Author Topic: Teachers - How are you speeding up your journey to FIRE?  (Read 5925 times)

shanghaiMMM

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Teachers - How are you speeding up your journey to FIRE?
« on: May 30, 2015, 06:02:22 PM »
Self explanatory thread subject really. We're not a profession renowned for high wages, and so I would curious to see what others are doing to making sure you can still FIRE relatively early.

For me:

Tutoring: Obvious one. I currently get an extra $1000 a month or so from tutoring on the side.

International School: I suppose at the minute this is the main one for me at the minute. I get free housing as part of my contract. Combined with a higher basic wage, end of contract bonus and LCOL, teaching abroad is speeding up my path to FIRE.


MDM

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Re: Teachers - How are you speeding up your journey to FIRE?
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2015, 06:14:55 PM »
And if this isn't too much of a thread hijack (OP - I'll remove this post if you want), how well does your school district administration and/or union do at educating you about your retirement plan options?

rageth

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Re: Teachers - How are you speeding up your journey to FIRE?
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2015, 06:35:33 PM »
I teach a summer school enrichment class with a curriculum that I developed which brings in an easy $2000/summer that I'm having put straight into my 457.

After the half day summer school is done, I do yardwork for the wealthy at a rate of $15/hour that is nothing more than watering plants and pulling weeds.  I could make more per hour in my summer afternoons doing tutoring but the prep work required for summer makes it not worth it to me personally.

That said, I do tutor year-round, but that only brings in ~$150/month with cancellations both on my part and the students.

One thing I'm trying to get into is selling the material that I make for my class on Teachers Pay Teachers.  I've only sold one thing so far for very little profit as I do not pay for the premium seller service.  I teach dual language, though, which a growing field and has lots of room for growth especially once I figure out ways to increase the traffic to my TpT store page and improve the quality of my material to increase the marketability.  Either way I see it as earning money on something I would have had to create for my class anyway.

Nudelkopf

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Re: Teachers - How are you speeding up your journey to FIRE?
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2015, 08:13:33 PM »
Teach rural = Free rent: I teach in a rural area, so my rent is $40/wk, and I don't have to pay electricity. (Compared to $180/wk in the city)
Teach rural = Extra pay: I think I get an extra $1000 per year compared to teachers who live in the city.
Teach rural = Tax: A whole $360 back at tax time due to living rural. Woo.
Tutoring: I have 4 students/wk at $40/hour. Averages about $80/wk over the year, with holidays & cancellations. I've had many other offers this year for tutoring, but I cap my numbers at 4. Too much work, otherwise!

Total extra = approx. $8500 per year better off.

shanghaiMMM

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Re: Teachers - How are you speeding up your journey to FIRE?
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2015, 11:13:20 PM »
MDM - as a Brit I'm really not sure I'm qualified to answer your question, sorry!

Teachers Pay Teachers sounds interesting, I'll have to take a look at that.

Just curious as I've never done a summer school - how do they work? Is there much prep involved or is it more just running of activities?

jamaicaspanish

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Re: Teachers - How are you speeding up your journey to FIRE?
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2015, 12:46:38 AM »
I took full advantage of my state's defined pension contributions.
Specifically, I bought 10.4 years of service.

It cost 29% of my highest salary / year of purchased service.
But, my gosh. I was buying years of my life.

I was able to tax-shelter into a 403 and 457 and roll those contributions into purchasing service years.

I retired at 46 with a defined pension, about 60% of my final salary. 2% COLA. And DW gets full survivor benefits if, fsm forbid, I die early. 

DW and I are now overseas teaching. We're stashing 90% of our current salaries + my/our pension.

Our stache is growing nicely. We've reached FI after three years of international teaching. We just have to decide how much longer we'll love teaching (well, love the crap that we have to do to keep teaching kids--curriculum writing, meetings, in-service training, etc.).

Also, side gig tutoring--I cleared $20/hour for adult English conversation classes. Multi-national company. Very little prep. Interesting people. <1 mile from our home.

TLDR: if someone offers to let you buy years of your life, buy them.

ChaseJuggler

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Re: Teachers - How are you speeding up your journey to FIRE?
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2015, 02:42:03 AM »
Selling my online physics and calculus tutorials on learningbird. Com for extra passive income.

Uber driving with a salvage title Prius in the summers. (This is especially good. Deduct 50 cents per mile for auto expenses, then throw it all in the 457B and deduct it again!)

Calculus group tutoring on Saturdays for 40 per hour.

Churning credit card rewards and bank sign up bonuses.

