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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: kmb501 on October 02, 2016, 03:48:17 PM

Title: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: kmb501 on October 02, 2016, 03:48:17 PM
Today, I turned thirty. I've been working full-time for about $20,000 per year for one full year, and I've been finding a way to spend most of what I make. My monthly expenses are roughly:

$550 rent (they went up)
$150 gas (gas went up, too)
$35 internet
$40 cell phone
$200 charitable giving (this is something I feel like I have to do)
$300 (roughly) toward additional training and college courses. I'm going back to school for a math or computer science certification so that jobs will be easier to come by.
$200 (roughly) toward miscellaneous purchases, like groceries and clothing.
$200 car repairs (it doesn't happen every month but the car has acted up, and I need the car so I had to get it fixed)

As you can see, I spend pretty much all of my monthly salary. I don't want to continue like this, and I'm not making excuses, but I do feel like I need to find a better job so that I can save more money. What are your suggestions?

I've thought of a few things:

Try to find some quick training that doesn't involve a lot of school. I actually don't know where to look. My first thought would be a junior college, but they cost money too.

Save up the down payment on a house and rent out rooms (becoming a landlord is pretty risky)

Come up with a good side hustle, like private tutoring (I'm at that stage where I know what I'm teaching but not exactly how to teach it. I really feel like I wouldn't stack up against the competition unless I was teaching little kids.)

Get a group together and learn a foreign language and some programming code online for free (I don't like studying this kind of stuff on my own, because I have tendency to get distracted or to tell myself that it isn't worth it.)
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: swick on October 02, 2016, 03:56:19 PM
Happy Birthday!

You don't really provide us enough information to give you any suggestions.

What is your current job? What education do you have? What are your strengths/skills and areas of interest?

If you are working full time for 20,000 a year, you are VASTLY underemployed. That is poverty level in many places. 

What did you do/experience/learn in your 20's that will allow you to earn a higher income now?

Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: kmb501 on October 02, 2016, 04:15:10 PM
Happy Birthday!

You don't really provide us enough information to give you any suggestions.

What is your current job? What education do you have? What are your strengths/skills and areas of interest?

If you are working full time for 20,000 a year, you are VASTLY underemployed. That is poverty level in many places. 

What did you do/experience/learn in your 20's that will allow you to earn a higher income now?

My current job is teaching. I teach ESL in the evening part-time and regular education during the day.

I have a master's in Education and a bachelor's in English.

I worked as a substitute teacher and volunteer tutor until I finally landed a job.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: swick on October 02, 2016, 04:20:06 PM
My first suggestion would be to check out teacher pay teacher. https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/ (https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/)

I have several friends who are making very good money by selling their lessons online. If you are already creating the lessons to teach, you may as well be making some extra money on them!

Also, you may want to look at teaching overseas. Way better money and would be a fantastic adventure to kick of your 30's :)
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: westtoeast on October 02, 2016, 04:34:07 PM
Where in the country are you located, and are you willing to move? If you have a Masters in Ed then you can earn at LEAST double your current salary in many places in the country-- worth it, even with the higher cost of living, especially if you are willing to rent just a room in a house. I would suggest the northwest or midwest as higher paying regions to check out.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: kmb501 on October 02, 2016, 04:35:55 PM
I'm definitely willing to relocate if it means better pay. I would like more information.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: kmb501 on October 02, 2016, 04:41:42 PM
My first suggestion would be to check out teacher pay teacher. https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/ (https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/)

I have several friends who are making very good money by selling their lessons online. If you are already creating the lessons to teach, you may as well be making some extra money on them!

Also, you may want to look at teaching overseas. Way better money and would be a fantastic adventure to kick of your 30's :)

The TPT idea is good, but I can't really think of a completely original idea yet. Most of the stuff I use is free from the internet.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: kmb501 on October 02, 2016, 04:43:32 PM
My first suggestion would be to check out teacher pay teacher. https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/ (https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/)

I have several friends who are making very good money by selling their lessons online. If you are already creating the lessons to teach, you may as well be making some extra money on them!

Also, you may want to look at teaching overseas. Way better money and would be a fantastic adventure to kick of your 30's :)

The TPT idea is good, but I can't really think of a completely original idea yet. Most of the stuff I use is free from the internet.

I'm all ears for teaching overseas, but I need to do research first and make sure I would be welcome (a lot of American teachers are already working there. They treat the teachers with respect. It's a welcoming climate. They give the teachers a little training and mentoring, etc.)
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: swick on October 02, 2016, 04:59:08 PM
My first suggestion would be to check out teacher pay teacher. https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/ (https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/)

I have several friends who are making very good money by selling their lessons online. If you are already creating the lessons to teach, you may as well be making some extra money on them!

Also, you may want to look at teaching overseas. Way better money and would be a fantastic adventure to kick of your 30's :)

The TPT idea is good, but I can't really think of a completely original idea yet. Most of the stuff I use is free from the internet.

I'm all ears for teaching overseas, but I need to do research first and make sure I would be welcome (a lot of American teachers are already working there. They treat the teachers with respect. It's a welcoming climate. They give the teachers a little training and mentoring, etc.)

With the shifts in education and technology, you can't expect anyone to make your job easier for you and hand you the experience and support. You have to be a self-starter and invest the time to learning how to create your own curriculum and get more experience teaching - finding your unique style and voice. If you are teaching ESL during the evenings, this is a PERFECT testing ground for you.

With having your masters you can get into many countries that don't allow casual ESL teachers (I'm thinking specifically S. Korea and Japan)

You also have boundless options in areas surrounding and supporting education - TPT, Curriculum design, teaching online courses, offering online/skype ESL lessons...there are so many options out there - but there are no quick fixes, you still have to put in the time to learning your craft.

Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: Lski'stash on October 02, 2016, 05:07:38 PM
My first suggestion would be to check out teacher pay teacher. https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/ (https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/)

I have several friends who are making very good money by selling their lessons online. If you are already creating the lessons to teach, you may as well be making some extra money on them!

Also, you may want to look at teaching overseas. Way better money and would be a fantastic adventure to kick of your 30's :)

You have a Master's degree in ESL education and only make $20,000? My suggestion to you is this: MOVE. Somewhere that pays a whole lot better. Like, for example, to Michigan, where the pay is better, and your skill set will be picked up right away. I also feel like you should be able to find a tutoring gig fairly quickly. I usually charge $25 an hour, and I can be very picky about the students I take on for tutoring.

Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: Roland of Gilead on October 02, 2016, 05:11:24 PM
Fuck, if 30 is midlife, I feel really old now at 46.

I thought 40 was midlife.  30 is barely out of mom's basement.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: kmb501 on October 02, 2016, 05:41:47 PM
If 30 is midlife, I feel really old now at 46.

I thought 40 was midlife.  30 is barely out of mom's basement.

Okay, so maybe it's a pre-mid-life crisis, maybe a third-life crisis? I don't know the proper terminology. All I know is women are said to get less and less to work for them after they reach this point unless they already have a pretty good career started, they're armed to the teeth with STEM training, or they have a sizable trust fund and don't need to worry about working. They say forty is too old to try to start another career. Of course, I don't know how true any of that is.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: Radagast on October 02, 2016, 05:43:03 PM
Wha... two degrees, one of them in education, and you can only find $20,000? I hear Las Vegas is always desperate for teachers. You can probably get several times that amount plus a signing bonus.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: kmb501 on October 02, 2016, 05:46:56 PM
Wha... two degrees, one of them in education, and you can only find $20,000? I hear Las Vegas is always desperate for teachers. You can probably get several times that amount plus a signing bonus.

Maybe I just don't know how to apply? I signed up on their website, but they called me for some position I wasn't qualified for.

I don't know if getting diagnosed with ASD is part of not really being a confident "self-starter" or not, but I do feel like I could be a more competent communicator now than I was in my twenties. I don't really know where to go from here, though.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: Bracken_Joy on October 02, 2016, 05:50:19 PM
You are incredibly, inexcusably underpaid.
A few useful links:

http://lifehacker.com/how-to-overcome-your-quarter-life-crisis-1782670670 (http://lifehacker.com/how-to-overcome-your-quarter-life-crisis-1782670670)
http://allgroanup.com/adult/25-signs-quarter-life-crisis/ (http://allgroanup.com/adult/25-signs-quarter-life-crisis/)
http://www.forbes.com/sites/julesschroeder/2016/09/08/millennials-this-is-what-your-quarter-life-crisis-is-telling-you/#696c49347d7d (http://www.forbes.com/sites/julesschroeder/2016/09/08/millennials-this-is-what-your-quarter-life-crisis-is-telling-you/#696c49347d7d)
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/07/25/50-jobs-over-50000-without-a-degree-part-1/ (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/07/25/50-jobs-over-50000-without-a-degree-part-1/)
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/08/05/50-jobs-over-50000-without-a-degree-part-2/ (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/08/05/50-jobs-over-50000-without-a-degree-part-2/)

I also recommend reading Tim Ferriss, the Four Hour Work Week, and Joseph Canfield, The Success Principles. I've also heard great things about Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office by Frankel.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: lhamo on October 02, 2016, 06:07:31 PM
If 30 is midlife, I feel really old now at 46.

I thought 40 was midlife.  30 is barely out of mom's basement.

Okay, so maybe it's a pre-mid-life crisis, maybe a third-life crisis? I don't know the proper terminology. All I know is women are said to get less and less to work for them after they reach this point unless they already have a pretty good career started, they're armed to the teeth with STEM training, or they have a sizable trust fund and don't need to worry about working. They say forty is too old to try to start another career. Of course, I don't know how true any of that is.

Welcome back, kmb501.

Please, stop listening to whoever is feeding you this self-defeating load of BS.  Even (or maybe especially) if it is yourself.  I don't want to go all woo woo on you, but seriously, this stuff becomes the truth for you if you keep repeating it, and IT IS NOT TRUE!!!!!  Get scrubbyfish's book and work on learning to advocate for yourself/present yourself better in job application situations.  You have useful skills and are reasaonably articulate.  But follow through seems to be an issue.  Again, largely it seems because of the self-defeating stories you are telling yourself.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: kmb501 on October 02, 2016, 06:55:14 PM
You are incredibly, inexcusably underpaid.
A few useful links:

http://lifehacker.com/how-to-overcome-your-quarter-life-crisis-1782670670 (http://lifehacker.com/how-to-overcome-your-quarter-life-crisis-1782670670)
http://allgroanup.com/adult/25-signs-quarter-life-crisis/ (http://allgroanup.com/adult/25-signs-quarter-life-crisis/)
http://www.forbes.com/sites/julesschroeder/2016/09/08/millennials-this-is-what-your-quarter-life-crisis-is-telling-you/#696c49347d7d (http://www.forbes.com/sites/julesschroeder/2016/09/08/millennials-this-is-what-your-quarter-life-crisis-is-telling-you/#696c49347d7d)
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/07/25/50-jobs-over-50000-without-a-degree-part-1/ (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/07/25/50-jobs-over-50000-without-a-degree-part-1/)
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/08/05/50-jobs-over-50000-without-a-degree-part-2/ (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/08/05/50-jobs-over-50000-without-a-degree-part-2/)

I also recommend reading Tim Ferriss, the Four Hour Work Week, and Joseph Canfield, The Success Principles. I've also heard great things about Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office by Frankel.

Hmmm...is there a way to become an electrician while holding a full-time job as a teacher? Is there a heavy math or memorization requirement? If so, count me out. I'm not that good at those kinds of tasks.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: pbkmaine on October 02, 2016, 06:59:41 PM
Kmb501, have you ever thought of teaching people with ASD? Being on the spectrum yourself, you are uniquely suited to understand and help them.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: kmb501 on October 02, 2016, 07:03:37 PM
My first suggestion would be to check out teacher pay teacher. https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/ (https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/)

I have several friends who are making very good money by selling their lessons online. If you are already creating the lessons to teach, you may as well be making some extra money on them!

Also, you may want to look at teaching overseas. Way better money and would be a fantastic adventure to kick of your 30's :)

The TPT idea is good, but I can't really think of a completely original idea yet. Most of the stuff I use is free from the internet.

I'm all ears for teaching overseas, but I need to do research first and make sure I would be welcome (a lot of American teachers are already working there. They treat the teachers with respect. It's a welcoming climate. They give the teachers a little training and mentoring, etc.)

With the shifts in education and technology, you can't expect anyone to make your job easier for you and hand you the experience and support. You have to be a self-starter and invest the time to learning how to create your own curriculum and get more experience teaching - finding your unique style and voice. If you are teaching ESL during the evenings, this is a PERFECT testing ground for you.

With having your masters you can get into many countries that don't allow casual ESL teachers (I'm thinking specifically S. Korea and Japan)

You also have boundless options in areas surrounding and supporting education - TPT, Curriculum design, teaching online courses, offering online/skype ESL lessons...there are so many options out there - but there are no quick fixes, you still have to put in the time to learning your craft.

Yeah...but it would have been nice had they at least prevented me from having to reinvent the wheel. Giving me clay, rocks, and sand and asking me to make concrete would have predictable results, but that's the way it's been at every place at which I've worked and student taught! I was expected to "already know" the information. I wish I would have known what I know now. I could have stood up and told my cooperating teacher point-blank, "No, I don't know this. Is anyone willing to teach it to me?" Instead, though, I accepted that I "should have known how to teach" (even though no one taught me) and floundered during student teaching. 
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: kmb501 on October 02, 2016, 07:07:35 PM
Kmb501, have you ever thought of teaching people with ASD? Being on the spectrum yourself, you are uniquely suited to understand and help them.

I've thought about it, but I don't know how much help I would be. Plus, to my knowledge, without medical certification, there isn't a profession where I would only be working with people with ASD. If I went into special education, for instance, my list of students would include those on the spectrum, those suffering from traditional autism, those with Downs Syndrome, and those with various other physical and mental disabilities. Also, I think I should take into consideration that people with ASD aren't good natural communicators. I might have trouble modeling social pragmatics and other vital non-verbal skills. Of course, I would probably believe in my students, more than I can say for some of the teachers down here. Why, during student teaching, I overheard a teacher tell another that a certain student would probably not "ever be able to do anything for himself" because he had high functioning autism. My heart sank when I heard that, and of course it made me feel like hiding my own struggles with the disorder to avoid this teacher casting a negative opinion upon me and hurting my evaluations.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: Gronnie on October 02, 2016, 07:57:58 PM
You need to move, like yesterday. Masters in Education and making the equivalent of ~$10/hour? In my midwest, average cost of living city the local McDonald's starts high school kids out at about that. Costco and Aldi pay cashier's like $15/hour.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: kmb501 on October 02, 2016, 08:12:41 PM
You need to move, like yesterday. Masters in Education and making the equivalent of ~$10/hour? In my midwest, average cost of living city the local McDonald's starts high school kids out at about that. Costco and Aldi pay cashier's like $15/hour.

I would love to move or find a better paying job, one or the other.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: Cyanne on October 02, 2016, 08:30:24 PM
Kmb501, have you ever thought of teaching people with ASD? Being on the spectrum yourself, you are uniquely suited to understand and help them.

I've thought about it, but I don't know how much help I would be. Plus, to my knowledge, without medical certification, there isn't a profession where I would only be working with people with ASD. If I went into special education, for instance, my list of students would include those on the spectrum, those suffering from traditional autism, those with Downs Syndrome, and those with various other physical and mental disabilities. Also, I think I should take into consideration that people with ASD aren't good natural communicators. I might have trouble modeling social pragmatics and other vital non-verbal skills. Of course, I would probably believe in my students, more than I can say for some of the teachers down here. Why, during student teaching, I overheard a teacher tell another that a certain student would probably not "ever be able to do anything for himself" because he had high functioning autism. My heart sank when I heard that, and of course it made me feel like hiding my own struggles with the disorder to avoid this teacher casting a negative opinion upon me and hurting my evaluations.

