Author Topic: Don't know what to think of this  (Read 5336 times)

hatersgonnahate

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Don't know what to think of this
« on: April 22, 2014, 09:43:04 PM »
After reading MMM for awhile and then reading this I kept wondering. Huffington post is terrible and the only thing I think can be done is extracting the stats from that article:

Rent: 900/month
Offered job-17K pay cut to 22 yr college grad entry-level (so, he earns 47k assuming a conservative 30k entry-level salary)
36, no children
36K student debt, 6.8% interest
Lives in CO

Help this guy out! End the pity party!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dj-cook/working-poor-series_b_5120547.html

greenmimama

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Re: Don't know what to think of this
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2014, 09:57:55 PM »
The article said they moved back to CA, there seems to be a lot of holes in the story, making 55k and feeling that a $400 student loan payment is soooo hard? Too many details left out of that whole article.

roboto

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Re: Don't know what to think of this
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2014, 12:16:43 AM »
Offered job-17K pay cut to 22 yr college grad entry-level (so, he earns 47k assuming a conservative 30k entry-level salary)

Seems like he's making $56K :
Quote
I would legitimately be better off if I was working for $15/hr with no student loan debt than making $56,000/year, getting laid off every year.

I don't know, he sounds very complainypants. $400/mo is $4.8K annually, and $36K debt sounds pretty much like a regular college degree debt. Seems like he has not thought about making higher payments to actually slash the principle loan rather than whining about the student loan problem and 1%?

I do sympathize with the getting laid off part though, fired 6 times in 7 years is really shitty.

LucyBIT

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Re: Don't know what to think of this
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2014, 09:09:20 AM »
The job instability sucks, yeah.

But I also don't understand how $400/mo. is so hard when you're making $56k. Back when I was indeed making $15/hr., in as-needed contract work with no benefits and sporadic hours, I might add, I paid $500/mo. on my student loans without any problems. Granted, my rent was less than his, but I was also driving all over creation for that job, in an effing 1999 Dodge Caravan at that.

I make $45k now and the base I'm paying into student loans is $700/mo., with more as I can (one is paid off in full, yay!). My rent is still less than his. 36 is not too old to live with roommates, dude.

rocksinmyhead

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Re: Don't know what to think of this
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2014, 12:06:14 PM »
he doesn't sound like a terribly wasteful person, just your average joe who hasn't seen the light. I can see how the situation WOULD look really hopeless from his perspective, and I feel for the guy. but obviously you all are right, the ONLY way out is to pay more than $400/month and he should definitely be able to do that on his salary, especially without kids.

Guizmo

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Re: Don't know what to think of this
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2014, 03:21:34 PM »
I can rent him my nice condo in colorado for $750. He is getting ripped off paying $900 for a garage unless he really thinks the area makes up for it. there are studios around here for $500

MrsPete

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Re: Don't know what to think of this
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2014, 03:51:21 PM »
I can't seem to find much sympathy for a guy with a BS in ECONOMICS who says:  I didn't realize what I was agreeing to when I was signing my student loan documents for graduate school because it had never been explained to me. 

I tried to see what a teacher with 7 years experience earns in California, but I found that it varies from place to place -- that's not true in my state.  Anyway, it seems that he'd be earning between 40K and 53K.  Not a huge salary, but certainly enough to live in a real place AND make the $400 payments.  I'm wondering if he has other debts or if he's spending foolishly.  For one thing, we know that he doesn't have a kitchen in that converted garage, so he may be eating out frequently. 

He is dead right on this issue:  that, there is a low key war in education between public education and for-profit charters, online schools and private schools. The for-profit machine has undermined the unions, backed standardized testing and refuses to acknowledge that our failing education system is due to social and economic issues rather than "bad teachers.   Teachers are being held accountable more and more for things that are beyond their control.  To give an example, my students aren't really held accountable for their own attendance -- if they miss X number of days, they're forced to "do make up time", but that's not really equivalent to having been in my class for a lesson . . . yet I'm judged by their exam score.  In my state the legislature DOES want to see education as it currently exists dwindle (or outright disappear).  Charter schools and online classes are less expensive. 