Selling friends' stuff on eBay for a commission in the summers.

arebelspy

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Re: Teachers - How are you speeding up your journey to FIRE?
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2015, 11:17:08 AM »
We (both teachers) did the after school tutoring, Saturday schools, grading high school proficiency exams, summer school (every summer except one where we backpacked through Europe), paid trainings, etc.

Basically any extra things we could to pick up money to save.

And then managed our own rentals as a side gig (and got heavy into real estate to make lots of money--I've made more at real estate than I did teaching for the last few years in a row).
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with two kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

charis

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Re: Teachers - How are you speeding up your journey to FIRE?
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2015, 11:31:16 AM »
My husband is a new teacher (currently a sub until he finds a permanent gig).  He will be home with our two kids this summer, so we'll save money on child care obviously, and we plan to buy a rental in a few years that we will manage, him mostly.   Is evening or weekend tutoring even a possibility over the summer?  Any ideas for getting into that?

teacherwithamustache

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Re: Teachers - How are you speeding up your journey to FIRE?
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2015, 11:54:25 AM »
Teachers are uniquely positioned for the side hustle.  We get off at 3:00 and we have off all summer.  Here are my side gigs and then I will list some other teachers side gigs I have come across.  The secret to the side gig is to find something that is easy to do but rich people pay you to do it.

1.  Tutoring about 15K a year.  I do SAT and College Application tutoring.
2.  Sports Officiating about 1k a month 3 days a week can increase to 2k a month really easy.  Any sport will work you can make $100 over 3 hours pretty much any day of the week.
3.  Official Side Gig.  3 months 15K.  I would tell you more but it is so easy I do not need more competition.  Think about selling something to kids that is about as unmustachian a product as humanly possible.
4.  Grant Writing.  I write grants for your organization and you pay me a finders fee.  About 5K a year, I put about 100 hours into it a year.  Could be more but why bother.

Other teachers Side Gigs that I respect:

1:  Knife Sharpener.  He literally goes around and sharpens knives for stay at home rich moms.  He is a retired teacher and says he makes $2500 a month working 3 days a week.  He also sharpens knives at mom and pop restaurants for food gift cards.  Gets free golf in return for sharpening lawn mower blades at a nice country club every other monday.

2:  Horse Show Braider.  This might be the stupidest side hustle I have ever heard of but....  Like I said if you are going to pay me I will be happy to do it.  So my daughter is up at school one day and this teacher comes by and they start talking.  I knew she was a HORSE NUTT by her room I just did not know how much of one.  So the next thing you know she is inviting my 5 year old and me to a horse show the following weekend.  It is close to the house so I take my daughter there that weekend.  We get there the night before and she is showing my daughter all of the horses.  I ask her which one is hers.  She does not own a horse.  She is up there braiding horse hair before the competition.  She is getting paid $100 a horse to braid horse hair and put ribbon in it.  I asked her how many horses does she usually braid and she said 12-15 per show.  She even had a helper she was paying to do most of the work.

3:  I phone repairer.  So this guy literally spends his lunch period replacing iphone screens for kids for $40 a pop.  Most of the time he has his students doing the repairs.

The secret to getting rich in education is to start investing early, dont have debt, and to be happy with your lot in life.  Too many teachers want the new Tahoe, and the designer purses.  Be happy with who you are.  I have the crappiest car in the teacher parking lot and I promise you my Net Worth is pretty close to being the highest on campus.

As to the other question about investment seminars.  The problem is finding people who are qualified that are not stock brokers.  Sure they will be happy to talk to you about investing but then they want to sell you loaded funds or worse an annuity.  I do think it is very sad that the 70 year old teacher who has not been effective for 20 years and maxed out her pension amount 5 years ago refuses to retire.  It is not that she loves her job it is because she has no idea what she is going to do in next stage of her life and does not have a clue how money works.

arebelspy

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Re: Teachers - How are you speeding up your journey to FIRE?
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2015, 11:58:37 AM »
Think about selling something to kids that is about as unmustachian a product as humanly possible.

Cigarettes?
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with two kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

teacherwithamustache

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Re: Teachers - How are you speeding up your journey to FIRE?
« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2015, 12:27:00 PM »
Think about selling something to kids that is about as unmustachian a product as humanly possible.

Cigarettes?

