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Dear Teacher, This Is Why You Are Broke

Globally, the main challenge that teachers still deal with and complain of is low pay. Despite their strikes, activism, and advocation, this doesn’t seem to change, except those that are part of different private schools that pay quite differently. When the question comes up on why teachers are broke, it is usually blamed on the low pay that they earn from their employers.

However, I partially disagree with that. I believe that they also have a role to play in their welfare and status, and they have the potential to change whatever it is that makes them broke. Here’s why many teachers are broke.

1. One Source of Income

We usually grow up through school thinking that once we get good grades, get a good job, then everything else will be automatically successful. This is wrong. For someone to have financial stability, one needs more than just one source of income.

Be it salary, it is possible for a teacher to teach in more than just one school and get paid, or to resort to other types of income like residual income or even business income.

The main thing is not to become Bill Gates or Warren Buffet, but to ensure financial stability, so that once in a while you can spend on something quite unusual, or stand ready for catastrophe at all times.

2. Full-Time Working

Working as a full-time teacher in one school is a good idea when you think about it on the surface. It means pay raise, it means cutting the costs since you might have all meals from school, or even sleep at the teachers’ quarters. Now, think about it in depth. You shall have no chance to go out there and look at businesses and get inspired to start up their own, you shall not even have time to make new friends and broaden your social network and increase your chances of being connected. So, what’s better in the long run? It’s part-time working.

3. Taking Loans for Necessities

I know that many people, not only teachers, are comfortable operating this way. They get necessities from retail shops for a whole month, and they pay when they get paid at work. It sounds brilliant and reliable especially when one’s lucky enough to be trusted by the shop attendants.

However, this is a far much reluctant lifestyle. One is free to be as much of a spendthrift as possible. You shall have everything you want even though it is expensive or less useful. This means you shall budget less and spend more, making you broke. Instead, you can buy all the food you need for a month in bulk, energy resources, and some bills, so that you can invest the surplus in self-improvement.

4. Lifestyle Inflation

This simply means increasing one’s expenditures after an increase in one’s earnings. This means when one faces a pay raise, they might shift to a better (more expensive) apartment, and buy a more expensive car. Such things that are meant to simply show off one’s status are hard to maintain, therefore costly.

This, however, can be maintained by investing in more avenues through which one can earn more. Set up a new business and start it small. In the long run, all these things will be affordable and less impacting on one’s financial state.

5. Lacking Financial Intelligence

No one in this world is born an investor, a risk-taker, a hard worker, and a successful person. All these are made. Knowledge is gained and is not discriminative to where and when, and the age.

One can gain financial intelligence by constantly attending economic seminars, reading financially educative books like Rich dad Poor dad, Think and grow rich, etcetera. Whenever one reads books like these, one does not remain the same. Even if you are not a reader, there are millions of youtube videos are available to elucidate concepts and equip people with the knowledge they need to make it in the world of business.

6. Fear of Taking Risks

This is common, from paid employees to businessmen. Some people believe that it is by a certain kind of luck that people get rich and that anyone who fails to establish a stable business is unlucky or even cursed. Who wouldn’t fear to be in such a position? It is normal for anyone to tremble at the thought that they might flop, but fear is no reason to fail.

Keep in mind that whether or not you take a step, you will fail. But you only have a chance to learn from failure if you have tried. And when you learn, you get to avoid the same mistakes the next time you attempt.

7. Rushing into Responsibilities

First off, we all have different backgrounds, and this means a difference in status. Many teachers have been sponsored by the government, probably because they came from a humble background. It is much likely that the family might depend on the young adult as the breadwinner.

There seems to be no solution to that, but what can serve as a good start is distancing oneself from their family, so they can send them a small amount at a time. I love Dan Lok’s statement, “be selfish now, so you can be generous tomorrow”.


As Dr. Jordan Peterson stated, ” life is not supposed to be happy or peaceful, but meaningful.” If you make sacrifices today, you shall look back at who you were at this time and you’ll be proud of yourself. So, stop thinking like your students, that life offers holidays and breaks. It’s all about work and sacrifice. What to throw away and what to keep, the choice is yours to make.

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