But he's wrong that people won't hire teachers, assuming that they're bad employees who've been propped up by unions.  Teachers in my state are leaving in droves.  Teachers like me who are close to their pensions are staying, but near 100% of the younger teachers (those who know they're never going to make it to the pension) are searching for their exit plan -- it's a common topic of discussion, and I've not heard anyone say, "They liked me until they learned I'm a teacher." 

He's also right when he says that teaching is becoming a year-to-year profession -- all the younger teachers are on year-to-year contracts, and our state is trying to do the same with those of us who are already "career status" (often incorrectly termed tenure).  That's not a comfortable way to live, not knowing if you're going to re-earn your job next year. 

The guy's real mistake:  He never should've earned that masters degree.  A masters is not necessary to teach.  He should've just gone back to school for the teaching certification, which he could've done for less than 36K.  In my state, the difference between bachelor's pay and masters' pay is 10%.  So it'll be a while 'til he breaks even, much less starts to make money.   


CarDude

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Re: Don't know what to think of this
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2014, 08:52:02 PM »
I can't seem to find much sympathy for a guy with a BS in ECONOMICS who says:  I didn't realize what I was agreeing to when I was signing my student loan documents for graduate school because it had never been explained to me. 

I tried to see what a teacher with 7 years experience earns in California, but I found that it varies from place to place -- that's not true in my state.  Anyway, it seems that he'd be earning between 40K and 53K.  Not a huge salary, but certainly enough to live in a real place AND make the $400 payments.  I'm wondering if he has other debts or if he's spending foolishly.  For one thing, we know that he doesn't have a kitchen in that converted garage, so he may be eating out frequently. 

He is dead right on this issue:  that, there is a low key war in education between public education and for-profit charters, online schools and private schools. The for-profit machine has undermined the unions, backed standardized testing and refuses to acknowledge that our failing education system is due to social and economic issues rather than "bad teachers.   Teachers are being held accountable more and more for things that are beyond their control.  To give an example, my students aren't really held accountable for their own attendance -- if they miss X number of days, they're forced to "do make up time", but that's not really equivalent to having been in my class for a lesson . . . yet I'm judged by their exam score.  In my state the legislature DOES want to see education as it currently exists dwindle (or outright disappear).  Charter schools and online classes are less expensive. 

But he's wrong that people won't hire teachers, assuming that they're bad employees who've been propped up by unions.  Teachers in my state are leaving in droves.  Teachers like me who are close to their pensions are staying, but near 100% of the younger teachers (those who know they're never going to make it to the pension) are searching for their exit plan -- it's a common topic of discussion, and I've not heard anyone say, "They liked me until they learned I'm a teacher." 

He's also right when he says that teaching is becoming a year-to-year profession -- all the younger teachers are on year-to-year contracts, and our state is trying to do the same with those of us who are already "career status" (often incorrectly termed tenure).  That's not a comfortable way to live, not knowing if you're going to re-earn your job next year. 

The guy's real mistake:  He never should've earned that masters degree.  A masters is not necessary to teach.  He should've just gone back to school for the teaching certification, which he could've done for less than 36K.  In my state, the difference between bachelor's pay and masters' pay is 10%.  So it'll be a while 'til he breaks even, much less starts to make money.

Lots of good points here. I've got a buddy in teaching who just did the whole master's degree bit and will be working in the fall. He's under no illusions--he loves the kids and all, but at the end of the day, it's a way to bring home money for his family. Teachers are scapegoats right now, and any teacher with a job would be wise to save their salaries up, as we're currently in a climate where corporate reformers have convinced the public that teachers are the enemy and technology, privatization, and union-busting is the solution. Sound familiar?