Funny Cigarette story... So when I was in college I worked at a pawn shop.  Great experience because I like talking to crazy people, and it is never a dull moment.  I go to the owner and say I want to put a cigarette machine at the front door.  He looks at me funny but I was making him a crap load of money so whatever. I buy the machine for $250.  That machine was literally printing money.  These idiots would pawn their TV or Guns and could not resist putting $5 in the cigarette machine on the way out.  They could have bought the same pack next door at the shop and rob for $3.50.  If I smelled smoke on them I would always make sure and give them a $5 bill in their amount as the last bill just so they would be tempted.  I would drive up to the Oklahoma Indian reservations and buy the cigarettes by the case for a little less then $2 a pack.  I would also put singles in the fridge at the fraternity house I lived in with a money box fastened to the wall.  I would charge a quarter for a single honor system.  Not quite as profitable as the pawn shop but still kept me in beer money.  One day my parents came up to visit and my closet is filled with Marlboro's, Virginia Slims,  Camel Carton's of cigarettes, and Cases of Trojan Condoms.  We were having a theme party later in the week which is why the condoms were there.  My moms eyes got as big as saucers and my dad just busted out laughing..... Awwww  those were the days.

aceyou

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Re: Teachers - How are you speeding up your journey to FIRE?
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2015, 12:55:16 PM »
1.  Coaching ($9600/year) - varsity coach of boys/girls tennis teams for past 8 years.  7 conference titles, 9 regional titles, lots of fun memories. 

2.  Summer Camps - 4 summers ago I started a school summer camp for youngsters and charge dirt cheap...got a couple hundred kids to join.  I made about 3k and I raised about 5K for my program....fast forward to last summer, a lot of those parents started to ask for more intense training, so...

3.  Start your own business - I formed a tennis academy separate from the school summer camp that catered to my most motivated players, from the summer camp, and i found a person capable of running the summer camp for me.  I opened an LLC, and eight kids paid $1750 each to have me train them 25 hours/week for 10 weeks last summer.  It was a blast, they got awesome, and we all had a great experience, and my tennis team got even better...more conference/regional titles should be rolling in!!!

4.  credit card churning - because we have so many breaks, use those breaks to put in the time to apply for cards and get yourself free travel. I'll be applying for another card as soon as sumer hits:)

5.  Track your spending/income and plan, plan, plan.  What sheltered account is best for your money this year?  What's the best way to keep your taxes low this year?  How can you shave another $100/year off the auto insurance.  Our schedules permit us the time to focus on that more than many professions, so take advantage!


rageth

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Re: Teachers - How are you speeding up your journey to FIRE?
« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2015, 08:54:56 PM »
3.  Official Side Gig.  3 months 15K.  I would tell you more but it is so easy I do not need more competition.  Think about selling something to kids that is about as unmustachian a product as humanly possible.

$15k?! I must know! It's got to be something in the summer with it being 3 months. Message me?

socalteacher

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Re: Teachers - How are you speeding up your journey to FIRE?
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2015, 09:05:27 PM »
My wife and I made a killing while teaching in Korea from 2002-04. We came back with well over 100k in our bank account. At 22 years old we were crushing it and traveling for 5 weeks a year. We made friends with a few very entrepreneurial teachers while we were there. One couple worked at a university there. Think 15 hours of teaching time each week. They had a stipend for housing and made about 3k a month each salary. They tutored on the side with groups of 3-5 students at $40/ per student. In the summers they would take a group of middle school kids back to Canada with them (for a large fee of course). They would enroll them in various activities and keep them busy for 2-3 weeks before sending them back and getting the next group. Basically everything they did was churning in money. Last time I heard from them they were retired before 40 and set. While we were there it would have been pretty easy to set up the same system. Having the MA degree and a uni job allowed for a lot of free time to make serious cash in tutoring. (All tax free!)

Monk like

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Re: Teachers - How are you speeding up your journey to FIRE?
« Reply #15 on: June 02, 2015, 01:37:21 AM »
International teaching for the past 13 years--Venz, Taiwan, S. Korea, Japan. Ending a lucrative gig here in Japan after two years where we saved 60 grand. Over the past 13 I have paid off 35 grand in student loans, put my wife through programs where she is now working as a certified teacher---cost 25 grand--paid cash. Bought a house and rent it out to an elderly parent which covers the yearly costs. No other debt except for the house and 100 grand in bank cash. Plan to return in a few weeks get my principal certificate over this next year and get a job next year doing that. Meanwhile we I will tutor, supply teach and not increase savings but hopefully make more down the road. Wife will work too. When our only child reaches 7th grade in 4 years head back overseas for 15 more years for savings and free tuition. Its not all glamour--free apartment living, away from family, etc. overseas. People ask why I am leaving, but we need to be around family, accelerate my course work and eat some good BBQ! Live cheap and save, save, save. Good luck to all!