There are various licenses in special education as well as different jobs in special education. There are positions that specialize in autism student or developmentally delayed students or emotional behavior disorder students. It really depends on which licenses you hold since there are different license areas in special education.


edited to remove personal info
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: With This Herring on October 02, 2016, 08:44:09 PM
You can look at information provided by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics to see which states pay teachers more.

http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/map_changer.htm
Major occupational group:  Education, Training, and Library
Occupation:  [I'm not sure which one best fits ESL]
Measure:  Annual mean wage by state OR Annual mean wage by MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area)

Table of wages for education (as paid by local government) by state (http://data.bls.gov/cew/apps/table_maker/v4/table_maker.htm#type=0&year=2016&qtr=1&own=3&ind=611&supp=0)
You can change the parameters for the above using this page:  http://data.bls.gov/cew/apps/data_views/data_views.htm#tab=Tables

A good general source for starting hunts on wage info: http://www.bls.gov/bls/blswage.htm

You will have to do your own research, but you can find better pay.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: NV Teacher on October 02, 2016, 09:01:15 PM
Wha... two degrees, one of them in education, and you can only find $20,000? I hear Las Vegas is always desperate for teachers. You can probably get several times that amount plus a signing bonus.
Come to Las Vegas.  Starting salary for a teacher with a BS degree is a little over $40,000 a year.  We have a new salary schedule this year so I'm not sure what you would make with a MS.  The district is still hiring because we still have hundreds of open positions.  Might be worth checking out.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: meandmyfamily on October 02, 2016, 09:15:13 PM
Come to Arizona and double your salary!!!
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: Physicsteacher on October 02, 2016, 09:18:04 PM
You are incredibly, inexcusably underpaid.
A few useful links:

http://lifehacker.com/how-to-overcome-your-quarter-life-crisis-1782670670 (http://lifehacker.com/how-to-overcome-your-quarter-life-crisis-1782670670)
http://allgroanup.com/adult/25-signs-quarter-life-crisis/ (http://allgroanup.com/adult/25-signs-quarter-life-crisis/)
http://www.forbes.com/sites/julesschroeder/2016/09/08/millennials-this-is-what-your-quarter-life-crisis-is-telling-you/#696c49347d7d (http://www.forbes.com/sites/julesschroeder/2016/09/08/millennials-this-is-what-your-quarter-life-crisis-is-telling-you/#696c49347d7d)
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/07/25/50-jobs-over-50000-without-a-degree-part-1/ (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/07/25/50-jobs-over-50000-without-a-degree-part-1/)
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/08/05/50-jobs-over-50000-without-a-degree-part-2/ (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/08/05/50-jobs-over-50000-without-a-degree-part-2/)

I also recommend reading Tim Ferriss, the Four Hour Work Week, and Joseph Canfield, The Success Principles. I've also heard great things about Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office by Frankel.

Hmmm...is there a way to become an electrician while holding a full-time job as a teacher? Is there a heavy math or memorization requirement? If so, count me out. I'm not that good at those kinds of tasks.

In Arkansas, becoming an electrician is an apprenticeship program. It would not be compatible with teaching, but you would work full time as an apprentice while going to classes one night a week for four years. First year apprentices at my husband's company make $10/hour. The exam to become a journeyman at the end of the four years is open book; you are required to bring your copy of the National Electric Code with you. You would need solid arithmetic skills, some geometry, and to be comfortable with algebraic formulas. You would also need to be ready to work outdoors in all weather conditions and lift 50 lbs.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: nancy33 on October 02, 2016, 10:23:11 PM
https://jobs.ca.gov/Public/Bulletin.aspx?examCD=2CEBT

You might be able to make 90 K in CA if you are willing to work in a prison!
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: Gronnie on October 02, 2016, 10:25:34 PM
https://jobs.ca.gov/Public/Bulletin.aspx?examCD=2CEBT

You might be able to make 90 K in CA if you are willing to work in a prison!

Am I missing something? That link says $4000-$5000 a month salary range (ie $48k-$60k annually).
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: arebelspy on October 03, 2016, 03:29:15 AM
Another thread on the same thing?

Why?

Haven't we answered this enough? 

This thread has all the same suggestions as the last few, down to the exact idea of teaching in Vegas.

Is this some really subtle long term troll job?

You couldn't be bothered with anyone's suggestions last time. Or the time before. Or the time before that.

Why should I think you'll bother this time?  How long until your next thread with the exact same question, where you reply, but basically ignore all the responses, and then repost the same thread later?  3 months?  Six months?

My suggestion, as has been said numerous times in the other thread for issues only hinted at here is therapy.

At the very least, read Scrubby's book.  But it doesn't seem like you actually WANT to change anything.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: kmb501 on October 03, 2016, 04:23:55 AM
Another thread on the same thing?

Why?

Haven't we answered this enough? 

This thread has all the same suggestions as the last few, down to the exact idea of teaching in Vegas.

Is this some really subtle long term troll job?

You couldn't be bothered with anyone's suggestions last time. Or the time before. Or the time before that.

Why should I think you'll bother this time?  How long until your next thread with the exact same question, where you reply, but basically ignore all the responses, and then repost the same thread later?  3 months?  Six months?

My suggestion, as has been said numerous times in the other thread for issues only hinted at here is therapy.

At the very least, read Scrubby's book.  But it doesn't seem like you actually WANT to change anything.

Sorry, I guess I should have revived an old thread instead of starting a new one. I apologize for constantly posting the same information, but I'm stuck. Why am I stuck, though? Good question. I think I need to work on figuring that out. That might be a good first step.

I know that in the past, maybe not right now, but in the past, I was very reluctant to approach people in person or even call them on the phone, because I felt like I wouldn't know what to say. I think that might be one thing that is holding me back. I guess there's no cure for shyness except just doing what makes us afraid.  Thank you all for the suggestions. I think I'm going to try something at least.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: Villanelle on October 03, 2016, 05:04:38 AM
You need to DO SOMETHING.  This isn't going to happen to you.  And you don't have to analyze every possibility and find the very best one.  That's not plausible.  You need to find a good option, and go with it. 

Does the Southwest appeal to you at all?  Vegas and Arizona have nth been presented as good options.  What do you look for or lil win a hometown?  If those areas seem like they'd work for you, then I'd say it's time to stop looking and start applying.  If your phone anxiety is that bad, consider practicing with a friend for likely questions that will come up.  But really, most applying can be done online.  When you get hired, you rent a truck with the things you can't live without (or better yet cram them in your car).  Find a VRBO room to stay in until you can find a more permanent living arrangement.  And get to work getting to know your hometown.  Don't let all of that overwhelm you.  I only lay it out to show you that moving to a new place is not as awful or difficult as it may seem.  But for now, all you have to do is pick 2-3 areas that seem like a good fit for you, and start applying.

In the mean time, consider applying at tutor.com for some additional side cash. 

Now go!!! Do it.  Make it a goal to choose your areas by Friday (or just go with Vegas and AZ, if those seem like a good fit) and then apply to at least 3 districts by the end of next week, and three more the following week.  Go!
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: arebelspy on October 03, 2016, 05:13:56 AM
Sorry, I guess I should have revived an old thread instead of starting a new one. I apologize for constantly posting the same information, but I'm stuck. Why am I stuck, though? Good question. I think I need to work on figuring that out. That might be a good first step.

I know that in the past, maybe not right now, but in the past, I was very reluctant to approach people in person or even call them on the phone, because I felt like I wouldn't know what to say. I think that might be one thing that is holding me back. I guess there's no cure for shyness except just doing what makes us afraid.  Thank you all for the suggestions. I think I'm going to try something at least.

It can be tough breaking out of your comfort zone.  Before you were scared of teaching overseas, now you didn't mention that.  Did you get over that?

Several people have offered suggestions around finding a better place to teach.

Are you willing to relocate/move?  Or not, and if not, why not?
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: kmb501 on October 03, 2016, 05:27:20 AM
You need to DO SOMETHING.  This isn't going to happen to you.  And you don't have to analyze every possibility and find the very best one.  That's not plausible.  You need to find a good option, and go with it. 

Does the Southwest appeal to you at all?  Vegas and Arizona have nth been presented as good options.  What do you look for or lil win a hometown?  If those areas seem like they'd work for you, then I'd say it's time to stop looking and start applying.  If your phone anxiety is that bad, consider practicing with a friend for likely questions that will come up.  But really, most applying can be done online.  When you get hired, you rent a truck with the things you can't live without (or better yet cram them in your car).  Find a VRBO room to stay in until you can find a more permanent living arrangement.  And get to work getting to know your hometown.  Don't let all of that overwhelm you.  I only lay it out to show you that moving to a new place is not as awful or difficult as it may seem.  But for now, all you have to do is pick 2-3 areas that seem like a good fit for you, and start applying.

In the mean time, consider applying at tutor.com for some additional side cash. 

Now go!!! Do it.  Make it a goal to choose your areas by Friday (or just go with Vegas and AZ, if those seem like a good fit) and then apply to at least 3 districts by the end of next week, and three more the following week.  Go!


I'll go to the website today.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: little_brown_dog on October 03, 2016, 11:40:49 AM
I know u feel like you have to give 200/mo to charity, and if you made more money I would be fine with you having routine charitable donations, but think about it logically. The 200/mo you are giving away now will just be siphoned from others if you end up requiring assistance from family/friends/charities/the govt because you have inadequate savings and retirement funds. So in reality, you are impoverishing yourself to feel good in the short term, but in turn you are increasing the chances that YOU will have to be a charity recipient some day, effectively cancelling out your donations from a monetary perspective.
There is a popular saying…charity begins at home. Most of us take it to mean that we should be generous, charitable and compassionate with our family members. But there is also another meaning, which is that by taking care of yourself first within reason, you are preventing yourself from requiring charity from others.
At the very least, please reduce this amount to something still generous but far more in line with your income. A charity donation of 50 bucks a month is very generous for your income will free up $150 to go into savings. A simple change like this will allow you to still give AND save for retirement. Win win.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: FLBiker on October 03, 2016, 03:05:31 PM
I think I probably posted about this on the previous thread, but I made good money (relative to cost of living) teaching in Taiwan, and it was a cool place to live.  I was there for 5 years.  And getting that overseas experience made it relatively easy to get a job in the US teaching ESL at a university.  From there, I moved into admin.  And I've also got a BA in English and an MA (although mine is in ESL specifically).  And I know lots of people who have followed similar career paths.

Dave's ESL Cafe is how I found my first job (albeit in 1999).  Most of the globe is open to you with an MA degree, though.  When I was looking to work overseas, EU countries were tough because they basically all employed UK teachers.  With the Brexit, though, that might be changing.

Good luck!
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: matchewed on October 03, 2016, 04:23:54 PM
People are often stuck because they are under the illusion that if they think of an idea they can become unstuck. The ideas are there, in this thread and any previous one you may have put out there. The ideas aren't the problem. The action is. Act on the idea. Don't think about the hurdles. Act and if you encounter a hurdle act to move past it.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: mozar on October 03, 2016, 05:17:34 PM
I used to have extreme phone anxiety, but I made myself do it anyway. I barked on the phone, I stuttered on the phone, I accidentally lied, I was rude to people, my body would physically shake, but I kept doing it. It took me about 5 years to start getting better. You think that you have to be perfect in order to get ahead. But you don't, you have to keep trying.
The difference between people who are successful and are not successful is that people who are successful keep trying, they also fail a lot, and learn from their failures.
People rarely talk about the times they've failed so it's hard to figure out if your mistakes are normal or not. I too had jobs where I was expected to know everything before I was taught it. My solution was to move into a career where I found it easier to teach myself.

I've said this before and I will keep saying it. I really hope you read "Feeling Good, the New Mood Therapy," so you can start fixing your brain.

And you will have to move eventually. You live in rural Alabama if I remember correctly? There's a whole country/world out there.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: pbkmaine on October 03, 2016, 06:27:49 PM
I used to have extreme phone anxiety, but I made myself do it anyway. I barked on the phone, I stuttered on the phone, I accidentally lied, I was rude to people, my body would physically shake, but I kept doing it. It took me about 5 years to start getting better. You think that you have to be perfect in order to get ahead. But you don't, you have to keep trying.
The difference between people who are successful and are not successful is that people who are successful keep trying, they also fail a lot, and learn from their failures.
People rarely talk about the times they've failed so it's hard to figure out if your mistakes are normal or not. I too had jobs where I was expected to know everything before I was taught it. My solution was to move into a career where I found it easier to teach myself.

I've said this before and I will keep saying it. I really hope you read "Feeling Good, the New Mood Therapy," so you can start fixing your brain.

And you will have to move eventually. You live in rural Alabama if I remember correctly? There's a whole country/world out there.

Very good advice!
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: kmb501 on October 03, 2016, 07:05:01 PM
I used to have extreme phone anxiety, but I made myself do it anyway. I barked on the phone, I stuttered on the phone, I accidentally lied, I was rude to people, my body would physically shake, but I kept doing it. It took me about 5 years to start getting better. You think that you have to be perfect in order to get ahead. But you don't, you have to keep trying.
The difference between people who are successful and are not successful is that people who are successful keep trying, they also fail a lot, and learn from their failures.
People rarely talk about the times they've failed so it's hard to figure out if your mistakes are normal or not. I too had jobs where I was expected to know everything before I was taught it. My solution was to move into a career where I found it easier to teach myself.

I've said this before and I will keep saying it. I really hope you read "Feeling Good, the New Mood Therapy," so you can start fixing your brain.

And you will have to move eventually. You live in rural Alabama if I remember correctly? There's a whole country/world out there.

Very good advice!

I really feel like I'm getting mentally past those things I used to use as excuses, such as "not being able to talk to people." I do it every day at my job, so I should be a lot better at it than I used to be. I really do think it's all in my head. I can do a phone interview as well as another person, maybe better. I can do an in-person interview as well as another person, too. I'm really not as bad at these things as I think I am.

I feel bad about leaving my "safe place," though. I like having the excuse of "I have social anxiety and ASD" to fall back on if things don't pan out. I'm at the point where I feel like I HAVE to try something new, though, because what I'm doing isn't exactly working. 

Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: arebelspy on October 03, 2016, 07:07:39 PM
Before you were scared of teaching overseas, now you didn't mention that.  Did you get over that?

Several people have offered suggestions around finding a better place to teach.

Are you willing to relocate/move?  Or not, and if not, why not?

Bump.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: SwordGuy on October 03, 2016, 07:22:15 PM
Wha... two degrees, one of them in education, and you can only find $20,000? I hear Las Vegas is always desperate for teachers. You can probably get several times that amount plus a signing bonus.

Maybe I just don't know how to apply? I signed up on their website, but they called me for some position I wasn't qualified for.
Did you decide that on your own or did they?   Because that's not always something you should be doing.  (Can't fly a plane and they want you to be a pilot.  Self-select out.  Want you to teach Chaucer but you specialized in Milton?   Get a damn copy of Chaucer and keep at least one lesson ahead of the class!!!   And pocket the big bucks for learning!)

It looks like you could more than double your salary in NC, and that's just starting salary.  Don't know what the masters would add.  Or city salary supplements.

I suggest you just start applying like crazy and take the first decent offer you get in a place that's not a hell hole to live in.

Don't like it?  Then go someplace else 2 years later as a more experienced teacher!

Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: expatartist on October 03, 2016, 07:45:15 PM
I really feel like I'm getting mentally past those things I used to use as excuses, such as "not being able to talk to people." I do it every day at my job, so I should be a lot better at it than I used to be. I really do think it's all in my head. I can do a phone interview as well as another person, maybe better. I can do an in-person interview as well as another person, too. I'm really not as bad at these things as I think I am.

I feel bad about leaving my "safe place," though. I like having the excuse of "I have social anxiety and ASD" to fall back on if things don't pan out. I'm at the point where I feel like I HAVE to try something new, though, because what I'm doing isn't exactly working.

Hi OP, I remember you. It sounds like you're doing some good analysis of what's behind the stuck-ness. That's good. Keep it up!

Before you were scared of teaching overseas, now you didn't mention that.  Did you get over that?

Several people have offered suggestions around finding a better place to teach.

Are you willing to relocate/move?  Or not, and if not, why not?

Bump.

+1
Sometimes, an entirely alien environment - like Asia, which has been my home for ~13 years - can be easier to adjust to than one that is one's 'home country'. There's a lot of prejudice in the northern/Western US if one is southern, especially if one has a 'southern' accent [an accent that many English love btw]. As a poster mentioned above, teaching ESL overseas will bump up your salary upon a return to the US. Also, the social and work life in English overseas is...different than the US. More diverse, yet more limited. More possibilities, more cosmopolitan, and if you do it right, much faster salary advancement, which will translate to a much better salary upon your return to the US.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: kmb501 on October 04, 2016, 01:04:50 AM
I really feel like I'm getting mentally past those things I used to use as excuses, such as "not being able to talk to people." I do it every day at my job, so I should be a lot better at it than I used to be. I really do think it's all in my head. I can do a phone interview as well as another person, maybe better. I can do an in-person interview as well as another person, too. I'm really not as bad at these things as I think I am.

I feel bad about leaving my "safe place," though. I like having the excuse of "I have social anxiety and ASD" to fall back on if things don't pan out. I'm at the point where I feel like I HAVE to try something new, though, because what I'm doing isn't exactly working.

Hi OP, I remember you. It sounds like you're doing some good analysis of what's behind the stuck-ness. That's good. Keep it up!

Before you were scared of teaching overseas, now you didn't mention that.  Did you get over that?

Several people have offered suggestions around finding a better place to teach.

Are you willing to relocate/move?  Or not, and if not, why not?

Bump.

+1
Sometimes, an entirely alien environment - like Asia, which has been my home for ~13 years - can be easier to adjust to than one that is one's 'home country'. There's a lot of prejudice in the northern/Western US if one is southern, especially if one has a 'southern' accent [an accent that many English love btw]. As a poster mentioned above, teaching ESL overseas will bump up your salary upon a return to the US. Also, the social and work life in English overseas is...different than the US. More diverse, yet more limited. More possibilities, more cosmopolitan, and if you do it right, much faster salary advancement, which will translate to a much better salary upon your return to the US.

