Teach English Abroad to get out of Debt

Some people spend their entire lives searching for their purpose in this world. I count myself among the fortunate few who have always known what I was intended to do. Although I have ventured down other career paths, I always find myself back at the same conclusion. I was born to be a teacher and have an innate passion for education. However, the American education system fails to pay teachers a livable wage. Many teachers choose to teach English abroad to help them get out of debt.

The Struggling Student

Any college student can tell you that a good education does not come cheap. My scholarships and financial aid covered a large portion of my tuition. However, I was still left with a large amount of debt to settle each semester. I had no desire to take out more loans, so I worked several part-time jobs and pushed myself to graduate early.

I also had the unfortunate luck of graduating the same year as the mortgage crisis. Being a part of the so-called “unluckiest generation” meant we were plagued with the burden of student debt, high unemployment rates, and slow economic growth. I  received a few job offers after graduation, but nothing that offered much hope to get out of debt. The teaching jobs were in the worst school districts and the salaries were on par with fast food workers. There was no possible way I could afford my rent working a single job, let alone build savings.

The Path Less Traveled

I sought advice from my mentors and family, unsure which direction to go. I ultimately decided that it was not in my best interest to accept such a low paying job. Rather than working a full-time teaching job and continuing my part-time side work, I chose to enroll in a graduate program abroad. While this meant accruing more debt in my pursuit of higher learning, I was able to finish my master’s degree in only two years at a fraction of the cost. My post-graduate degree also opened a myriad of doors that led me to other opportunities I had not even considered.

In my final months, I met some foreign exchange students who planned to use their diplomas to teach English overseas. We were all disenchanted with the unfulfilled promises of a college degree. The prospect piqued my interest, but the opportunity, salaries, and benefits packages seemed too good to be true. I had no desire to return to the United States to work a minimum wage job or live in my parents basement. I returned home with a sense of cautious optimism and a burgeoning plan.

Teach English Abroad

I spent months comparing job offers in Latin America, Europe and Asia. I agonized over my decision before I realized it was time to stop dreaming and make it a reality. Ten years later, I can tell you  that it was the best financial decision I have ever made. While some postings are definitely better on paper, many ESL jobs offer competitive wages, free accommodations, flight reimbursements, and national health care.

By comparison, Asia offers the highest salaries with the lowest cost of living. This means you can maximize your savings and pay off your debts without resorting to a diet of instant noodles or a life of social hermitage. I was personally able to pay off all my credit card debts and student loans in my first year living in Taiwan, and have built a healthy nest egg that has allowed me to start planning for a more comfortable future.

Where to Start

The starting salaries for teaching English abroad differ from country to country.  Graduate degrees and certifications also secure better pay. Currently, the highest paying jobs for English teachers are in Japan, China, South Korea, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates. The best paying teaching positions will likely take you to exotic and remote locales, but there are still decent positions in popular tourist destinations like Thailand and Vietnam. Some countries in the Middle East even offer contracts that pay up to $80,000 for only nine months of work if you are brave enough to travel there.

It was a difficult decision to teach abroad, but for me it provided the keys to my financial freedom. Many English teachers only spend a year or two before returning home to find employment, but I have chosen to make a career of teaching English overseas. I have been able to pay off all my debts, save nearly $1,000 each month,  have affordable health care and am rarely required to work more than 30 hours each week. While this may not be an ideal solution for everyone, it provided a clear path out of debt and helped me gain control of my life and finances.

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What is the Average Net Worth of Retirees?

Average Net Worth of Retirees

Average Net Worth of RetireesMany people dream of the day when they will longer  be part of the daily grind. If age were the only requirement, I think it is safe to say most of us would retire as soon as possible.  But how much money should you have saved for retirement before you hang up your work boots? This answer will differ from person to person. The first step is making an honest assessment of your financial situation. An easy way to achieve this is by figuring out your net worth and comparing with others in the same age group here. These figures can provide a clearer picture to help you plan for your future.

What is Net Worth?

If you feel you are ready to join the ranks of retirees, you should have a keen sense of your net worth. It is one of the strongest indicators of your financial status and an important tool to help you reach your retirement goals. You can calculate your personal net worth with some basic math. First, you need to add up the total value of all your assets and your liabilities. Then, subtract your liabilities from your assets to determine your personal net worth.

You should consider all assets, including bank accounts, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, real estate holdings, retirement savings, and partnerships in your tallies. All your debts, loans, and mortgages would fall on the other side of the ledger. This number will either be positive or negative, depending on the amount of debt you have accrued.

The Average American’s Net Worth at Retirement

The three major contributing factors to your net worth are home equity, retirement accounts, and cash savings. According to the most recent figures compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2015, the national median for homeowners over the age of 65 was $201,500. Bear in mind that this figure is limited to households and may not take into account for the homeless or other members of the household who would not qualify as retirees.

Data collected from the Survey of Consumer Finances indicates that the total value of retirees’ assets has nearly doubled in the last 20 years and accounts for a large portion of a retiree’s net worth. However, it also means that they carry more debt due to mortgages. The median net worth of retirees when home equity is excluded drops to $59,780. The majority of the remaining funds are tied to retirement accounts while cash savings only account for a small fraction of a person’s overall net worth.

How Much Should I be Saving?

Most financial planners agree that a good rule of thumb for retirement is to save at least ten times your annual income. This figure may vary based on your lifestyle and spending habits, so it’s wise to sit down with a professional to discuss your options and decide what is best for your circumstances.

For those who are struggling to make ends meet, pay off student loans, and refinance home mortgages, contributing to your retirement funds may seem like a low priority. However, in a society where the future of social security is uncertain and employers offer less comprehensive pension plans, one thing is perfectly clear; it’s never too soon to begin thinking about retirement.

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The Pros and Cons of Investing in Art

Nowadays, a lot of long-term investors are looking to diversify their investment portfolios by investing in unique, different and even exotic assets. Some may prefer to invest in cattle, some in wines, while others may prefer to invest in rare coins or authentic, fine jewels. There is one investment type that is gaining popularity recently and that is artwork. Aside from appreciation in value, you can even show support to artists or even become a stockholder of more classical paintings. However, as with any investment, there are pros and cons of investing in art. 

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