CarDude

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Re: Don't know what to think of this
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2014, 08:57:40 PM »
The guy's real mistake:  He never should've earned that masters degree.  A masters is not necessary to teach.  He should've just gone back to school for the teaching certification, which he could've done for less than 36K.  In my state, the difference between bachelor's pay and masters' pay is 10%.  So it'll be a while 'til he breaks even, much less starts to make money.

Regarding this last point though, I know from my buddy that a lot of programs that offer certification take the same amount of time to get you a bachelor's + cert vs. a master's + cert, so it's a better deal to go for the master's, since at least that way you're higher on the pay scale. And in Illinois (specifically in Rockford), the pay difference between a BA and an MA is 33k vs 38k, which is pretty significant, even if it costs you 20k to get the degree, as you'd break even in 4 years. If you go through a program where you can work full time as my buddy did while in school, you can get through without taking on debt, which means that extra 5k starts paying dividends the moment you're hired. I definitely agree you don't need to spend 36k on either degree, however, especially if you're going with a public university.

Jamesqf

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Re: Don't know what to think of this
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2014, 11:00:38 PM »
Seems like he's making $56K :
Quote
I would legitimately be better off if I was working for $15/hr with no student loan debt than making $56,000/year, getting laid off every year.

I don't know, he sounds very complainypants. $400/mo is $4.8K annually, and $36K debt sounds pretty much like a regular college degree debt. Seems like he has not thought about making higher payments to actually slash the principle loan rather than whining about the student loan problem and 1%?

I do sympathize with the getting laid off part though, fired 6 times in 7 years is really shitty.

Makes $56K/year, and can't pay off a $36K debt in 7 years?  What the heck does he spend the money on?  And getting laid off - not fired, unless there's something he's not telling us - less than once per year?  He should try working as an independent contractor for a while...

Hey, I just thought of something.  If he is laid off or 'fired' (not for cause) at the end of the school year, doesn't that mean that he gets to collect unemployment all summer, in addition to his teaching salary?

MrsPete

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Re: Don't know what to think of this
« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2014, 05:58:12 AM »
Lots of good points here. I've got a buddy in teaching who just did the whole master's degree bit and will be working in the fall. He's under no illusions--he loves the kids and all, but at the end of the day, it's a way to bring home money for his family. Teachers are scapegoats right now, and any teacher with a job would be wise to save their salaries up, as we're currently in a climate where corporate reformers have convinced the public that teachers are the enemy and technology, privatization, and union-busting is the solution. Sound familiar?
Yes, very familiar, and what we're going to create via tech and run-education-like-a-business (I'm skipping unions because most teachers in most states aren't unionized) is a situation where the "haves" -- not necessarily the wealthy, but the kids who have parents who make good choices and support their educational options -- have more opportunities, whereas the "don't have" kids are going to flounder in a system with less and less to offer.  I myself was a "don't have" kid; my parents were struggling with their divorce, too many kids and too little money -- they didn't pay much attention to my education, and they're more typical than the parents who are really paying attention and getting involved in a positive way. 

The real implications of these legislative decisions won't show up for more than a decade, when we have a generation of kids who haven't been served, and they can't find substantial work.
Regarding this last point though, I know from my buddy that a lot of programs that offer certification take the same amount of time to get you a bachelor's + cert vs. a master's + cert, so it's a better deal to go for the master's, since at least that way you're higher on the pay scale. And in Illinois (specifically in Rockford), the pay difference between a BA and an MA is 33k vs 38k, which is pretty significant, even if it costs you 20k to get the degree, as you'd break even in 4 years. If you go through a program where you can work full time as my buddy did while in school, you can get through without taking on debt, which means that extra 5k starts paying dividends the moment you're hired. I definitely agree you don't need to spend 36k on either degree, however, especially if you're going with a public university.
Yes, I know of such programs, but they're not really the same amount of time -- it's more like less time than it would take to go the traditional route for a bachelors AND a masters.  Regardless, the guy in this article didn't begin with the goal of teaching:  He first earned a BS in Economics, so he wouldn't have been in such a program from the beginning. 