I'm not trying to make excuses, but before I go overseas, I need to make sure my communication and organization problems are a thing of the past. A foreign teacher might think I'm mocking him or her if I show up to teach unprepared one day, but this has been a subtle nightmare where I've worked throughout my life. Sometimes my mind just doesn't cooperate with me. I feel like I've improved tremendously lately, though.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: Villanelle on October 04, 2016, 02:03:08 AM
I really feel like I'm getting mentally past those things I used to use as excuses, such as "not being able to talk to people." I do it every day at my job, so I should be a lot better at it than I used to be. I really do think it's all in my head. I can do a phone interview as well as another person, maybe better. I can do an in-person interview as well as another person, too. I'm really not as bad at these things as I think I am.

I feel bad about leaving my "safe place," though. I like having the excuse of "I have social anxiety and ASD" to fall back on if things don't pan out. I'm at the point where I feel like I HAVE to try something new, though, because what I'm doing isn't exactly working.



Hi OP, I remember you. It sounds like you're doing some good analysis of what's behind the stuck-ness. That's good. Keep it up!

Before you were scared of teaching overseas, now you didn't mention that.  Did you get over that?

Several people have offered suggestions around finding a better place to teach.

Are you willing to relocate/move?  Or not, and if not, why not?

Bump.

+1
Sometimes, an entirely alien environment - like Asia, which has been my home for ~13 years - can be easier to adjust to than one that is one's 'home country'. There's a lot of prejudice in the northern/Western US if one is southern, especially if one has a 'southern' accent [an accent that many English love btw]. As a poster mentioned above, teaching ESL overseas will bump up your salary upon a return to the US. Also, the social and work life in English overseas is...different than the US. More diverse, yet more limited. More possibilities, more cosmopolitan, and if you do it right, much faster salary advancement, which will translate to a much better salary upon your return to the US.

I'm not trying to make excuses, but before I go overseas, I need to make sure my communication and organization problems are a thing of the past. A foreign teacher might think I'm mocking him or her if I show up to teach unprepared one day, but this has been a subtle nightmare where I've worked throughout my life. Sometimes my mind just doesn't cooperate with me. I feel like I've improved tremendously lately, though.

Then don't go overseas.   Are you actively doing something to "make sure [your] communication and organization problems are a thing of the past"?  Do you have good reason to believe you are almost to that point?  Like, within months?  If not, then this probably isn't the right path for you, because you need to do something about your situation now, not two years from now when you've had more therapy and whatever else you do.  If, in two years, you are at that point, you can reconsider.  Until then you need to find a plan you can start now.  It sounds like overseas is not that plan.  Fine.  So cross it off your list, don't look back, and move forward toward something else.  You are still just spitballing various option on the internet.  You could easily do that for decades.  And you'll still be right where you are, geographically, financially, emotionally, and in all other ways. 

Also, as someone who has moved overseas and who struggles with social anxiety, I'd say that my experience was a bit different and that in same ways I think think being in a new environment with those kinds of issues can be harder, not easier. I still feel a deep sense of... shame, I guess... every time I can't figure out a parking meter and I need to ask a stranger for help and hope that our limited language skills and our charades are enough, or when I don't quite know the etiquette associated with something and I'm worried I am going to offend, or whatever.  The alien environment and resulting lack of cultural literacies has really, really challenged my anxieties. 

And again, since you aren't at the point where you are ready to tackle that anyway, it's probably not the right choice for you. (Does it even appeal to you, outside of the money?)  So move on to the things that are.  If it interests you, keep it on the back burner as an option for the future.  But right now, you need to focus on the getting a meal started on the front burner so you can feed yourself.  Pick an option you can begin executing today.  You aren't there for overseas teaching, and you don't know if/when you will be. Nothing wrong with that.  But you can begin executing a plan to get a much better teaching job in the US today. 

You need to start making decisions, and taking actions.  You've been chewing over options for months, or longer.  Enough.  Decide, and act! 
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: arebelspy on October 04, 2016, 03:09:56 AM
Not all the suggestions are overseas.

So:
Are you willing to relocate/move?  Or not, and if not, why not?

If no, just say no. But that's rather important to many of the suggestions that you seem to be ignoring.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: kmb501 on October 04, 2016, 03:18:18 AM


Then don't go overseas.   Are you actively doing something to "make sure [your] communication and organization problems are a thing of the past"?  Do you have good reason to believe you are almost to that point?  Like, within months?  If not, then this probably isn't the right path for you, because you need to do something about your situation now, not two years from now when you've had more therapy and whatever else you do.  If, in two years, you are at that point, you can reconsider.  Until then you need to find a plan you can start now.  It sounds like overseas is not that plan.  Fine.  So cross it off your list, don't look back, and move forward toward something else.  You are still just spitballing various option on the internet.  You could easily do that for decades.  And you'll still be right where you are, geographically, financially, emotionally, and in all other ways. 

Also, as someone who has moved overseas and who struggles with social anxiety, I'd say that my experience was a bit different and that in same ways I think think being in a new environment with those kinds of issues can be harder, not easier. I still feel a deep sense of... shame, I guess... every time I can't figure out a parking meter and I need to ask a stranger for help and hope that our limited language skills and our charades are enough, or when I don't quite know the etiquette associated with something and I'm worried I am going to offend, or whatever.  The alien environment and resulting lack of cultural literacies has really, really challenged my anxieties. 

And again, since you aren't at the point where you are ready to tackle that anyway, it's probably not the right choice for you. (Does it even appeal to you, outside of the money?)  So move on to the things that are.  If it interests you, keep it on the back burner as an option for the future.  But right now, you need to focus on the getting a meal started on the front burner so you can feed yourself.  Pick an option you can begin executing today.  You aren't there for overseas teaching, and you don't know if/when you will be. Nothing wrong with that.  But you can begin executing a plan to get a much better teaching job in the US today. 

You need to start making decisions, and taking actions.  You've been chewing over options for months, or longer.  Enough.  Decide, and act!

Okay, here's what I would like to do:

1. Start a private tutoring business. Right now, I'm not sure I have the skills for it. I've worked as a volunteer tutor, but I'm not sure the parents would be as thrilled about my services if they had to pay for them. I'm not sure I measure up to the competition in this small area. I would like to try to get something started, though. It could be a decent side income or even a full-time profession, and it would be a good safe test for my shyness and disorganization. This is my first choice, and it would take the least amount of work to complete. I don't want to go in cold, though. Even though I've taken lots of Education classes and have a master's degree in it, I feel like I need to "look like a tutor," have official looking contracts, learning plans, and assessment tests. I also need to learn a lot more about kids with special needs, as so far my training has only covered regular and ESL students.

2. Apply for a teaching job in a neighboring area. Louisiana and Florida aren't too far from here. Although I would be a little reluctant to pick up and move to Nevada or a place where I wouldn't have ready support from friends or family if things didn't pan out, I could convince myself to move a state or two away. Perhaps I should look for opportunities in these areas? This would be my second choice.

3. Call schools several states away, explain my credentials and communication problems, and move several states away after checking on the area and making sure it's somewhere I might like to live and work. Even though I wouldn't be as close to friends and family, it would be less challenging than living overseas.

4. Contact a recruiter or language school overseas, explain my issues with shyness, and see if they have a place for me in spite of it. I would thrive in an environment where (1) other English speakers were working in the building with me, (2) many of the teachers spoke my language, and (3) the curriculum and lesson plans were pre-prepared for me just in case I forget something.   
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: Villanelle on October 04, 2016, 03:39:46 AM


Then don't go overseas.   Are you actively doing something to "make sure [your] communication and organization problems are a thing of the past"?  Do you have good reason to believe you are almost to that point?  Like, within months?  If not, then this probably isn't the right path for you, because you need to do something about your situation now, not two years from now when you've had more therapy and whatever else you do.  If, in two years, you are at that point, you can reconsider.  Until then you need to find a plan you can start now.  It sounds like overseas is not that plan.  Fine.  So cross it off your list, don't look back, and move forward toward something else.  You are still just spitballing various option on the internet.  You could easily do that for decades.  And you'll still be right where you are, geographically, financially, emotionally, and in all other ways. 

Also, as someone who has moved overseas and who struggles with social anxiety, I'd say that my experience was a bit different and that in same ways I think think being in a new environment with those kinds of issues can be harder, not easier. I still feel a deep sense of... shame, I guess... every time I can't figure out a parking meter and I need to ask a stranger for help and hope that our limited language skills and our charades are enough, or when I don't quite know the etiquette associated with something and I'm worried I am going to offend, or whatever.  The alien environment and resulting lack of cultural literacies has really, really challenged my anxieties. 

And again, since you aren't at the point where you are ready to tackle that anyway, it's probably not the right choice for you. (Does it even appeal to you, outside of the money?)  So move on to the things that are.  If it interests you, keep it on the back burner as an option for the future.  But right now, you need to focus on the getting a meal started on the front burner so you can feed yourself.  Pick an option you can begin executing today.  You aren't there for overseas teaching, and you don't know if/when you will be. Nothing wrong with that.  But you can begin executing a plan to get a much better teaching job in the US today. 

You need to start making decisions, and taking actions.  You've been chewing over options for months, or longer.  Enough.  Decide, and act!

Okay, here's what I would like to do:

1. Start a private tutoring business. Right now, I'm not sure I have the skills for it. I've worked as a volunteer tutor, but I'm not sure the parents would be as thrilled about my services if they had to pay for them. I'm not sure I measure up to the competition in this small area. I would like to try to get something started, though. It could be a decent side income or even a full-time profession, and it would be a good safe test for my shyness and disorganization. This is my first choice, and it would take the least amount of work to complete. I don't want to go in cold, though. Even though I've taken lots of Education classes and have a master's degree in it, I feel like I need to "look like a tutor," have official looking contracts, learning plans, and assessment tests. I also need to learn a lot more about kids with special needs, as so far my training has only covered regular and ESL students.

If they aren't willing to pay, they won't.  That's no reason not to start.  You'll either get business, or you won't.  You might also apply to tutor.com.  They do online tutoring.  It would be some side cash, and could beef up your tutoring resume for your private business as well.  Also, I've done a very small bit of tutoring and was nerve expected to have contracts and learning plans.  I sat down with the kid's homework and explained it until they understood.  That's it.  And if you aren't qualified to teach kids with special needs, don't take that on right now.  That's another example of you putting off doing anything because you can't do one thing.  For now, slap together some fliers, post them at the local grocery store bulletin board, post on neighborhood Facebook groups, and spread the word any other way you can think of.  Don't over engineer this.  You can make it fancier later, or add more services.  The important thing is to get started.  Get this started on a casual level, especially if you are going to pursue #2, in which case it s going to hopefully be fairly short term.  If you are a decent writer, you can add help with college essays to your list of services.

2. Apply for a teaching job in a neighboring area. Louisiana and Florida aren't too far from here. Although I would be a little reluctant to pick up and move to Nevada or a place where I wouldn't have ready support from friends or family if things didn't pan out, I could convince myself to move a state or two away. Perhaps I should look for opportunities in these areas? This would be my second choice.

Okay, great!  So do it.  You could likely do both this and tutoring.  Or do tutoring until you find a new teaching job.  Tomorrow (or today), get on the internet and start apply.  Why aren't you doing this?  You've got a plan.  Now execute it.

3. Call schools several states away, explain my credentials and communication problems, and move several states away after checking on the area and making sure it's somewhere I might like to live and work. Even though I wouldn't be as close to friends and family, it would be less challenging than living overseas.

Why would you explain your communication problems?  You know you can teach.  You are doing it now and your communication problems don't seem to be preventing you from being somewhat successful at it.  Why would you call a future employer and lay out your issues?  How are they relevant, since you have proven success at teaching?  Don't give them a reason not to her you (or two reasons--communications issues that you seem to be suggesting might make you a less than ideal candidate or you wouldn't have brought them up, and judgement at actually bringing them up).  Apply to do a job you are more than qualified for, and have been managing successfully.   Over-explaining makes you seem awkward and like you might have poor judgement, and also like you are explaining in advance why you might not be good for the job.  Who would hire you if you do that, unless they are desperate?  These people are experts and if they decide to hire you, it means you meet the requirements for the job.  And since it is a job you are already doing, that shouldn't be surprising. Go forth with confidence, even if it is all faked.

4. Contact a recruiter or language school overseas, explain my issues with shyness, and see if they have a place for me in spite of it. I would thrive in an environment where (1) other English speakers were working in the building with me, (2) many of the teachers spoke my language, and (3) the curriculum and lesson plans were pre-prepared for me just in case I forget something.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: arebelspy on October 04, 2016, 04:03:23 AM
Okay, here's what I would like to do:

1. Start a private tutoring business. Right now, I'm not sure I have the skills for it. I've worked as a volunteer tutor, but I'm not sure the parents would be as thrilled about my services if they had to pay for them. I'm not sure I measure up to the competition in this small area. I would like to try to get something started, though. It could be a decent side income or even a full-time profession, and it would be a good safe test for my shyness and disorganization. This is my first choice, and it would take the least amount of work to complete. I don't want to go in cold, though. Even though I've taken lots of Education classes and have a master's degree in it, I feel like I need to "look like a tutor," have official looking contracts, learning plans, and assessment tests. I also need to learn a lot more about kids with special needs, as so far my training has only covered regular and ESL students.

2. Apply for a teaching job in a neighboring area. Louisiana and Florida aren't too far from here. Although I would be a little reluctant to pick up and move to Nevada or a place where I wouldn't have ready support from friends or family if things didn't pan out, I could convince myself to move a state or two away. Perhaps I should look for opportunities in these areas? This would be my second choice.

3. Call schools several states away, explain my credentials and communication problems, and move several states away after checking on the area and making sure it's somewhere I might like to live and work. Even though I wouldn't be as close to friends and family, it would be less challenging than living overseas.

4. Contact a recruiter or language school overseas, explain my issues with shyness, and see if they have a place for me in spite of it. I would thrive in an environment where (1) other English speakers were working in the building with me, (2) many of the teachers spoke my language, and (3) the curriculum and lesson plans were pre-prepared for me just in case I forget something.

Those all seem like good ideas to research into.  :)
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: mozar on October 04, 2016, 12:11:07 PM
It's ok to start without looking professional.  All you need is one paying client, then you will be a professional. Don't spend money on business cards etc. until you have money coming in

Also we live in an extroverted culture. You can't explain your shyness and hope to get a job. You have to stop acting shy and take action.
It's really not so bad if you do something you think is embarrassing.  People embarrass themselves all the time. Nobody is going to lay down and die because you forgot a lesson plan.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: RetiredAt63 on October 04, 2016, 12:34:43 PM
Extroverts are energized by being with people.  Introverts need the quiet recharge time by themselves.  But an introvert can certainly go out into a group of people and teach.  An introvert just needs to make sure the recharge time is there. 

Introvert isn't the same as shy.  I know lots of shy people who are still shy on the inside, but have learned to get out there and deal with the world.  Teaching gives you a controlled situation and a receptive audience.

I say this as a shy introvert.  I found a lot of my fellow science teachers were similar, we were into the sciences because we loved them, and then ended up teaching.  I have done all sorts of things in my life because I could speak in public, a skill I learned by teaching.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: LeRainDrop on October 04, 2016, 12:44:47 PM
You need a plan for higher income that can be executed immediately.  If you honest-to-goodness do not have the skills to do some of your ideas, then those cannot be your immediate plans.

It seems to me that your major problem is lacking confidence and overcoming inertia.  How do you have a masters yet not have the skills to do tutoring for money?  I don't believe you don't have the skills.  You are just doubting yourself.  How do you expect to get a job by telling the employer that you have bad communication skills?  I'd be surprised if anyone would hire you if you tell them that because they probably have many more applicants who act with confidence (even if inside they are feeling shaky).  There's a reason why "fake it till you make it" is such popular advice -- many people, including you, just need to follow it!

ETA:  You may be grappling with impostor syndrome, which is something a TON of us experience at one time or another.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/caroline-dowdhiggins/impostor-syndrome_b_1651762.html
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: kmb501 on October 04, 2016, 03:24:07 PM
You need a plan for higher income that can be executed immediately.  If you honest-to-goodness do not have the skills to do some of your ideas, then those cannot be your immediate plans.

It seems to me that your major problem is lacking confidence and overcoming inertia.  How do you have a masters yet not have the skills to do tutoring for money?  I don't believe you don't have the skills.  You are just doubting yourself.  How do you expect to get a job by telling the employer that you have bad communication skills?  I'd be surprised if anyone would hire you if you tell them that because they probably have many more applicants who act with confidence (even if inside they are feeling shaky).  There's a reason why "fake it till you make it" is such popular advice -- many people, including you, just need to follow it!

