Is Money the Object?

Is Money the Object?
People decide to teach abroad for many reasons. If improving your finances is your main objective, you will do well to remember that it’s savings and not salary that makes the difference.
We’ve created some pages for different nationalities - US and Canadian, UK and Irish,  and Australian and NZ teachers that help them understand how to evaluate the savings potential of a job compared to jobs at home.
It pays to remember that the salary is only part of the equation. You also need to consider:

  • Tax. Depending on the country and your pay, tax can take up to 30 or 40% of your salary.
  • Cost of housing. You may get housing, you may get an allowance or you may get neither. If you get an allowance make sure you know how much of the average teachers housing it covers. 
  • Cost of living. How much you spend will depend on where you go, what’s covered by your school, and your lifestyle. If you eat like a local and don’t do much socialising, you will spend far less, but that’s not why most go abroad. Different things are expensive in different places, such as alcohol in the Middle East or dairy in Asia. You can compare cost of living at home and abroad using tools like Numbeo and Expatistan to get an idea.   
  • Sending money home. If you send money home, you need to consider the volatility of the exchange rates in both currencies – that in which you are being paid and that which you are sending home. 
  • Supporting a family. Teachers with families require more expensive housing (so you may have to supplement) and extra school related expenses for tuition, books, uniform, trips, not to mention more food, transport and social activities. You may need to pay for health insurance and flights for your family and in some countries such as China, this is a significant cost. Make sure you do your sums for each opportunity.

Although it’s easy to focus on salary as a main indicator of savings, it’s not that simple to understand savings.

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