4th).  Where I live in Southern Europe that's ok as everyone works very long hours including mothers -but in the Netherlands, she said, people would criticize her for working a lot of hours and being ambitious with young kids at home.  I was shocked too as I always assumed Northern Europe was more enlightened about gender issues than down here but apparently not.

Anyway it must be a very wealthy society if a family can live normal middle class lives on only 1.5 incomes.  Here everyone works full time if they can find a job at all.  Part time work is virtually unheard of.  Salaries are very low so a part time salary would not be enough to live on.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2017, 02:02:52 PM by Hula Hoop »

Imma

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Re: Educator: I can't manage to save
« Reply #36 on: October 20, 2017, 03:59:17 PM »
Well, of course the Netherlands is a very wealthy country compared to most of places in the world, but don't underestimate how much of that wealth is funded by debt. Everyone is up to their eyeballs in debt. The average wage for a fulltime worker is something like EUR 35.000 and the average home now sells for EUR 264.000. The only way people buy homes is by getting extremely high mortgages and donations from parents who have sold their homes for a massive profit. Wealth inequality is also on the rise because it's so important to get money transferred from older generations if you want to get ahead. Because of this 1950s mentality there's a pretty big pay gap between men and women too.

I'm not sure if women working parttime instead of fulltime is a result of being a wealthy country. It's not that they started out working fulltime, then dropped their hours when they got richer. I think the reason most women work at all is because they can't make ends meet anymore on their husband's wages. It's not because of feminism that women now often work up to 32 hours a week (while 20 years it was more the norm to work 8 or 12 hours a week). It's because they have to. I think in the future more women will start to work fulltime. Mothers didn't really start to work until the mid-1990s, which was during a big housing bubble. They had to find a job because they couldn't afford to buy otherwise. Honestly I think most women would still rather not work but they feel they have to, to be able to 'keep up with the Joneses'. Being a housewife is still the ideal for most people.

We complain about other countries in Europe having a high state debt, but we have a private debt that's 270% of GDP. I think that's one of the highest in the world and it's not sustainable. Our next door neighbours in Germany have less than half the amount of private debt. They didn't buy into this debt madness. It looks shiny from the outside, and I can imagine if you live in one of the poorer countries in southern Europe ( that may have been hit extremely hard by austerity policy forced by the EU)  this all sounds a bit like complainypants disease, but all the "rich" nations in Europe are floating on private debt. We are all proud of our low state debts, but these are lower because the state is shifting all their expenses to the private citizen. The next big economic crisis is going to be a private debt crisis instead of a public debt crisis and I am afraid it might be worse than the last time.

Hula Hoop

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Re: Educator: I can't manage to save
« Reply #37 on: Today at 02:32:32 AM »
How interesting, Imma.  So there was no second wave feminist revolution in the Netherlands when middle class women entered the workforce in the 1960s and 70s?  No Dutch Betty Friedan? 

I guess I hang out in progressive circles in my southern European adopted country but almost all the middle class university educated mothers I know from my kids (public) school work full time and many of them (like me) are the primary breadwinners.  No one bats an eye at this.  My husband picks the kids up from school every day and he is one of many dads doing the same.

We've sometimes thought about moving to Northern Europe because of the much higher wages there and (I thought) more progressive gender attitudes (we have two daughters) but I guess not.  Sounds like things are actually better down here.  My daughers are bright and ambitious and I want them to feel that they can do whatever they want with their lives - not be relegated to some badly paid part time career solely because of their sex.