ETA:  You may be grappling with impostor syndrome, which is something a TON of us experience at one time or another.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/caroline-dowdhiggins/impostor-syndrome_b_1651762.html

Yes, I have that, but with good reason, I guess. I've been diagnosed with ASD (a form of high functioning autism) as an adult, and social conventions have seldom been intuitive. Lately, they feel like they have been, but this is a new development. I usually spend large portions of my day ruminating about the things I can't do right. I guess I should stop it, but people do sometimes remind me. I have a tendency to make more mistakes than most people and often just don't use "common sense," because I'm looking at the situation from only my perspective. As a result, I often come off as much less competent than I really am.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: mozar on October 04, 2016, 04:17:57 PM
You are thinking that other people know what they are doing. They don't, many people are faking it too. Social conventions are not intuitive, they are learned. There isn't some secret you aren't in on. If there are some specific social conventions you are struggling with you could try googling "why do people do x?"
I've come off as less competant than I am many times, its no big deal.
If someone gives you a look for doing something stupid, so what?
You say you are doing a lot of ruminating. This is called disordered thinking, and there are exercises you can do to fix it.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: Bracken_Joy on October 04, 2016, 04:33:51 PM
You are thinking that other people know what they are doing. They don't, many people are faking it too. Social conventions are not intuitive, they are learned. There isn't some secret you aren't in on. If there are some specific social conventions you are struggling with you could try googling "why do people do x?"
I've come off as less competant than I am many times, its no big deal.
If someone gives you a look for doing something stupid, so what?
You say you are doing a lot of ruminating. This is called disordered thinking, and there are exercises you can do to fix it.

The whole field of "CBT" (cognitive behavioral therapy) is focused around this and is extremely well supported by studies. I notice you don't address every time the suggestion of counseling comes up, but seriously, please consider it. There are actual skills you can learn specifically around managing disordered thinking. It's not some "uselessly talk about your feelings with no goal or end period in mind ever". There are goals, there are tools, there is progress that you can measure. It isn't some fluffy nonsense- it is a science, with techniques that work. PLEASE look into it.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: kmb501 on October 04, 2016, 04:56:21 PM


The whole field of "CBT" (cognitive behavioral therapy) is focused around this and is extremely well supported by studies. I notice you don't address every time the suggestion of counseling comes up, but seriously, please consider it. There are actual skills you can learn specifically around managing disordered thinking. It's not some "uselessly talk about your feelings with no goal or end period in mind ever". There are goals, there are tools, there is progress that you can measure. It isn't some fluffy nonsense- it is a science, with techniques that work. PLEASE look into it.

I'm going to counseling now, but the counselor doesn't follow me home, so she has no way of knowing what's really going on. Even though CBT is supposed to be a series of logical steps to help me improve my thinking, it feels like the talk-about-your-feelings-with-me stuff that I feel like is unproductive. I think really good CBT would have the therapist mimicking the situations I'm likely to encounter in the real world and then walking me through the proper responses to them. Of course, that WILL NOT happen.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: mozar on October 04, 2016, 06:17:28 PM
Nope, that's not going to happen, because there is no proper response to anything. You can imagine yourself in a situation so you can practice. But no one is going to reach in your brain and fix it for you.
The therapist might not be good for other reasons, that's why I recommended the book. I used to lose hours and days to ruminating, so I know what its like.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: Lanthiriel on October 04, 2016, 06:42:19 PM
Admittedly I didn't read this whole thread and it sounds like you aren't keen on moving too far away. But if you have ASD and are interested in teaching ASD students, I'd suggest getting your special education endorsement. It's not a full masters and I think it takes a year at most. Up here in Alaska, the Anchorage school district is looking for 18 special education teachers including specifically as "Structured Learning (Autism) Teacher" at the high school level. I'm pretty sure starting salary for a resource room/special ed teacher is $52k, which, even with the high cost of living, is more than enough to make it as a single person. I know for a fact they recruit from out of state.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: LeRainDrop on October 04, 2016, 06:44:44 PM
Exactly.  It's not like 2+2, where the only right answer is 4.  Lots of what all of us do every day is just making the best judgment call that we can at the time.  Sometimes it turns out to be great, sometimes just good, and other times we wish we could go back and change it.  Anyway, I agree with the others that CBT should be very helpful to you, and if you find that your counselor is not helping you to make progress, then perhaps it's time to find another therapist.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: zephyr911 on October 04, 2016, 07:48:25 PM
This isn't midlife, but it's never too early to start.
Reinvesting in yourself is good at this point, if it means higher income later.
My NW didn't go positive for the last time until I was a few years older than you, and I'm still looking at mostly retiring by 39, but technical skills put my income a lot higher by 35. Still, you're in the driver's seat to a greater degree than you think. Just cut costs, work out some kind of housing hack and drive less, etc... it will all start to add up. Then when you learn/work your way to higher income, just keep saving the raises. Your current low income becomes an asset since you're used to living on less. Your savings rate goes thru the roof and you're free long before the lifetime high earners with their lifestyle creep. Win.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: MayDay on October 05, 2016, 07:16:51 AM
You are thinking that other people know what they are doing. They don't, many people are faking it too. Social conventions are not intuitive, they are learned. There isn't some secret you aren't in on. If there are some specific social conventions you are struggling with you could try googling "why do people do x?"
I've come off as less competant than I am many times, its no big deal.
If someone gives you a look for doing something stupid, so what?
You say you are doing a lot of ruminating. This is called disordered thinking, and there are exercises you can do to fix it.

This is a little tone deaf.  People without autism learn social conventions easily, just by experiencing and observing.  People with autism need much more direct instruction, it is considerably harder for them than for the general population.  It is exactly as though there is some secret that she isn't in on.

I think the thing you need to remember is that an ASD diagnosis with normal to above normal intelligence (which I assume you have due to college degrees, etc) still have about a 30% development delay that they need to catch up on.  For the typical person with ASD, this means they might spend their early to mid 20"s finishing the "teenager" process, and getting ready to launch into adulthood.  Sounds like you are just getting to that point- you are starting to feel more confident in your job!  That is great!  Its ok that it is taking you longer.

However, I do want to add to the chorus that you don't need to be and SHOULDN'T be doing this alone!  CBT is a great tool for people with autism, and it is likely that your teacher's insurance covers some visits to a therapist. 

I will ditto the advice to put yourself out there in some way- be that local tutoring, applying to neighboring districts, etc.  DO NOT qualify your phone call or application with negative things about yourself- every candidate has negative things.  You don't share those with potential employers!  But pick something to do this week to get you closer towards your goal.  And if you can't figure out what, make your thing be calling a therapist and setting up an appointment.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: mozar on October 05, 2016, 12:58:40 PM
I can see how I came off as tone deaf, and its true that I don't have asd. But I have struggled with all of the same things that the OP has struggled with.

For example, when coming across a stranger, a woman is supposed to smile. But I don't, I never will. It's just a convention, and I realized that the reason I looked away is because I felt insecure. I understand that being aware of a social conventions and not doing them are different than not knowing them at all.
But I want the OP to know that social conventions aren't that big of a deal, and I've said in a previous post that the American south puts a really big focus on social conventions where if you don't do them you are less of a woman, which in other parts of the country whether a woman smiles or not is not a big deal.

Lastly I want the OP to do the hard work of healing the root of the issue, which is low self esteem.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: dkaid on October 05, 2016, 01:04:03 PM
There was a great thread not so long ago about overcoming shyness.  Maybe I can track it down later.  The gist of it was that it can be done, but takes practice. 
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: Villanelle on October 06, 2016, 07:30:39 AM
If you don't feel like you are making progress in therapy, find a new therapist.  Ask your insurance for a list of local providers, call around, and ask how much experience they have with working with ASD clients.  Also ask questions about their approach, what sort of exercises they might do to help you deal with your anxiety about social cues, etc.  When you find someone that you thin "gets you", make an appointment.  You don't need to formally "break up" with your current therapist if that's too uncomfortable.  Just don't make another appointment.  It's okay to "ghost" a therapist, if that's what it takes to get you effective help.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: hops on October 06, 2016, 10:09:18 AM
OP, you might find this recent Washington Post article about autism and employment interesting:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/youre-autistic-you-know-you-can-do-a-good-job-but-will-employers-listen/2016/09/22/412956bc-4dca-11e6-a422-83ab49ed5e6a_story.html

ASD complicates things (it certainly has for me) but doesn't make them impossible.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: mozar on October 06, 2016, 10:12:11 AM
I just wanted to add that I didn't start working on my emotional issues until I was 31.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: zephyr911 on October 06, 2016, 11:43:15 AM
I just wanted to add that I didn't start working on my emotional issues until I was 31.
I went to Iraq, voluntarily, at 31, and in the process I dealt with a bunch of issues but came back with others. That lasted a year, and I didn't even really stabilize for a couple more. Here I am 38 and still taking stock of issues. If I know anything about issues and dealing with them, it's just this... don't give up. :)
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: MrsPete on October 06, 2016, 05:33:17 PM
Today, I turned thirty. I've been working full-time for about $20,000 per year for one full year, and I've been finding a way to spend most of what I make.
How's this possible?  Here's a link that gives the starting pay for every state, and the lowest starting salary is 27K in Montana:  http://www.nea.org/home/2012-2013-average-starting-teacher-salary.html .  And that'd be for teaching a full day -- you say you're teaching a regular class schedule PLUS a night class.  Perhaps you're not in the public sector?  Private schools pay much less than public schools. 

The TPT idea is good, but I can't really think of a completely original idea yet. Most of the stuff I use is free from the internet.
I could have stood up and told my cooperating teacher point-blank, "No, I don't know this. Is anyone willing to teach it to me?" Instead, though, I accepted that I "should have known how to teach" (even though no one taught me) and floundered during student teaching.
Okay, I'm going to sound horrible here, but these two things are huge red flags, and as a fellow teacher, these statements make me wonder whether you're for teaching.  I say it because I've seen it personally over the years in some of my younger co-workers (3 out of 5 teachers leave within their first 5 years).  I definitely learned "how to teach" in college, and I left student teaching still inexperienced but solidly ready for my own classroom.  People who "floundered" in student teaching often aren't cut out for this job. 

Similarly, if you're taking all your ideas from the internet and don't know how to write your own lesson plans /your own curriculum, you missed some big concepts in college classes.  I've known a couple teachers who couldn't plan their own classes -- yes, they piece together this and that from the internet and beg lessons from other teachers ('til they catch on and start saying no), and those are people who are poorly suited for the job -- they don't stay long. 

If my assessment is wrong, I apologize; however, if you recognize yourself in these statements, get out now and put your efforts into something else. 

If you're determined to stay in teaching, I have a couple suggestions for honing your craft:

- Ask permission to observe your fellow teachers' classes.  Take note of how they teach and manage their classes.  Use what you learn to perfect your own teaching style. 
- Take time to evaluate your lessons each day.  What worked well for you and why?  Only by evaluating what worked well can you improve yourself.

People are often stuck because they are under the illusion that if they think of an idea they can become unstuck. The ideas are there, in this thread and any previous one you may have put out there. The ideas aren't the problem. The action is. Act on the idea. Don't think about the hurdles. Act and if you encounter a hurdle act to move past it.
Totally agree -- but waiting for an idea isn't the only thing that holds people back.  It can be, Things'll be better after I'm married.  Things'll be better after I move.  Things'll be better once I'm out of this apartment and in my own house.  Things'll be better once the kids are out of diapers.  Things'll be better once the kids are all in school. 

You can't wait for a perfect moment.  Make something happen now.  And I think that's a new and different job.

It can be tough breaking out of your comfort zone.  Before you were scared of teaching overseas, now you didn't mention that.  Did you get over that?
Something to consider about teaching overseas:  If you leave the US teaching system, you lose years working towards your pension, and if you leave/return later, it's quite possible that the pension system may have ended ... and you'll come back in as a "new hire" ineligible for a pension. 

I'm not saying this should be your #1 consideration, but the pension is one of the biggest positives of teaching. 
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: arebelspy on October 06, 2016, 06:00:27 PM


I'm not saying this should be your #1 consideration, but the pension is one of the biggest positives of teaching.

It has a lot smaller impact for the early retiree than for 99% of teachers.

For many early retirees it seems more like golden handcuffs than anything.  Seems like a lot of teachers on here hit FI but keep teaching (despite wanting to FIRE) cause it's only X (usually about five, plus or minus a few) years to the pension and they just "can't leave that much money on the table."

OP is a single year in, and possibly not even being vested in a pension based on the info given. Messing up their pension shouldn't be a major consideration at this time.

For someone with a decade in, it's a good consideration though. :)

Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: MrsPete on October 06, 2016, 06:06:17 PM


I'm not saying this should be your #1 consideration, but the pension is one of the biggest positives of teaching.

It has a lot smaller impact for the early retiree than for 99% of teachers.

For many early retirees it seems more like golden handcuffs than anything.  Seems like a lot of teachers on here hit FI but keep teaching (despite wanting to FIRE) cause it's only X (usually about five, plus or minus a few) years to the pension and they just "can't leave that much money on the table."

OP is a single year in, and possibly not even being vested in a pension based on the info given. Messing up their pension shouldn't be a major consideration at this time.

For someone with a decade in, it's a good consideration though. :)
I totally agree it'd be reasonable to walk away with so little "time put in", but I also think it's wise to consider every aspect of your career choice -- and I find that many of my teacher co-workers don't think too much about their pension /retirement.  I'm thinking of one who told me, as if it were a great secret, that our pension is LESS THAN our paychecks.  Um, yeah.  I knew that; the formula is easy to find on the internet. And I've known several teachers who've moved to another state without realizing that this means starting all over again in a new system as far as pensions are concerned. 
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: arebelspy on October 06, 2016, 06:08:21 PM


I'm not saying this should be your #1 consideration, but the pension is one of the biggest positives of teaching.

It has a lot smaller impact for the early retiree than for 99% of teachers.

For many early retirees it seems more like golden handcuffs than anything.  Seems like a lot of teachers on here hit FI but keep teaching (despite wanting to FIRE) cause it's only X (usually about five, plus or minus a few) years to the pension and they just "can't leave that much money on the table."

OP is a single year in, and possibly not even being vested in a pension based on the info given. Messing up their pension shouldn't be a major consideration at this time.

For someone with a decade in, it's a good consideration though. :)
I totally agree it'd be reasonable to walk away with so little "time put in", but I also think it's wise to consider every aspect of your career choice -- and I find that many of my teacher co-workers don't think too much about their pension /retirement.  I'm thinking of one who told me, as if it were a great secret, that our pension is LESS THAN our paychecks.  Um, yeah.  I knew that; the formula is easy to find on the internet. And I've known several teachers who've moved to another state without realizing that this means starting all over again in a new system as far as pensions are concerned.

Yeah, teachers seem to be bad with money, in general.

Or at least no better than the average American (who is bad), which you'd expect or hope they would be.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: kmb501 on October 06, 2016, 08:12:51 PM
Here's more information:

I work as a teacher for a private company that works with the state. Yes, the pay is lower than you might expect.
There's a 401K plan, but I don't know if that's the same as a pension.
I mentioned already that, perhaps until very recently, I was plagued with a social communication disorder that made everyday tasks a bit difficult.
Just recently, upon turning thirty, I've noticed marked improvement in both my communication and organization skills. I didn't have these sharp skills when I started out.
I know how to plan lessons, but I often find myself short on materials. Internet resources are a life-saver!
Title: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: pbkmaine on October 06, 2016, 08:18:00 PM
A 401(k) is a pretax savings plan for retirement. It is called a 401(k) because that's the section of the Internal Revenue Code where the rules governing it occur. Does your company match any part of your contribution?
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: Villanelle on October 07, 2016, 12:15:23 AM
Here's more information:

I work as a teacher for a private company that works with the state. Yes, the pay is lower than you might expect.
There's a 401K plan, but I don't know if that's the same as a pension.
I mentioned already that, perhaps until very recently, I was plagued with a social communication disorder that made everyday tasks a bit difficult.
Just recently, upon turning thirty, I've noticed marked improvement in both my communication and organization skills. I didn't have these sharp skills when I started out.
I know how to plan lessons, but I often find myself short on materials. Internet resources are a life-saver!

So what/where are you teaching?  In a private school?  Kids or adults?  Is it typical workweek hours? (M-F, during the day?)
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: kmb501 on October 07, 2016, 02:53:09 AM

So what/where are you teaching?  In a private school?  Kids or adults?  Is it typical workweek hours? (M-F, during the day?)


Let's call it a private school. I work at a youth center, but the teachers are hired and paid by a separate company; they are not working for the state. I'm working with teenagers. It's 7-3 during the day five days a week.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: arebelspy on October 07, 2016, 03:19:47 AM

So what/where are you teaching?  In a private school?  Kids or adults?  Is it typical workweek hours? (M-F, during the day?)


Let's call it a private school. I work at a youth center, but the teachers are hired and paid by a separate company; they are not working for the state. I'm working with teenagers. It's 7-3 during the day five days a week.

Why don't you get a full teaching job?  You have the background and degrees for it.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: kmb501 on October 07, 2016, 03:46:57 AM

Why don't you get a full teaching job?  You have the background and degrees for it.