shanghaiMMM

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Re: Teachers - How are you speeding up your journey to FIRE?
« Reply #16 on: June 02, 2015, 08:49:06 PM »

1.  Tutoring about 15K a year.  I do SAT and College Application tutoring.
2.  Sports Officiating about 1k a month 3 days a week can increase to 2k a month really easy.  Any sport will work you can make $100 over 3 hours pretty much any day of the week.
3.  Official Side Gig.  3 months 15K.  I would tell you more but it is so easy I do not need more competition.  Think about selling something to kids that is about as unmustachian a product as humanly possible.
4.  Grant Writing.  I write grants for your organization and you pay me a finders fee.  About 5K a year, I put about 100 hours into it a year.  Could be more but why bother.



I make that $47k extra a year from side hustles?! That's badass! I need to up my game.

Some great motivation in here! I would love to do the coaching / summer camp thing if I ever end up teaching in the States.

expatartist

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Re: Teachers - How are you speeding up your journey to FIRE?
« Reply #17 on: June 02, 2015, 09:05:53 PM »
Teacherwithamustache I too am interested to hear more about your Official Side Gig!

Colleagues of mine are IB examiners, this can bring in a good chunk annually, is location independent, and is a plus for getting hired at international schools. I'll be doing IB training with my Professional Development stipend over the next couple of years with that in mind.

I sell my art as a part-time gig :)

MrsPete

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Re: Teachers - How are you speeding up your journey to FIRE?
« Reply #18 on: June 03, 2015, 05:54:48 AM »
I'm a teacher.  My husband is an engineer.  You'd be surprised how many high school teacher-engineer couples exist -- the personality types must attract.  Seriously, 1/3 of the teachers in my department are married to engineers. 

We've always thought that this combination is perfect.  I have a low paycheck but also a schedule that matches the kids' needs.  I have job security.  He has a higher paycheck, needs to be able to leave at a moment's notice, and he worries about layoffs every two years.  He puts away lots into our investments; I put away less but also have my pension.  Our "opposite status" makes us stronger as a financial unit. 

The biggest single thing I've done as a teacher isn't about making extra money; rather, it's about saving money.  Having the afternoons, holidays and weekends with the kids was a huge savings -- both in money and in effort.  So many of my friends used to ask me every spring, "Can you send me a student who'd like to babysit all summer?"  And while I did set up quite a few successful combinations, I was just as glad not to be spending that money myself.  Also, as my youngest approaches high school graduation next week, I can say that I raised some pretty great kids.

Other things that I've done or have seen other people do within the school system for extra cash:
- Tutoring; get yourself on the county's approved tutor list
- Summer camps; put together one using your strength -- theater, basketball, writing -- parents are looking for summer activities for kids
- Home bound teaching
- Online teaching; this is a growing field
- Coach a sports team, though if you coach one of the big sports and do it well, it comes out to less than $2/hour -- you really have to love coaching
- Become an official for a sport; you need to be certified in your sport, but this is more profitable than coaching
- Supervise "Saturday School", which is detention
- Grade AP tests or other tests - this is a June job
- Become an SAT administrator; it's only a 5-6-times-a-year job, but it's easy money
- I did summer school once, and it was awful; I ended up teaching the kids who had just failed my class, so they had a bad attitude.  And I went into the next school year already tired, so that school year seemed to go on forever.  Of course, I also had two small children (one of them an infant) at the time. 

And LOTS of my colleagues have other jobs outside the school system:
- Many of the young teachers have retail jobs after school, but I wouldn't recommend that; going to the mall every day allows you to see things /develop a desire for things that you don't really need.
- Many of my colleagues have small businesses in painting, electrical, tile, etc.
- I know a couple who do seamstress work.
- I know one home ec teacher who made really nice denim shirts with our school mascots embroidered on the front (made one at put it in every school's mail room and took orders); she literally put her daughter through college on those shirts.  And we loved them -- they looked great, and I wore mine for the better part of a decade. 


nirvines88

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Re: Teachers - How are you speeding up your journey to FIRE?
« Reply #19 on: June 05, 2015, 07:17:47 PM »
One of my "side hustles" is public high school coaching, which I enjoy 85% of the time.  Interestingly enough, at $2 an hour or so, it's actually slowing down my eventual FIRE date!  Below are some ones that are actually helping or have helped:

Currently doing:
-Tutor ($50 an hour, usually once a week for a couple hours)
-Renting out my spare bedroom ($450/mo.)

Things I used to do:
-Babysit
-Ref
-Help an older dude with his real estate and investments