Educators are invaluable members of society, responsible for shaping the minds of future generations. However, it’s no secret that many teachers struggle financially, as compensation for the profession is generally on the low side. When education funding isn’t particularly generous, educators must be creative in exploring supplementary income sources. Here, we will empower teachers with four ways they can pad their salaries and improve their financial well-being.
Find a Reliable Summer Job
With summer breaks providing ample time off from teaching, many educators search for seasonal positions to make some extra cash. Securing a reliable summer job requires starting your search early and targeting opportunities that align well with your skill set and interests. Keep an eye out for summer camps, tutoring centers, or extracurricular programs in need of instructors. Additionally, reach out to your professional network for potential leads, and remember to emphasize your skills as an educator that make you a valuable candidate. Once you find a summer job you like, you might even consider keeping your summer job into the fall to reap various professional—and financial—benefits.
Start a Side Hustle
Launching a side hustle allows teachers to flex their entrepreneurial muscles while generating additional income. As an educator, consider what unique skills or passions you possess that would translate well into a profitable part-time gig. Maybe you can make money with your hobby by exploring craft sales or freelance writing. Alternatively, you can capitalize on your teacher skills by tutoring, selling teaching resources online, or even starting a blog. Putting your abilities to work in a different context not only boosts your income but also expands your professional experiences.
Capitalize on 401(k)s and Investments
Although not directly tied to salary increases, smart financial planning is essential for future financial relief. Most importantly, make sure that you are maximizing your contributions to your 401(k) or retirement plan. If your employer offers 401(k) matching, invest the maximum percentage—your employer’s matched contributions are effectively a salary increase. Next, research investment opportunities, whether they be stocks, bonds, or real estate deals. You should be investing your retirement account funds in something, but you’re not limited to investing the money in those accounts. If you’re unsure where to begin, consider hiring a financial advisor or seeking resources online (such as Yo Quiero Dinero!) to help you become more financially savvy.
Explore Debt-Relief Opportunities
Educators entering the field may carry significant student loan debt. Researching and taking advantage of debt-relief options can contribute to improving your finances by reducing the burden of these financial obligations on your salary. Loan forgiveness programs for teachers, such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) and Teacher Loan Forgiveness (TLF), may help erase part—or all—of your student loans. Make it a point to explore these options and stay up to date on related governmental policies.
Teachers can pad their salaries and improve their financial outlook in many ways. By pursuing reliable summer jobs, starting side hustles, capitalizing on 401(k)s and investments, and exploring debt-relief opportunities, educators can take charge of their fiscal health. As a teacher, you deserve to be in a strong financial position; implementing these strategies will bring you closer to achieving that goal.