I haven't been able to find one. I think this particular area has more qualified teachers than it has positions.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: arebelspy on October 07, 2016, 04:11:04 AM

Why don't you get a full teaching job?  You have the background and degrees for it.

I haven't been able to find one. I think this particular area has more qualified teachers than it has positions.

Did you make those calls to the nearby states?
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: Pigeon on October 07, 2016, 07:28:39 AM
I will echo what many others  have said.  You are ludicrously underpaid.  I would bet you wouldn't have to move far (if at all) to find a better paid teaching job.   You shouldn't need to move to an entirely different country or start your own business.  Both of those things are much more complex that finding a different, better paid job relatively locally.  While the job market for teachers and most other professions is regional, I suspect that it will be more fruitful to hone your job search skills and aim for a full time job in a real public school.

I have a nephew with ASD, so I know a little bit about it.

I think you also need a new therapist, particularly if your insurance will cover it.  CBT should be helpful to someone in your situation, and it's not vague, endless talk therapy.  It should provide you with different and concrete ways of thinking about problems which would be very helpful to you.  It is also possible that you might benefit from anti-anxiety medication and a good doctor should help evaluate that.  While it is natural to want to avoid unnecessary medication, sometimes it is needed.

You should also start reading about how to successfully job hunt.  It is true that you have a disability and that may need to be discussed with a potential employer.  However, it is not a good strategy to start contacting people and off the bat telling them that you have difficulty in communicating and highlighting your areas of weakness.  People hiring teachers are going to be disinclined to employ teachers with a self-proclaimed problem with communication, since communication is such a vital part of teaching.  Employers tend not to want to hire people who wave red flags about their shortcomings, since that means the employer will feel they need to spend a lot of time and effort dealing with the shortcomings.  You will need to learn to put your best foot forward in the job search process.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: rubybeth on October 07, 2016, 07:59:08 AM


The whole field of "CBT" (cognitive behavioral therapy) is focused around this and is extremely well supported by studies. I notice you don't address every time the suggestion of counseling comes up, but seriously, please consider it. There are actual skills you can learn specifically around managing disordered thinking. It's not some "uselessly talk about your feelings with no goal or end period in mind ever". There are goals, there are tools, there is progress that you can measure. It isn't some fluffy nonsense- it is a science, with techniques that work. PLEASE look into it.

I'm going to counseling now, but the counselor doesn't follow me home, so she has no way of knowing what's really going on. Even though CBT is supposed to be a series of logical steps to help me improve my thinking, it feels like the talk-about-your-feelings-with-me stuff that I feel like is unproductive. I think really good CBT would have the therapist mimicking the situations I'm likely to encounter in the real world and then walking me through the proper responses to them. Of course, that WILL NOT happen.

I haven't read this whole thread, but you're wrong, and I think you need a new therapist. Find someone who specializes in ASD or communication. I would also suggest looking into working with speech language pathologist, not for speech, but for communication. My sister is a speech language pathologist and many of her students (she works in a high school) have ASD and she works with them on scenarios just like you describe. She once helped a kid become better at small talk. Literally, he said he had problems with making small talk, and she devised strategies to help him practice (she acted like the worst conversation partner ever, so he had to compensate). He became a pretty popular kid to talk to after she worked with him. He reported having many new friends who told him he was easy to talk to!

I also definitely understand not wanting to move far from your support system. If you aren't willing to do that, at least work on brushing up your resume and applying for better paying jobs in your area. If the market is saturated, you'll need to really stand out--write an amazing cover letter, make your resume is perfect, and keep applying.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: MrsPete on October 07, 2016, 08:29:45 AM
Here's more information:

I work as a teacher for a private company that works with the state. Yes, the pay is lower than you might expect.
There's a 401K plan, but I don't know if that's the same as a pension.
I mentioned already that, perhaps until very recently, I was plagued with a social communication disorder that made everyday tasks a bit difficult.
Just recently, upon turning thirty, I've noticed marked improvement in both my communication and organization skills. I didn't have these sharp skills when I started out.
I know how to plan lessons, but I often find myself short on materials. Internet resources are a life-saver!
In a nutshell -- glossing over details, but 401K and pension are not the same thing:
- 401k:  Deposit pre-tax money into an account ... you cannot touch it 'til you're 59 1/2 (right age?) ... the amount is up to you, but the more you deposit, the more you have for your retirement
- Pension:  Your employer takes X amount from your check, invests it ... after working X number of years, you get a reduced paycheck for the rest of your life

I've always been moderately shy (I know, not the same thing you're describing), and that's become easier for me as I've grown older.  I think this is normal. 

As you talk about lesson plans, that red flag is growing larger and is waving more furiously.  I always have more materials than I can possibly fit into a day, a week, a semester. 


I haven't been able to find one. I think this particular area has more qualified teachers than it has positions.
I clearly remember my college professor saying to our student teaching group and saying point-blank:  "If you don't make an A+ in student teaching, you will not get a job in the public school system."  The OP says she -- was floundered the word? -- in student teaching, and after searching, she's found this private teaching gig.  In my area anyway, there is a feeling of, "Oh, private school was all you could get?  Hmmm, I need to read this application very thoroughly."   I think it's time to look at other strengths and other options. 

I haven't been able to find one. I think this particular area has more qualified teachers than it has positions.
But this isn't true all over the US.  We have a definite shortage in the South.  Of course, we also have considerably lower wages. 

Off-topic:  You know now that your area is flooded with teachers.  If you change to a new career, look into the availability of jobs before you spend time/money on training. 
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: LeRainDrop on October 07, 2016, 02:03:19 PM
It may help the other commenters with some context to know that kmb501 has started many other threads here, over time, asking for job advice.  Here are the links to those threads from 2016:

-- Started August 14, 2016: Is this a good idea? (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/real-estate-and-landlording/is-this-a-good-idea) re idea to get a van, make it into a five-star camper, and rent it out to people who want to enjoy the local beaches and recreational parks on the weekend

-- Started June 5, 2016: P2P investing on a teacher's salary (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/p2p-investing-on-a-teacher's-salary)

-- Started May 4, 2016: Can you legitimately make money with a blog?  If so, how could I get started? (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/can-you-legitimately-make-money-with-a-blog-if-so-how-could-i-get-started/)  She also tells us, "I work at a detention center, and before this I worked as a substitute teacher in sometimes pretty rough schools. . . . I also work as an ESL teacher part-time."

-- Started April 1, 2016: Probably about to Lose My Job... (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/probably-about-to-lose-my-job/)  She tells us, "I've been working at a detention center and making a decent teacher's salary. I've been there for about a year, but I've recently found out that my boss may not be renewing my contract. I might need to start looking for another job. I have a master's degree in Education and ESL and a bachelor's in ELA, but I have a personality that most kids can't stand. I'm picky to a fault, and it's difficult for me to converse freely and show my emotions. I'm a nice person, but it either doesn't translate at all or the kids know it and take advantage of it. I haven't figured out which yet, but I know sometimes I deal with ridiculous behavior problems, and I don't really know what to do about it. The aspects of the job I love are the creativity, freedom, and flexibility teachers have with lesson planning and delivery. The aspects of the job I hate are having to deal with the whims of children and adults all day and getting so frustrated that I can't even communicate my feelings. . . . What works for me are one-on-one sessions with older mature teens and adults with good manners who want to learn."

-- Started February 27, 2016: What else could I do with these degrees? (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/what-else-could-i-do-with-these-degrees/)  She says, "Teaching is actually pretty difficult, and I feel like I don't do a very good job. I feel like my bosses know it but just don't say anything. I want to move on and find my calling."

-- Started February 27, 2016: Considering going carless... (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/considering-going-carless/)  She raises the idea of leasing a new car and becoming an Uber driver.

-- Started January 30, 2016: Tips for mastering a foreign language with self study? (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/tips-for-mastering-a-foreign-language-with-self-study/)  She says, "I want to become fluent in French or Spanish so that I can become a French or Spanish instructor."

-- Started January 13, 2016: Attacking Debt--suggestions? (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/attacking-debt-suggestions/)  She says, "I do want to go back to school, though. I really wanted to try to get into law or vet school."

-- Started January 2, 2016: Why can't I save more money? (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/why-can't-i-save-more-money/)  She tells us that she "dreams of becomming a reality TV star."
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: kmb501 on October 07, 2016, 03:43:20 PM
It may help the other commenters with some context to know that kmb501 has started many other threads here, over time, asking for job advice.  Here are the links to those threads from 2016:

-- Started August 14, 2016: Is this a good idea? (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/real-estate-and-landlording/is-this-a-good-idea) re idea to get a van, make it into a five-star camper, and rent it out to people who want to enjoy the local beaches and recreational parks on the weekend

-- Started June 5, 2016: P2P investing on a teacher's salary (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/p2p-investing-on-a-teacher's-salary)

-- Started May 4, 2016: Can you legitimately make money with a blog?  If so, how could I get started? (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/can-you-legitimately-make-money-with-a-blog-if-so-how-could-i-get-started/)  She also tells us, "I work at a detention center, and before this I worked as a substitute teacher in sometimes pretty rough schools. . . . I also work as an ESL teacher part-time."

-- Started April 1, 2016: Probably about to Lose My Job... (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/probably-about-to-lose-my-job/)  She tells us, "I've been working at a detention center and making a decent teacher's salary. I've been there for about a year, but I've recently found out that my boss may not be renewing my contract. I might need to start looking for another job. I have a master's degree in Education and ESL and a bachelor's in ELA, but I have a personality that most kids can't stand. I'm picky to a fault, and it's difficult for me to converse freely and show my emotions. I'm a nice person, but it either doesn't translate at all or the kids know it and take advantage of it. I haven't figured out which yet, but I know sometimes I deal with ridiculous behavior problems, and I don't really know what to do about it. The aspects of the job I love are the creativity, freedom, and flexibility teachers have with lesson planning and delivery. The aspects of the job I hate are having to deal with the whims of children and adults all day and getting so frustrated that I can't even communicate my feelings. . . . What works for me are one-on-one sessions with older mature teens and adults with good manners who want to learn."

-- Started February 27, 2016: What else could I do with these degrees? (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/what-else-could-i-do-with-these-degrees/)  She says, "Teaching is actually pretty difficult, and I feel like I don't do a very good job. I feel like my bosses know it but just don't say anything. I want to move on and find my calling."

-- Started February 27, 2016: Considering going carless... (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/considering-going-carless/)  She raises the idea of leasing a new car and becoming an Uber driver.

-- Started January 30, 2016: Tips for mastering a foreign language with self study? (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/tips-for-mastering-a-foreign-language-with-self-study/)  She says, "I want to become fluent in French or Spanish so that I can become a French or Spanish instructor."

-- Started January 13, 2016: Attacking Debt--suggestions? (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/attacking-debt-suggestions/)  She says, "I do want to go back to school, though. I really wanted to try to get into law or vet school."

-- Started January 2, 2016: Why can't I save more money? (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/why-can't-i-save-more-money/)  She tells us that she "dreams of becomming a reality TV star."

Yeah, I've been all over the place with these threads. I just feel so stuck here. If I didn't feel like it could turn out to be such a disaster, I would have left this area to look for fresh opportunities years ago. At this point, though, I just feel like I'm running out of time to make my mark on the world or even set myself up for a good life later on.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: LeRainDrop on October 07, 2016, 03:48:14 PM
Yeah, I've been all over the place with these threads. I just feel so stuck here. If I didn't feel like it could turn out to be such a disaster, I would have left this area to look for fresh opportunities years ago. At this point, though, I just feel like I'm running out of time to make my mark on the world or even set myself up for a good life later on.

You are still just 30 years old, so there's plenty of time for you to restructure, make your mark, and have a very good life!  You just need to figure out what your next action will be and then follow through on it.  Combine that with a good CBT therapist, and you will be well on track for advancement.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: mozar on October 07, 2016, 04:01:18 PM
Look at how far you've come since your posts in January OP! I can see in your writing that you've gotten a lot more focused. And its never too late for anything. There was once a post here about a guy who was 50 who was just starting to get his finances together.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: arebelspy on October 07, 2016, 05:39:29 PM
Yeah, I've been all over the place with these threads. I just feel so stuck here. If I didn't feel like it could turn out to be such a disaster, I would have left this area to look for fresh opportunities years ago.

You're clearly struggling where you're at though, so moving seems like the reasonable thing to try.  Could it go poorly? Sure. 

But you seem to have bought into the idea that failure is a bad thing.  Trying, and failing, is the best way to get to eventually success.  Sitting doing nothing, like you currently are, is a guaranteed losing strategy.

Go take a job a state over, and move with the idea that if you fail, you'll have learned something, grown as a person, and will be ready to try again; that "failing" would be no big deal.

Get the idea that "it could go poorly, and that's the worst thing in the world" out of your head.

Quote
At this point, though, I just feel like I'm running out of time to make my mark on the world or even set myself up for a good life later on.

At this point in life, you shouldn't wory about "making your mark."  You're struggling to merely stay afloat.  You should work on setting yourself up into a stable, and happy, situation.

You can worry about a legacy later.  You have plenty of time.  Google for information on people who succeeded when they were older.

I'm not just saying this as an example of something you could do, I think you should go spend twenty minutes right now reading a few of these articles: https://www.google.com/search?q=people+who+succeeded+older&pws=0&gl=us&gws_rd=cr (https://www.google.com/search?q=people+who+succeeded+older&pws=0&gl=us&gws_rd=cr)

Use that to help get the idea that you must "succeed" by 35 (or whatever) out of your head.

Don't worry about "making your mark," for now.  Work on getting a steady job that pays at least commensurate to your qualifications.  That's enough, for now.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: pbkmaine on October 07, 2016, 05:54:08 PM
I think the point all of us are trying to make is that you need to DO SOMETHING. Sitting and ruminating until you figure out the perfect path won't work. No path is perfect. There's a line from Goethe's Faust, translated by John Anster:

"What you can do or dream you can, begin it
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it..."

Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: Villanelle on October 08, 2016, 03:50:43 AM
If you go to school for 4 years, you'll be 34 when you graduate.  If you don't go to school, you'll still be 34 in that time, and instead of having training for a new job, you'll be more or less where you are now.  That said, just blindly going back to school because you want something different is not a smart plan.  It can be a good idea if you have a vision and a focus and school is part of the path to get you there.  I'm hesitant to suggest yet another thing for you to consider, but maybe looking at job options where you don't really have to deal with people might be worth some brain time, since that seems to be your primary struggle.

It seems like teaching isn't for you.  You struggled to graduate, struggled to find a mainstream teaching job, and then struggled to keep the non-mainstream job you did find.  Is there a good reason to think that a different teaching job will be different for you?  That some fresh start doing more or less the same thing (and thus, not really a fresh start) is going to magically make you a great teacher who feels comfortable and confident at the front of a classroom and building lessons?

The more I read your old threads, the more I think that the "something" you need to do involves finding something other than teaching.  Yes, you might eat up some time training for and then finding a new job and working your way up.  But it doesn't seem terribly likely that you are going to flourish as a teacher, so you might still eat up that time.  And frankly, it doesn't seem like you enjoy teaching, either.  So what's keeping you in the field?  The time and money you've dedicated to breaking in to it?  Those are sunk costs. 

 
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: kmb501 on October 08, 2016, 06:36:01 AM
If you go to school for 4 years, you'll be 34 when you graduate.  If you don't go to school, you'll still be 34 in that time, and instead of having training for a new job, you'll be more or less where you are now.  That said, just blindly going back to school because you want something different is not a smart plan.  It can be a good idea if you have a vision and a focus and school is part of the path to get you there.  I'm hesitant to suggest yet another thing for you to consider, but maybe looking at job options where you don't really have to deal with people might be worth some brain time, since that seems to be your primary struggle.

It seems like teaching isn't for you.  You struggled to graduate, struggled to find a mainstream teaching job, and then struggled to keep the non-mainstream job you did find.  Is there a good reason to think that a different teaching job will be different for you?  That some fresh start doing more or less the same thing (and thus, not really a fresh start) is going to magically make you a great teacher who feels comfortable and confident at the front of a classroom and building lessons?

The more I read your old threads, the more I think that the "something" you need to do involves finding something other than teaching.  Yes, you might eat up some time training for and then finding a new job and working your way up.  But it doesn't seem terribly likely that you are going to flourish as a teacher, so you might still eat up that time.  And frankly, it doesn't seem like you enjoy teaching, either.  So what's keeping you in the field?  The time and money you've dedicated to breaking in to it?  Those are sunk costs.

Mainly, at this point, I just need money, and it's the highest paying job I'm specifically qualified for, despite the downsides.

I'm planning to retrain, but paying out of pocket for more school is expensive, and I can only afford one or two courses per semester. At that rate, I'll probably be closer to 40 before I finish.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: Villanelle on October 08, 2016, 06:53:13 AM
If you go to school for 4 years, you'll be 34 when you graduate.  If you don't go to school, you'll still be 34 in that time, and instead of having training for a new job, you'll be more or less where you are now.  That said, just blindly going back to school because you want something different is not a smart plan.  It can be a good idea if you have a vision and a focus and school is part of the path to get you there.  I'm hesitant to suggest yet another thing for you to consider, but maybe looking at job options where you don't really have to deal with people might be worth some brain time, since that seems to be your primary struggle.