And I do agree with you that he could've earned that masters somewhere in the 20K region rather than spending 36K. 
Hey, I just thought of something.  If he is laid off or 'fired' (not for cause) at the end of the school year, doesn't that mean that he gets to collect unemployment all summer, in addition to his teaching salary?
No, it doesn't work that way:  When he began Year 1 as a teacher, he was given a contract to work August - June.  He's saying he was "laid off" or "fired", but what he really means is that his contract ended.  It's kind of like hiring a contractor to build a new house for you -- once your project is finished, you're done paying him, but he's not "laid off"; he's just concluded his business with you.  Because he was always a contract worker and never had any promise of long-term employment, he is not eligible for benefits. 

In my state -- in the past -- a teacher worked on one year contracts for the first five years, and then he or she was considered for "career status".  By the end of five years, the people who signed on thinking teaching is an easy little job with summers off (that is, those who were ill-suited to the job in the beginning) tend to have left on their own.  Or they've been let go.  By the end of five years, the principal is able to say, "Yes, this is a person we want to keep" and that person becomes a "career teacher".  This is often mistermed "tenure".  It means that the school and the teacher don't go through the official process of offering /accepting a one-year contract every year, and it's assumed that the teacher is returning to the school -- until he or she says, "This is my last year."  That person can be laid off or fired, but NOT unless it's "for cause". 

Teachers want this stability.  A one-year-contract teacher can be laid off or fired for any reason:  The most common reason is that the principal has found someone who can teach Biology AND ALSO coach basketball, and he needs that basketball coach.  The one-year-contract teacher could find that his or her contract was not renewed because the superintendent's nephew made a D in his class, because the principal's son graduated from college and needs a job, or because of he and the principal didn't particularly get on together.  The school doesn't have to give a reason to "let go" a one-year-contract teacher, regardless of performance. 

People who are ill-informed sometimes say, "But that's a protection that other workers don't have!  Anyone can be let go at any time."  It's not the same thing.  A teacher who's working on a one-year contract essentially is "automatically let go" at the end of every year and has to compete to get his or her job back . . . every year, regardless of performance. 

My state is trying to do away with this system and place everyone on one-year contracts . . . perpetually.  You can imagine, teachers are against this!  We want to know that if we're doing a good job, we have a reasonable expectation of having a job next year.  Our young people are watching and learning:  My daughter isn't planning to become a teacher, but her college is one of the biggest educators of future teachers in our state.  Last year they graduated only FOUR students who are planning to teach high school.  Couple that with the fact that three out of five new teachers leave the profession within five years.  If the legislature continues to kick teachers, who will teach the next generation?   

But, that's mostly off-topic. 
« Last Edit: April 25, 2014, 06:00:39 AM by MrsPete »

the fixer

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Re: Don't know what to think of this
« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2014, 11:29:25 AM »
And in Illinois (specifically in Rockford), the pay difference between a BA and an MA is 33k vs 38k, which is pretty significant, even if it costs you 20k to get the degree, as you'd break even in 4 years.
Nope.
  • The salary is taxable income, subject to 6% FICA and ~15% federal income tax. I'll assume 5% state income tax. Now the guy with the masters is only making an extra $3700/year. If the salary spread increases over time that will make things a bit more favorable.
  • Payback period needs to count either loan interest or, if paying for a graduate degree without using loans, a modest discount rate. If you assume a 3% discount rate, it would take about 6 years to break even. If you're paying 6% student loan interest rates, it would take close to 7 years to pay off the loan with $3700/year of payments.
It's still a reasonable deal, but consider that owning a personal residence has a similar, or shorter, payoff period and requires no exceptional amount of skill or effort.