It seems like teaching isn't for you.  You struggled to graduate, struggled to find a mainstream teaching job, and then struggled to keep the non-mainstream job you did find.  Is there a good reason to think that a different teaching job will be different for you?  That some fresh start doing more or less the same thing (and thus, not really a fresh start) is going to magically make you a great teacher who feels comfortable and confident at the front of a classroom and building lessons?

The more I read your old threads, the more I think that the "something" you need to do involves finding something other than teaching.  Yes, you might eat up some time training for and then finding a new job and working your way up.  But it doesn't seem terribly likely that you are going to flourish as a teacher, so you might still eat up that time.  And frankly, it doesn't seem like you enjoy teaching, either.  So what's keeping you in the field?  The time and money you've dedicated to breaking in to it?  Those are sunk costs.

Mainly, at this point, I just need money, and it's the highest paying job I'm specifically qualified for, despite the downsides.

I'm planning to retrain, but paying out of pocket for more school is expensive, and I can only afford one or two courses per semester. At that rate, I'll probably be closer to 40 before I finish.

You're only making 20k/yr.  There a jobs out there that don't require even an undergrad degree, much less a masters, and pay more than that.  MMM did a post on a bunch of those jobs a while back. 

You are doing both yourself and your students a great disservice if you stick with teaching when you don't really want to be there.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: mozar on October 09, 2016, 06:12:25 PM
There's no right or wrong answer in terms of what kind of work you do, but I wanted to mention that when I was posting looking for help a few years ago I hated my job, and considered doing something else. But I decided to stay in the field and get a different job that is somewhat better.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: rubybeth on October 10, 2016, 03:46:59 PM
I am very curious what state you're in, and if you could potentially look at commuting some distance for work while still staying somewhat near to your family/support system and even stay living where you are, at least until you feel more comfortable moving closer. For example, if you're in a small town, what's the next nearest larger town/city where you could drive for work? Target those areas for job searches. With a masters degree making $20k a year, you're absolutely underemployed. At the very least, could you find a part time job that pays $20k annually that would give you more free time to pick up a second job like evening ESL tutoring?
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: kmb501 on October 11, 2016, 01:00:02 AM
I am very curious what state you're in, and if you could potentially look at commuting some distance for work while still staying somewhat near to your family/support system and even stay living where you are, at least until you feel more comfortable moving closer. For example, if you're in a small town, what's the next nearest larger town/city where you could drive for work? Target those areas for job searches. With a masters degree making $20k a year, you're absolutely underemployed. At the very least, could you find a part time job that pays $20k annually that would give you more free time to pick up a second job like evening ESL tutoring?

I do both right now, full-time teaching during the day and part-time ESL teaching. It brings in about 20K per year.

I could move to another state, or I could move to one of the school districts closer to the water, I guess. They pay more and have better schools, but I've gotten the idea that it's not easy to get a job just starting out. Their substitute teaching positions pay about as much as I'm making now as a full-time employee, though. Until I relocate, that would also be a long commute. Plus, since they have a small school system, I would not be guaranteed a job. At least where I work now offers health benefits, full health benefits. I would lose that if I had to do part-time work again, and I'm likely to get hired as a long-term sub first so that they can "try me out." That's what happened at this job.   

I live in Mobile, AL currently. I don't really like it here. It's not a big city, but it's not a small town, and it has a surprisingly large cluster of inner-city schools for its size, and with all of those schools comes all of the drama typically associated with inner-city schools, kids carrying drugs and weapons to school, high drop-out rates, and high general crime, not to mention the teachers are underpaid and underappreciated. Those schools pay better than where I am, though. I work at a youth center where teenagers (and sometimes younger children) are sent for crimes that range from truancy to assault with a deadly weapon.  The state doesn't pay the teachers; we are paid by a private company.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: Villanelle on October 11, 2016, 05:43:22 AM
How are you working both full and part time and only making $20k?  Is the full time job only 9 months?  Is that $20k after taxes?
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: JG in Hangzhou on October 11, 2016, 05:58:26 AM
Today, I turned thirty. I've been working full-time for about $20,000 per year for one full year, and I've been finding a way to spend most of what I make.

Here's my advice.  And I am serious, assuming you have no kids and no spouse.

Move to China.  Teach English for 2 to 3 years.  Living cheap in China is easy, even in some of the new, beautiful cities, like Hangzhou, where I live.  Teachers get paid about 2-3K a month, with is the same or more than you are getting.  Breakfast cost $1.  Dinner out can be as low as $3 (and it's not unhealthy or undersized).   Most people find they can save at least 30% of what they make and if you get a side job you can save 50%.  Use the time to learn Chinese, make new friends and think about what you want to do when you go back. 

Most English teachers in China do not have a teaching degree.  Some have not even finished college.  I have even met some older adults that may not have finished high school.  You might have to get a certification (TEFL) but this can be easily done in a few months through an internet course.  If you can show up to work on time, talk in English, and behave within the local social norms, you can do it.

If you decide to take my advice, feel free to PM me, and I'll get you some help getting connected with a school here.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: lhamo on October 11, 2016, 08:33:25 AM
kmb501, please follow up with JG in Hangzhou's generous offer. Hangzhou is one of the nicest cities in China.  With your MA in TESL you will be well qualified for legitimate jobs there.   
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: pbkmaine on October 11, 2016, 08:58:52 AM
kmb501, please follow up with JG in Hangzhou's generous offer. Hangzhou is one of the nicest cities in China.  With your MA in TESL you will be well qualified for legitimate jobs there.

DO THIS! No buts or objections. Just take the first step.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: mozar on October 11, 2016, 10:33:37 AM
Was there some particular reason you can't apply for public school jobs in Mobile? You seem concerned about crime, but you work for a truancy center... Once you get into public school you can transfer somewhere nicer. This is the easiest and clearest path. Getting a public teaching job in Mobile is going to be easier than moving to another state or country.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: Shwaa on October 11, 2016, 12:31:15 PM
When I was 30 years old I had about $800 to my name and 0 retirement savings. At the time I think I was making about 30k a year.  Now at 41 I am much better off retirement wise, but I always regret not only starting late (I started at 30) but also not contributing much the first half of my 30's.

Point is it's not too late but you need to make some changes obviously, to get on the right track.

Good luck
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: kmb501 on October 11, 2016, 03:14:01 PM
How are you working both full and part time and only making $20k?  Is the full time job only 9 months?  Is that $20k after taxes?

The 20K is just an estimate. It may actually be around 25K. The monthly pay I get for my part-time job varies. I make about $20 per hour (on paper), but I don't get all of my hours if no students show up, so that income has been variable. At my full-time job, I bring home about $1600 per month, but if I work during summer vacation, I get paid double for a few weeks to balance it out.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: arebelspy on October 11, 2016, 04:46:48 PM
Most English teachers in China do not have a teaching degree.  Some have not even finished college.

Indeed.

Your worry about being inadequate for overseas work, kmb, should be much assuaged with this information.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: Villanelle on October 12, 2016, 12:21:07 AM
How are you working both full and part time and only making $20k?  Is the full time job only 9 months?  Is that $20k after taxes?

The 20K is just an estimate. It may actually be around 25K. The monthly pay I get for my part-time job varies. I make about $20 per hour (on paper), but I don't get all of my hours if no students show up, so that income has been variable. At my full-time job, I bring home about $1600 per month, but if I work during summer vacation, I get paid double for a few weeks to balance it out.

You get paid $1600/mo for full-time work?  So you are making about $10/hr?  With a master's degree?  You could probably make more selling shoes at Nordstrom. 
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: kmb501 on October 12, 2016, 01:29:57 AM
How are you working both full and part time and only making $20k?  Is the full time job only 9 months?  Is that $20k after taxes?

The 20K is just an estimate. It may actually be around 25K. The monthly pay I get for my part-time job varies. I make about $20 per hour (on paper), but I don't get all of my hours if no students show up, so that income has been variable. At my full-time job, I bring home about $1600 per month, but if I work during summer vacation, I get paid double for a few weeks to balance it out.

You get paid $1600/mo for full-time work?  So you are making about $10/hr?  With a master's degree?  You could probably make more selling shoes at Nordstrom.

Maybe so, but I do get full health benefits. Teachers are not really paid what they are worth. Substitute teaching pays even less, though. As a sub, I would be looking at about $90 per day distributed every month over a 20-day pay period, with no health benefits and no guarantee of regular work (on paper that looks like more than I'm making now, but with unpaid holidays, taxes, and sometimes infrequent work my sub wages averaged out to about $1000 per month). If I tried for another teaching job, chances are I would start out as a long-term substitute.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: expatartist on October 12, 2016, 03:17:02 AM
Most English teachers in China do not have a teaching degree.  Some have not even finished college.  I have even met some older adults that may not have finished high school.  You might have to get a certification (TEFL) but this can be easily done in a few months through an internet course.  If you can show up to work on time, talk in English, and behave within the local social norms, you can do it.

JG that's really kind of you. It's often the case that those of us who don't fit in back home can feel more comfortable overseas, where being different is expected. It can feel liberating, but it's not for everyone. Also, Beijing has tightened up requirements significantly for work visas, so those without uni degrees are no longer welcome. You really don't want to work in China without a work visa. It's a great recipe for getting screwed over. OP's qualifications however should land him/her a great position, and you can use that leverage - and genuine overseas experience - for salary and status gains if/when you return to the US.

kmb501, please follow up with JG in Hangzhou's generous offer. Hangzhou is one of the nicest cities in China.  With your MA in TESL you will be well qualified for legitimate jobs there.   

I would qualify that with "Nice for China". Hangzhou's a nice city, has charming bits, good street food, relatively low pollution (for China), but still comes with the usual crud that comes with any China adventure: dodgy food, really dodgy meat, crassness of daily life, corruption and ripoffs small and large, etc.

Anyway OP it sounds like you want a change. There are lots of options provided here. Time to take action :)
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: kmb501 on October 12, 2016, 04:33:02 AM


I would qualify that with "Nice for China". Hangzhou's a nice city, has charming bits, good street food, relatively low pollution (for China), but still comes with the usual crud that comes with any China adventure: dodgy food, really dodgy meat, crassness of daily life, corruption and ripoffs small and large, etc.

Anyway OP it sounds like you want a change. There are lots of options provided here. Time to take action :)

Okay, but where do I look, and are you sure I won't still need a TEFL certificate? Surprisingly, most places want a TEFL certificate, because they are recognized internationally. An M.Ed in TEFL is great for the states, but the people who interviewed me wanted me to have a TEFL certificate. I think my bigger issue, though, would be actually getting there. The places I contacted would not pay for my trip up there, so that's $5000 I would need to save up--$2500 to fly there and $2500 to fly back--just to get a face-to-face interview. I wasn't sure that was something I wanted to do.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: arebelspy on October 12, 2016, 05:42:59 AM
You interview online for these positions, not in person.

And all the good ones pay flights (not for an interview, but once you accept). You may be looking at the wrong ones.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: JG in Hangzhou on October 12, 2016, 06:03:47 AM
The places I contacted would not pay for my trip up there, so that's $5000 I would need to save up--$2500 to fly there and $2500 to fly back--just to get a face-to-face interview. I wasn't sure that was something I wanted to do.

Now I think you are just trolling. Almost every school here pays for the flight (and return) in exchange for a contract that you will work for at least a year.  By law, they have to when they get you Visa.

I know this because I actually own two schools and know many other school owners here. 

From your responses you seem smart enough to respond to everyone but not smart enough to do anything.   Seems like you are just churning us, so I will not follow this anymore.

[Mod Edit: Fixed Quote Tags.]
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: lhamo on October 12, 2016, 08:25:37 AM
I'm also starting to wonder if you are trolling.  Where the heck did you get the idea that flights to China cost $2500 each way?   I just did a quick search on kayak.com.  One way Mobile to Hangzhou departing 8/1/17 is $726.  That's on American Airlines. 

Anyway, now you've blown off JG in Hangzhou so you don't have to worry about following through on that offer for help.  What are you going to do next?  Sit there and agonize about the fact that if you apply or a proper teaching job nearby you MIGHT only be offered a sub position?  So?  Who gives a fuck?  If you are offered a job you don't want you don't take it.  But you are never going to be offered a job just sitting there at juvie waiting for something better to drop in your lap. 

Just did a quick search for ESL jobs in Mobile.  Here is a listing for a company offering part time work teaching kids in China on line.  Due to the time difference, this would probably be evening work.  I suggest you apply.  you meet their qualifications and it pays $20/hour for 7-15 hours/week.  TRY something for god's sake. 

http://www.indeed.com/cmp/twosigmas/jobs/Online-English-Teacher-c7c116923f6a3c62?sjdu=QwrRXKrqZ3CNX5W-O9jEvXpd2dD8GEnwePFN02zM9O5DElhSfltcp0uPaw708HGBRwfWg3_uS9xpb6mHoNlTZD6u3Ld36-wkAA1VCDv1GdNesEFWWJarb3FcJo4MJl9G

Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: mozar on October 12, 2016, 08:33:04 AM
If the only way to get a regular teaching job is to start subbing,  that's what you do. You make less in the short term in order to make more in the long term.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: LeRainDrop on October 12, 2016, 08:37:38 AM
From your responses you seem smart enough to respond to everyone but not smart enough to do anything.   Seems like you are just churning us, so I will not follow this anymore.

I'm also starting to wonder if you are trolling.

I've also been wondering this for awhile.  That's in part why I posted the the OP's 2016 links on page 2 of this thread (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/mid-life-crisis-i-have-not-started-saving-for-retirement/msg1257024/#msg1257024), as it seemed like a long history of the OP asking us similar questions, getting a great deal of thoughtful feedback, but then not really doing anything with our advice to make progress.  Actually, OP's history like this goes back to January 2015.  She does not provide advice or comments on anyone else's thread, but only starts her own threads asking us to help her.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: bacchi on October 12, 2016, 08:49:34 AM
From your responses you seem smart enough to respond to everyone but not smart enough to do anything.   Seems like you are just churning us, so I will not follow this anymore.

I'm also starting to wonder if you are trolling.

I've also been wondering this for awhile.  That's in part why I posted the the OP's 2016 links on page 2 of this thread (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/mid-life-crisis-i-have-not-started-saving-for-retirement/msg1257024/#msg1257024), as it seemed like a long history of the OP asking us similar questions, getting a great deal of thoughtful feedback, but then not really doing anything with our advice to make progress.  Actually, OP's history like this goes back to January 2015.  She does not provide advice or comments on anyone else's thread, but only starts her own threads asking us to help her.

The OP is consistent, however. It's a long troll, if it is a troll.

It's more likely that the OP is just lost in the doldrums. For someone who sees no way out, it can take a long time to do anything positive for themselves.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: Gimesalot on October 12, 2016, 09:45:55 AM
I think this person is both afflicted with ASD and an unreasonable fear that is based in her upbringing in Alabama.  I met people like her all the time when I lived in Mobile, AL.  They were scared to move anywhere and do anything different.  The funny thing is that I've never felt LESS safe or experienced MORE crime than when I lived in Mobile, and I live in New Orleans now, and previously in Chicago!  I heard it all the time about how you couldn't go anywhere without someone raping, stabbing, killing, maiming, etc. you.  Her problems are both health related and cultural. Don't hold your breath for any changes soon.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: rubybeth on October 12, 2016, 10:32:15 AM
How are you working both full and part time and only making $20k?  Is the full time job only 9 months?  Is that $20k after taxes?

The 20K is just an estimate. It may actually be around 25K. The monthly pay I get for my part-time job varies. I make about $20 per hour (on paper), but I don't get all of my hours if no students show up, so that income has been variable. At my full-time job, I bring home about $1600 per month, but if I work during summer vacation, I get paid double for a few weeks to balance it out.

You get paid $1600/mo for full-time work?  So you are making about $10/hr?  With a master's degree?  You could probably make more selling shoes at Nordstrom.

Maybe so, but I do get full health benefits. Teachers are not really paid what they are worth. Substitute teaching pays even less, though. As a sub, I would be looking at about $90 per day distributed every month over a 20-day pay period, with no health benefits and no guarantee of regular work (on paper that looks like more than I'm making now, but with unpaid holidays, taxes, and sometimes infrequent work my sub wages averaged out to about $1000 per month). If I tried for another teaching job, chances are I would start out as a long-term substitute.

I was very curious what teachers with masters degrees get paid as a starting wage in the Mobile area. I found jobs that list starting salary as around $42,000. So while you may see that as "not really paid what they are worth," it's pretty much double what you're making now and if you kept your lifestyle exactly the same, you could save $20k/year on that salary and be retired in 15 years: https://networthify.com/calculator/earlyretirement

I didn't see any ESL openings, but it's October so that's not surprising. Brush up your resume and skills NOW, practice interviewing with someone, and apply when there are openings in the spring. Seriously, if you can't handle too much change, at the very least, move in that direction. If long term subbing is the only option, pick up a weekend job to make up the difference for a while.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: kmb501 on October 12, 2016, 11:30:08 AM
I think this person is both afflicted with ASD and an unreasonable fear that is based in her upbringing in Alabama.  I met people like her all the time when I lived in Mobile, AL.  They were scared to move anywhere and do anything different.  The funny thing is that I've never felt LESS safe or experienced MORE crime than when I lived in Mobile, and I live in New Orleans now, and previously in Chicago!  I heard it all the time about how you couldn't go anywhere without someone raping, stabbing, killing, maiming, etc. you.  Her problems are both health related and cultural. Don't hold your breath for any changes soon.

I do want to make a change, but I am quite fearful. I'm sorry if some of you feel like I'm wasting your time. I do appreciate ALL of the advice you've given me, and even though I've been thinking about it for a while, I am getting ready to do something big besides the little steps, like printing flyers advertising private tutoring and starting a teaching application for another state in need of teachers, that I've taken. 
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: kmb501 on October 12, 2016, 11:35:09 AM
The places I contacted would not pay for my trip up there, so that's $5000 I would need to save up--$2500 to fly there and $2500 to fly back--just to get a face-to-face interview. I wasn't sure that was something I wanted to do.

Now I think you are just trolling. Almost every school here pays for the flight (and return) in exchange for a contract that you will work for at least a year.  By law, they have to when they get you Visa.

I know this because I actually own two schools and know many other school owners here. 

From your responses you seem smart enough to respond to everyone but not smart enough to do anything.   Seems like you are just churning us, so I will not follow this anymore.

[Mod Edit: Fixed Quote Tags.]

I'm sorry you think that. No, I'm just confused about the process. The recruiters I interviewed with all wanted me to pay my way. I guess that sounds strange and maybe even "scammy" to people who know what they are doing, but I'm new to all of this. I would like to know where to look to apply for legitimate work overseas.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: lhamo on October 12, 2016, 03:09:19 PM
Lots of information available on the free forums on this site -- full paid access is only $29/year, and well worth it if you are considering seeking a teaching position at an international school (which is a subset of teaching overseas generally):

https://www.internationalschoolsreview.com/

I paid for full access for a year when we were choosing a new school for our kids in Beijing, and found it well worth the extra money. 
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: kmb501 on October 12, 2016, 06:55:40 PM
Lots of information available on the free forums on this site -- full paid access is only $29/year, and well worth it if you are considering seeking a teaching position at an international school (which is a subset of teaching overseas generally):

https://www.internationalschoolsreview.com/

I paid for full access for a year when we were choosing a new school for our kids in Beijing, and found it well worth the extra money.

Thank you. I'll check it out.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: MayDay on October 12, 2016, 07:17:16 PM
If you feel stuck, YOU NEED TO FIND A THERAPIST, A NEW ONE NOT YOUR CURRENT ONE, TOMORROW AND CALL THEM, AND GO!

For heavens sake, this is getting ridiculous.  Feeling stuck, struggling, etc.  all ok.  All normal.



You said:   I am getting ready to do something big

No.  Just no.  Stop with this nonsense.  Do something SMALL.  NOW. 
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: kmb501 on October 12, 2016, 07:33:53 PM
If you feel stuck, YOU NEED TO FIND A THERAPIST, A NEW ONE NOT YOUR CURRENT ONE, TOMORROW AND CALL THEM, AND GO!

For heavens sake, this is getting ridiculous.  Feeling stuck, struggling, etc.  all ok.  All normal.



You said:   I am getting ready to do something big

No.  Just no.  Stop with this nonsense.  Do something SMALL.  NOW.

I guess I do, but I really feel like someone who could really address my issues lives and practices somewhere else. The one I'm seeing now specializes in autism and related disorders, but even though she's knowledgeable about my issues, we seem to be going around in circles. I like being able to talk about my feelings, but it's frustrating to not really get anything done. I've thought about seeing a life coach who deals with ASD, but it wouldn't be covered by my insurance, and I'm afraid I would be paying twice as much for more of the same. I'm thinking part of the problem, though, might be me. I haven't been very direct about what I want to get out of my interaction with her. Maybe I should just tell her that I want solutions, not just empathy? I would have thought that common sense, though.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: LeRainDrop on October 12, 2016, 07:42:32 PM
If you feel stuck, YOU NEED TO FIND A THERAPIST, A NEW ONE NOT YOUR CURRENT ONE, TOMORROW AND CALL THEM, AND GO!

For heavens sake, this is getting ridiculous.  Feeling stuck, struggling, etc.  all ok.  All normal.

You said:   I am getting ready to do something big

No.  Just no.  Stop with this nonsense.  Do something SMALL.  NOW.

I guess I do, but I really feel like someone who could really address my issues lives and practices somewhere else. The one I'm seeing now specializes in autism and related disorders, but even though she's knowledgeable about my issues, we seem to be going around in circles. I like being able to talk about my feelings, but it's frustrating to not really get anything done. I've thought about seeing a life coach who deals with ASD, but it wouldn't be covered by my insurance, and I'm afraid I would be paying twice as much for more of the same. I'm thinking part of the problem, though, might be me. I haven't been very direct about what I want to get out of my interaction with her. Maybe I should just tell her that I want solutions, not just empathy? I would have thought that common sense, though.

Discussing your goals of therapy with your therapist is a very normal part of the relationship.  In an ideal world, she could read your mind how you're feeling about the progress or lack thereof.  It's more realistic, though, that you tell her this direct feedback and she adjusts.  Speak up for yourself!
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: kmb501 on October 13, 2016, 07:49:37 AM
If you feel stuck, YOU NEED TO FIND A THERAPIST, A NEW ONE NOT YOUR CURRENT ONE, TOMORROW AND CALL THEM, AND GO!

For heavens sake, this is getting ridiculous.  Feeling stuck, struggling, etc.  all ok.  All normal.

You said:   I am getting ready to do something big

No.  Just no.  Stop with this nonsense.  Do something SMALL.  NOW.

I guess I do, but I really feel like someone who could really address my issues lives and practices somewhere else. The one I'm seeing now specializes in autism and related disorders, but even though she's knowledgeable about my issues, we seem to be going around in circles. I like being able to talk about my feelings, but it's frustrating to not really get anything done. I've thought about seeing a life coach who deals with ASD, but it wouldn't be covered by my insurance, and I'm afraid I would be paying twice as much for more of the same. I'm thinking part of the problem, though, might be me. I haven't been very direct about what I want to get out of my interaction with her. Maybe I should just tell her that I want solutions, not just empathy? I would have thought that common sense, though.

Discussing your goals of therapy with your therapist is a very normal part of the relationship.  In an ideal world, she could read your mind how you're feeling about the progress or lack thereof.  It's more realistic, though, that you tell her this direct feedback and she adjusts.  Speak up for yourself!

I think that's what I'll do next time I see her. I often think of goals I have and questions I have, but I never bring them up during the sessions. I don't know why I haven't brought this up. I guess, other than actually getting distracted and forgetting, I was thinking "she's the expert; she won't like being told what to do."
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: ysette9 on October 13, 2016, 09:59:07 AM
I find myself inexplicably fascinated by this thread. Not having any personal experience with autism, I find myself wondering if there is also an element of depression going on? A couple of times in life I have found myself quite depressed (situational) and it was amazing how utterly paralyzingly it was. It was like i knew rationally what I should do but couldn't make myself get up off the couch and do anything to make myself feel better.

Do you regularly exercise? I find exercise a critical part of my mental health. I recommend some light cardio every morning if you can fit it in. Even a walk around the block before bed can be wonderful. I have also found myself stressed and mentally spinning on the bad things in life which spiral out of control in my head. To stop this I have found guided meditation very useful. Just google something on YouTube and follow along. There are tons of free options out there. I used meditation to help get to sleep, but it is good in the day also to just break that cycle of negative thoughts.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: kmb501 on October 13, 2016, 03:39:16 PM
I checked out the link to the international schools review website that was posted. It looks like a very good resource for a novice teacher. I think I'm going to forward my questions about teaching overseas to them, if it's an active forum.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: lhamo on October 13, 2016, 04:09:03 PM
I checked out the link to the international schools review website that was posted. It looks like a very good resource for a novice teacher. I think I'm going to forward my questions about teaching overseas to them, if it's an active forum.

Can I make a suggestion?  Spend some time on the free version of the forum reading the information that is available already.  You will get more respect/useful answers if you take the time to read information that has already been shared rather than leaping in uninitiated.  For example, there is tons of information about how international school recruitment fairs work.  If you are interested in going that route, learn a bit about how they work, note in your initial posts that you have benefitted from the previous information shared, and then go in with a specific question you may have that you haven't seen addressed elsewhere. 

Another advantage of taking this approach is that you get an idea of the "lay of the land" and personalities of common posters before you ever start to engage with them.  There are some prickly folks over there, and ongoing arguments that come up -- for example, the poster PsyGuy tends to present himself as some kind of expert on international schools in China, and often rubs people the wrong way.  He is more than a little arrogant.  You'll see that/be aware of it/be better prepared to deal with it if you read a bit more extensively before you start to actively engage.  It will give you a kind of internal compass so that you know how to weigh any responses you might get from someone like that.  Similarly, if you find someone whose posts always seem very well thought out and politely presented, you might think about giving their opinions/suggestions more weight, and following up with them by PM to see if they'd be willing to provide more specific details off line. 

I hope you find this advice useful and that the forum proves to be a helpful resource for you.  Good luck learning more and deciding if this is a route you want to explore further.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: kmb501 on October 13, 2016, 05:20:52 PM
Thanks. I think I'll try to do that. I think one of the reasons my posts don't get a lot of respect is because I don't take time to read over everything that is out there first. I'm sorry. I'm extremely busy. I work two jobs, usually, and I'm currently back in school. It can feel challenging and also like a waste of time to pour over hundreds of posts, but I think you are right, and I think I will do some reading before I post anything else since my first post over there wasn't answered.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: lhamo on October 13, 2016, 06:19:11 PM
You don't have to necessarily pour over hundreds of posts.  Be selective.  Most of my reading has been of posts with the keyword "Beijing" as I was researching schools there.  But I pretty quickly got a sense for who some of the key posters were and what they dynamics were between them and others.

Start with reading any stickies or FAQs.  Then choose a keyword related to something your are curious about.  Maybe a country or city you would be interested in traveling to/working in.  Or general issues of safety, since that seems to be a major concern.  Or choose posts about ONE of the international recruitment fairs -- preferably one you would actually consider attending. 
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: Mother Fussbudget on October 13, 2016, 06:43:18 PM
I've been reading this thread with interest.  Thinking the OP was a troll, but now I'm unsure.  It's strange that 34 years ago, I left the town I was born and raised in - lived there for the first 25 years of my life.   Why leave?  I learned the full-time professional DJ's at the radio station I worked at were making $20K/year - this in the 1980's.  It was enough encouragement to make me want to:  a) get a degree in something marketable (computer science from the local state university), and b) get out of that town to earn some real scratch.

A few days after turning 25, I pulled up stakes, and moved to the San Francisco Bay area after flying overnight on the 'mail-flight' (Eastern airlines, anyone?) and handing a resume out at MacWorld expo.  Interviews, and job offers followed.  I knew teachers had it rough in my hometown, but never knew it was THAT bad.  One teacher friend who taught elementary school for 20 years in-my-hometown is now retired, and living on her pension in Lejos, Ecuador. She's teaching ESL at the local American University.  (Geographic Arbitrage)  Her husband worked for the fire department in-my-hometown for 20 years, and retired with his fireman's pension, and they're both as happy as clams. 

The school?  The University of South Alabama.  Radio station?  WABB.  My hometown?  Mobile, AL  - small world.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: kmb501 on October 13, 2016, 06:58:53 PM
I've been reading this thread with interest.  Thinking the OP was a troll, but now I'm unsure.  It's strange that 34 years ago, I left the town I was born and raised in - lived there for the first 25 years of my life.   Why leave?  I learned the full-time professional DJ's at the radio station I worked at were making $20K/year - this in the 1980's.  It was enough encouragement to make me want to:  a) get a degree in something marketable (computer science from the local state university), and b) get out of that town to earn some real scratch.

A few days after turning 25, I pulled up stakes, and moved to the San Francisco Bay area after flying overnight on the 'mail-flight' (Eastern airlines, anyone?) and handing a resume out at MacWorld expo.  Interviews, and job offers followed.  I knew teachers had it rough in my hometown, but never knew it was THAT bad.  One teacher friend who taught elementary school for 20 years in-my-hometown is now retired, and living on her pension in Lejos, Ecuador. She's teaching ESL at the local American University.  (Geographic Arbitrage)  Her husband worked for the fire department in-my-hometown for 20 years, and retired with his fireman's pension, and they're both as happy as clams. 

The school?  The University of South Alabama.  Radio station?  WABB.  My hometown?  Mobile, AL  - small world.

It looks like you can relate. I've been thinking about retraining, too. I'm now enrolled at South for additional training not related to my field, and the tuition is a lot higher than when I first enrolled. I think the college messed it up for a lot of us when they got that football team and started all of that construction. Then again, I'm sure student loans being handed out by the federal government like candy didn't help, either. Either way, tuition is way higher than it used to be, I think. I often wish I had it to do over again, I think I want a change.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: mozar on October 14, 2016, 11:25:29 AM
I used to think that what a school spent money on was my concern, or that who the fed govt gave money to was my concern. But it's not, the only thing I can control is my actions. And wishing the past was different isn't going to get you anywhere.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: HandsOffMyStache on October 14, 2016, 08:25:41 PM


Then don't go overseas.   Are you actively doing something to "make sure [your] communication and organization problems are a thing of the past"?  Do you have good reason to believe you are almost to that point?  Like, within months?  If not, then this probably isn't the right path for you, because you need to do something about your situation now, not two years from now when you've had more therapy and whatever else you do.  If, in two years, you are at that point, you can reconsider.  Until then you need to find a plan you can start now.  It sounds like overseas is not that plan.  Fine.  So cross it off your list, don't look back, and move forward toward something else.  You are still just spitballing various option on the internet.  You could easily do that for decades.  And you'll still be right where you are, geographically, financially, emotionally, and in all other ways. 

Also, as someone who has moved overseas and who struggles with social anxiety, I'd say that my experience was a bit different and that in same ways I think think being in a new environment with those kinds of issues can be harder, not easier. I still feel a deep sense of... shame, I guess... every time I can't figure out a parking meter and I need to ask a stranger for help and hope that our limited language skills and our charades are enough, or when I don't quite know the etiquette associated with something and I'm worried I am going to offend, or whatever.  The alien environment and resulting lack of cultural literacies has really, really challenged my anxieties. 

And again, since you aren't at the point where you are ready to tackle that anyway, it's probably not the right choice for you. (Does it even appeal to you, outside of the money?)  So move on to the things that are.  If it interests you, keep it on the back burner as an option for the future.  But right now, you need to focus on the getting a meal started on the front burner so you can feed yourself.  Pick an option you can begin executing today.  You aren't there for overseas teaching, and you don't know if/when you will be. Nothing wrong with that.  But you can begin executing a plan to get a much better teaching job in the US today. 

You need to start making decisions, and taking actions.  You've been chewing over options for months, or longer.  Enough.  Decide, and act!

Okay, here's what I would like to do:

1. Start a private tutoring business. Right now, I'm not sure I have the skills for it. I've worked as a volunteer tutor, but I'm not sure the parents would be as thrilled about my services if they had to pay for them. I'm not sure I measure up to the competition in this small area. I would like to try to get something started, though. It could be a decent side income or even a full-time profession, and it would be a good safe test for my shyness and disorganization. This is my first choice, and it would take the least amount of work to complete. I don't want to go in cold, though. Even though I've taken lots of Education classes and have a master's degree in it, I feel like I need to "look like a tutor," have official looking contracts, learning plans, and assessment tests. I also need to learn a lot more about kids with special needs, as so far my training has only covered regular and ESL students.

2. Apply for a teaching job in a neighboring area. Louisiana and Florida aren't too far from here. Although I would be a little reluctant to pick up and move to Nevada or a place where I wouldn't have ready support from friends or family if things didn't pan out, I could convince myself to move a state or two away. Perhaps I should look for opportunities in these areas? This would be my second choice.

3. Call schools several states away, explain my credentials and communication problems, and move several states away after checking on the area and making sure it's somewhere I might like to live and work. Even though I wouldn't be as close to friends and family, it would be less challenging than living overseas.

4. Contact a recruiter or language school overseas, explain my issues with shyness, and see if they have a place for me in spite of it. I would thrive in an environment where (1) other English speakers were working in the building with me, (2) many of the teachers spoke my language, and (3) the curriculum and lesson plans were pre-prepared for me just in case I forget something.

Okay, so I am going to make a number of points, most of which echo others:

First off, there is actually a lot of good news in your situation. Your expenses are not crazy. You may not be quite the badass mustachian as some others here, but you're keeping expenses in reasonable bounds. And that's great! Because that means you are setting yourself up to be a financial winner with the right attitude. Kudos!

You are well-credentialed with your Master's degree. There are a couple of good things about that. It shows that you were able to function in a context that required you to meet goals similar in nature to what you might have to do as a worker (show up on time, complete assigned work, demonstrate a reasonable level of intelligence and analytical ability). Also, as numerous others have observed, your credentials are the necessary qualification for jobs that pay more than twice what you currently receive. And the fact that you received this degreee means that your teachers believed you can do that work. You should believe it too!

I can see that you worry a lot about being able to actually do the job in an acceptable professional way. Well, let me let you in on a little secret: The average worker/employee is remarkably unimpressive. Most employers would be happy just to get an employee who shows up, works diligently and is polite. And I hope I am not insulting anyone here when I note that, in my experience, K-12 teachers are not generally rocket scientists. The qualifications for most things are lower than you think!

About moving: You seem pretty reluctant to pull the trigger on a move. It seems that fear of moving away from your support structure may play a role in that. My advice, like that of others in this thread is "Take the plunge," though, personally, I would not suggest going overseas at this point. There are multiple good reasons for this. I have lived in various parts of the U.S., and, while the states each have their own character, they are far more alike than different, in these days of national media. Life overseas can still be quite different, and I think that much adventure right now might be a bit much---It's not uncommon for people to have culture shock issues, and I think moving within the U.S. is probably a safer choice. As others have pointed out, there are many states you could move to that would enormously boost your income---And yes, you definitely are underpaid!

About applying/presenting yourself: Do not point out your deficiencies (real or imagined) when applying or interviewing. No one else does, so why should you? The interviewer will always assume that you're not perfect, anyway.

And now, let's imagine possible outcomes:
1. You apply for various jobs, but no one offers one to you: Materially, you are no worse off, but now you have something you can iterate on. You ask yourself, "Why didn't I get an offer? Did I not apply to enough places? Was my resume bad? Did I present myself poorly in any interviews?" When you understand enough, you try again. [You are better off for this]
2. You get a job offer at a decent pay rate (yay!) You move and go to work, but you do poorly at the job: You are better off by virtue of having earned an elevated salary for some period of time, a history that will also help you to get a similar or better salary at your next job, since employers generally have a good idea of your prior earnings. You iterate on understanding what went wrong with the job and strive to improve, or to find a job that more closely matches your skills/talents. [You are better off for this]
3. You get a job offer at a decent pay rate (yay!) You move and go to work, and you do well at the job: And, do I need to say it? [You are better off for this]

It is, of course, possible that you will totally homesick for where you live now, and (even after giving it a couple of years) want to move back. Or maybe you just don't like the new location, but think things might be better in some third place. In any case, you are a new person, stronger for your experiences and (you guessed it!) [You are better off for this]

There is no plausible scenario under which you are not better off either financially, or in terms of your personal development---and most likely both.

I am a procrastinator of long-standing, and I can tell you that the anticipation of what might happen or what people may think of you, if you "just go for it" is way worse than the actuality. Let me put this another way. Say you apply for a job, get it and then fail so miserably that people are laughing, shaking their heads and using you as a cautionary tale---Well, guess what? Your life is not about what they think of you. It's about what you think of yourself. And as long as you can say, "I tried my best, and I will keep doing so," then you are doing all that any person can---and a lot more than most.

Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: kmb501 on October 15, 2016, 04:22:39 AM
Today, I turned thirty. I've been working full-time for about $20,000 per year for one full year, and I've been finding a way to spend most of what I make.

Here's my advice.  And I am serious, assuming you have no kids and no spouse.

Move to China.  Teach English for 2 to 3 years.  Living cheap in China is easy, even in some of the new, beautiful cities, like Hangzhou, where I live.  Teachers get paid about 2-3K a month, with is the same or more than you are getting.  Breakfast cost $1.  Dinner out can be as low as $3 (and it's not unhealthy or undersized).   Most people find they can save at least 30% of what they make and if you get a side job you can save 50%.  Use the time to learn Chinese, make new friends and think about what you want to do when you go back. 

Most English teachers in China do not have a teaching degree.  Some have not even finished college.  I have even met some older adults that may not have finished high school.  You might have to get a certification (TEFL) but this can be easily done in a few months through an internet course.  If you can show up to work on time, talk in English, and behave within the local social norms, you can do it.

If you decide to take my advice, feel free to PM me, and I'll get you some help getting connected with a school here.

What are the internet courses? Could you give me a few links?

I know you said you weren't going to follow this thread anymore, but I apologize for my rudeness.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: arebelspy on October 15, 2016, 05:16:58 AM
Today, I turned thirty. I've been working full-time for about $20,000 per year for one full year, and I've been finding a way to spend most of what I make.

Here's my advice.  And I am serious, assuming you have no kids and no spouse.

Move to China.  Teach English for 2 to 3 years.  Living cheap in China is easy, even in some of the new, beautiful cities, like Hangzhou, where I live.  Teachers get paid about 2-3K a month, with is the same or more than you are getting.  Breakfast cost $1.  Dinner out can be as low as $3 (and it's not unhealthy or undersized).   Most people find they can save at least 30% of what they make and if you get a side job you can save 50%.  Use the time to learn Chinese, make new friends and think about what you want to do when you go back. 

Most English teachers in China do not have a teaching degree.  Some have not even finished college.  I have even met some older adults that may not have finished high school.  You might have to get a certification (TEFL) but this can be easily done in a few months through an internet course.  If you can show up to work on time, talk in English, and behave within the local social norms, you can do it.

If you decide to take my advice, feel free to PM me, and I'll get you some help getting connected with a school here.

What are the internet courses? Could you give me a few links?

I know you said you weren't going to follow this thread anymore, but I apologize for my rudeness.

Have you even looked into if you need it?  Many places will happily accept your teaching license, and Master's Degree, and not require the extra certification (I know this directly from a teacher friend that taught in China).

Research, and act, don't act randomly. What you need to be doing is gathering specific, and actionable information.

Have you contacted the HR districts of the neighboring state's school districts?  Have you followed up with Clark County on jobs you can get with your qualifications (even though they sent you one you weren't interested in)?  Have you contacted overseas teaching companies, and recruiting firms to find out what their requirements are?

Do all of these things.  Do all of them now.  Do them before committing to a multiple months online certification course that costs money, and time, and you may not even need.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: Villanelle on October 16, 2016, 12:58:39 AM
Today, I turned thirty. I've been working full-time for about $20,000 per year for one full year, and I've been finding a way to spend most of what I make.

Here's my advice.  And I am serious, assuming you have no kids and no spouse.

Move to China.  Teach English for 2 to 3 years.  Living cheap in China is easy, even in some of the new, beautiful cities, like Hangzhou, where I live.  Teachers get paid about 2-3K a month, with is the same or more than you are getting.  Breakfast cost $1.  Dinner out can be as low as $3 (and it's not unhealthy or undersized).   Most people find they can save at least 30% of what they make and if you get a side job you can save 50%.  Use the time to learn Chinese, make new friends and think about what you want to do when you go back. 

Most English teachers in China do not have a teaching degree.  Some have not even finished college.  I have even met some older adults that may not have finished high school.  You might have to get a certification (TEFL) but this can be easily done in a few months through an internet course.  If you can show up to work on time, talk in English, and behave within the local social norms, you can do it.

If you decide to take my advice, feel free to PM me, and I'll get you some help getting connected with a school here.

What are the internet courses? Could you give me a few links?

I know you said you weren't going to follow this thread anymore, but I apologize for my rudeness.

Have you even looked into if you need it?  Many places will happily accept your teaching license, and Master's Degree, and not require the extra certification (I know this directly from a teacher friend that taught in China).

Research, and act, don't act randomly. What you need to be doing is gathering specific, and actionable information.

Have you contacted the HR districts of the neighboring state's school districts?  Have you followed up with Clark County on jobs you can get with your qualifications (even though they sent you one you weren't interested in)?  Have you contacted overseas teaching companies, and recruiting firms to find out what their requirements are?

Do all of these things.  Do all of them now.  Do them before committing to a multiple months online certification course that costs money, and time, and you may not even need.

This.

And also, if you actually want this, put in the effort.  You have internet access.  I just searched, and it took me about 10 minutes to find information on these classes.  You are a reasonably smart person, and you managed to complete graduate level work.  So I'm pretty sure you are capable of basic research.  If you want this, it should be worth the effort.  People in this thread have offered to help you, but don't take advantage (in a bad way) of that kindness by asking them to do all the work for you.

It seems like all you are doing, frankly, is whining about your situation on the internet.  You claim that you want different and better in your life, but from where I'm sitting, it looks like you aren't willing to put in work into making that happen.  Giving you the benefit of the doubt, that may be because you are scared and overwhelmed.  So approach it like a research paper.  Prepare to write a paper on the process for getting a legitimate, well-paying job teaching English overseas.  (If that's the job that you actually want, instead of staying in the US and maybe semi-local to where you are now.)  If that's become your #1 choice, research it like you would a research paper.  Get a list of a few reliable, credible schools (you'll need to do the research yourself to determine which are credible), figure out how those schools usually hire (recruiting firms, accepting resumes mailed to them, something else?), what their requirements are, and then where to get those requirements if you don't already have them. 

Research it.  If you want this, put in the work to earn it.  Don't expect strangers on the internet to hand it to you. 
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: kmb501 on October 16, 2016, 04:29:23 AM

Research it.  If you want this, put in the work to earn it.  Don't expect strangers on the internet to hand it to you.

That's good advice. I'm sorry. I wasn't really thinking of it like that. I guess I'll look around and see what I find.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: WootWoot on October 16, 2016, 01:29:29 PM
Sorry to break in here, but what is Scrubbyfish's book? Thanks!
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: lhamo on October 16, 2016, 02:29:33 PM
Sorry to break in here, but what is Scrubbyfish's book? Thanks!

https://www.amazon.com/Rising-Strategies-Broke-At-Risk-Those/dp/151874043X/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1476649720&sr=8-8&keywords=rising
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: WootWoot on October 16, 2016, 02:57:13 PM
Thanks re: the book!
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: kmb501 on October 17, 2016, 02:07:25 AM

Okay, so I am going to make a number of points, most of which echo others:

First off, there is actually a lot of good news in your situation. Your expenses are not crazy. You may not be quite the badass mustachian as some others here, but you're keeping expenses in reasonable bounds. And that's great! Because that means you are setting yourself up to be a financial winner with the right attitude. Kudos!

You are well-credentialed with your Master's degree. There are a couple of good things about that. It shows that you were able to function in a context that required you to meet goals similar in nature to what you might have to do as a worker (show up on time, complete assigned work, demonstrate a reasonable level of intelligence and analytical ability). Also, as numerous others have observed, your credentials are the necessary qualification for jobs that pay more than twice what you currently receive. And the fact that you received this degree means that your teachers believed you can do that work. You should believe it too!

I can see that you worry a lot about being able to actually do the job in an acceptable professional way. Well, let me let you in on a little secret: The average worker/employee is remarkably unimpressive. Most employers would be happy just to get an employee who shows up, works diligently and is polite. And I hope I am not insulting anyone here when I note that, in my experience, K-12 teachers are not generally rocket scientists. The qualifications for most things are lower than you think!

About moving: You seem pretty reluctant to pull the trigger on a move. It seems that fear of moving away from your support structure may play a role in that. My advice, like that of others in this thread is "Take the plunge," though, personally, I would not suggest going overseas at this point. There are multiple good reasons for this. I have lived in various parts of the U.S., and, while the states each have their own character, they are far more alike than different, in these days of national media. Life overseas can still be quite different, and I think that much adventure right now might be a bit much---It's not uncommon for people to have culture shock issues, and I think moving within the U.S. is probably a safer choice. As others have pointed out, there are many states you could move to that would enormously boost your income---And yes, you definitely are underpaid!

About applying/presenting yourself: Do not point out your deficiencies (real or imagined) when applying or interviewing. No one else does, so why should you? The interviewer will always assume that you're not perfect, anyway.

And now, let's imagine possible outcomes:
1. You apply for various jobs, but no one offers one to you: Materially, you are no worse off, but now you have something you can iterate on. You ask yourself, "Why didn't I get an offer? Did I not apply to enough places? Was my resume bad? Did I present myself poorly in any interviews?" When you understand enough, you try again. [You are better off for this]
2. You get a job offer at a decent pay rate (yay!) You move and go to work, but you do poorly at the job: You are better off by virtue of having earned an elevated salary for some period of time, a history that will also help you to get a similar or better salary at your next job, since employers generally have a good idea of your prior earnings. You iterate on understanding what went wrong with the job and strive to improve, or to find a job that more closely matches your skills/talents. [You are better off for this]
3. You get a job offer at a decent pay rate (yay!) You move and go to work, and you do well at the job: And, do I need to say it? [You are better off for this]

It is, of course, possible that you will totally homesick for where you live now, and (even after giving it a couple of years) want to move back. Or maybe you just don't like the new location, but think things might be better in some third place. In any case, you are a new person, stronger for your experiences and (you guessed it!) [You are better off for this]

There is no plausible scenario under which you are not better off either financially, or in terms of your personal development---and most likely both.

I am a procrastinator of long-standing, and I can tell you that the anticipation of what might happen or what people may think of you, if you "just go for it" is way worse than the actuality. Let me put this another way. Say you apply for a job, get it and then fail so miserably that people are laughing, shaking their heads and using you as a cautionary tale---Well, guess what? Your life is not about what they think of you. It's about what you think of yourself. And as long as you can say, "I tried my best, and I will keep doing so," then you are doing all that any person can---and a lot more than most.

Thanks for the encouragement. I guess I don't "project" confidence.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: sleepyguy on October 17, 2016, 07:26:31 AM
This, and it isn't even close.

Right now your comfort zone sucks to be honest... you are making Mcdonalds wage with a BA and a Masters!?!

You can't afford to donate $200 per/mth... yes you can't afford it right now!  Hell once you start making $80k/yr... go ahead and start donating $400/mth if it fits your budget.

Japan is usually looking for Eng teachers who are qualified... if you get with a good one they will pay for housing and usually have a $20k bonus or so after a 3-4yr term at the end of it.  It's a decent gig if you get it.

Good luck in your choices.

30 mid-life?  Lol... that's not even close, haha.

Sorry, I guess I should have revived an old thread instead of starting a new one. I apologize for constantly posting the same information, but I'm stuck. Why am I stuck, though? Good question. I think I need to work on figuring that out. That might be a good first step.

I know that in the past, maybe not right now, but in the past, I was very reluctant to approach people in person or even call them on the phone, because I felt like I wouldn't know what to say. I think that might be one thing that is holding me back. I guess there's no cure for shyness except just doing what makes us afraid.  Thank you all for the suggestions. I think I'm going to try something at least.

It can be tough breaking out of your comfort zone.  Before you were scared of teaching overseas, now you didn't mention that.  Did you get over that?

Several people have offered suggestions around finding a better place to teach.

Are you willing to relocate/move?  Or not, and if not, why not?
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: Mother Fussbudget on October 17, 2016, 10:53:02 AM
I'm reading a chorus of advice:  Get Out Of Mobile. 
If timid, try Houston, or Atlanta (8-hour-drive LCOL cities). 
Gutsy?  Try Los Angeles, Los Vegas, or Seattle (4-hour flight, HCOL cities).  Salaries are generally higher in HCOL cities, but the expenses can negate that uptick in earnings very quickly if one doesn't find appropriate budget housing.

Bottom line:  It's Time for a Major Life Change, and school isn't the best move.  A geographic move (garage-sale / packing / unpacking) seems appropriate.  You have enough degrees / credentials.  Time to put those existing credentials to work to earn a wage appropriate to their worth.  Suggest you try finding a recruiter / head-hunter in your target city/cities, and let THEM find you a position.  Use your social media & Linked-In contacts to recommend someone.
Title: Re: Mid-Life Crisis: I have not started saving for retirement
Post by: Johnez on October 17, 2016, 01:53:26 PM
Seems OP's responses range from "I'll check it out" to "sounds like a good idea" to "I'll try to do that" or some variation.

How about you come back with "Hey guys I DID this, and INTERVIEWED here and WENT there "

Actually DO something. Remember the old wise words, "There is no try, only do." Also, "wax on, wax off."

By the way, I came into this thread looking to see if I could apply some advice. I'm 30, without a degree or a career really. None of the advice helps me unfortunately. However, my situation might open your eyes-I'm making $60,000 a year in a warehouse. If you want to try something radically different that pays well-check out these type of jobs on indeed.com or Monster. There are lots. You have your degree, the education ain't going away, perhaps you can tutor on the side. Just open your eyes. You seem to be in the perfect situation to pick up and get out, do something different, if only for a year or 2.