Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

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Bob Sacamano
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Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by Bob Sacamano » Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:12 am

just curious if anyone knows of any advantages to having a teacher for a spouse.

i would say the insurance, time off and pension are benefits. any others that i am missing.

i've read some folks were able to take more risks in their career knowing their spouse had a steady and, depending on region, relatively well-paying career.

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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by Sandtrap » Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:15 am

Depends on the spouse?
Career compatibility?
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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by 02nz » Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:17 am

Many teachers have access to both a 403b and 457b plan, so potentially 38K/year of tax-advantaged space. If the plans are low-cost (many are not), that space can be very valuable, e.g., for a high earner married to a teacher.

But surely this isn't the way people decide on a spouse ...

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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by dm200 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:19 am

Bob Sacamano wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:12 am
just curious if anyone knows of any advantages to having a teacher for a spouse.
i would say the insurance, time off and pension are benefits. any others that i am missing.
i've read some folks were able to take more risks in their career knowing their spouse had a steady and, depending on region, relatively well-paying career.
Yes - a lot, in my opinion and observation ..

Not necessarily in order of importance -

1. Most teachers have most of the summer off. With children, this can be great being off at the same time as children. Same with holidays, spring and holiday breaks.

2. In some cases, daily schedules are "better" for late afternoon child care.

3. Public school teachers usually have a defined benefit pension plan - which has nearly disappeared from the private sector.

4. Usually, but not always, benefits - such as health insurance, are very good

5. Some areas have very well compensated public school teachers, while others are terrible.

6. On average, my opinion is that job security is high or very high. This may not be true in those areas where school population is shrinking.

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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by 8foot7 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:21 am

My ex-wife was a teacher. I would say the advantages are that if your spouse can finagle teaching the same thing year after year that it becomes a fairly simple (not necessarily easy, but simple) job without a lot of change. Summers off, of course, if you're not year round. The insurance here was good but I understand now it has deteriorated quite significantly. Our state's pension is very well funded but our teacher salaries are not great, so you really have to make a career out of teaching for the pension to be worth a substantial amount. It is a stable job unless you are truly the worst teacher in a school for years at a time, and even then you are more likely to be reassigned to the media center or computer lab than truly fired.

Plenty of disadvantages: while you get summers off, during the year the schedule is rigid and taking off for vacations or really anything over a day long absence is really frowned upon. The pay is not great so you really have to work smartly to not find yourself making effectively minimum wage. The hours are interesting - my ex worked generally 6:45-4, although I think she could have left at 3. Sometimes parents suck. Bureaucratic administration stuff can sometimes be bad, but really every job has some element of that. If you have more than two kids under kindergarten age, the cost of daycare can exceed a teacher's take-home pay, which makes you really wonder what the hell the point is. And so on.

On balance two teachers with over five years experience each here in NC can make almost $100k together working 10 months of the year, so I don't think it's the worst lifestyle ever. Particularly outside of our large metro areas, a family of four or five can live well and comfortably on 100k/year with a lot of flexibility.
Last edited by 8foot7 on Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:23 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by dm200 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:21 am

02nz wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:17 am
Many teachers have access to both a 403b and 457b plan, so potentially 38K/year of tax-advantaged space. If the plans are low-cost (many are not), that space can be very valuable, e.g., for a high earner married to a teacher.
But surely this isn't the way people decide on a spouse ...
Some folks do this, while some others (with 20/20 hindsight) wish they had done so.

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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by HomeStretch » Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:22 am

There may be some state taxation benefits to a teacher’s pension income depending on the state and pension plan.

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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by dm200 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:24 am

The pay is not great so you really have to work smartly to not find yourself making effectively minimum wage
.

The level of public school teacher compensation, in my opinion, varies greatly in different jurisdictions.

One measure, in my opinion, of such teacher compensation, is how many applicants there are for teacher positions vs. the number of openings.

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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by stoptothink » Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:27 am

My stepfather is a teacher, although it isn't financially lucrative I'd say his career has been a major boon for them. My stepfather is blind due to diabetic retinopathy, which would have forced him into retirement from almost any other career. It is insane how much the school has bent over backwards to allow him to continue working and he actually works significantly less total now (with same pay). In fact, they still pay him to be an assistant for the football team although he literally contributes nothing because he can't see. Furthermore, because of the amazing benefits, his countless eye and foot surgeries (he's likely to lose his leg soon) and other medical needs have not been a financial hardship.

Him not being a "go-getter" or having motivation to excel and progress at work was a significant issue early in their marriage, but now that he has so many health issues it has actually been a blessing because he still contributes a paycheck although he is extremely limited in what he can do.

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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by dm200 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:28 am

HomeStretch wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:22 am
There may be some state taxation benefits to a teacher’s pension income depending on the state and pension plan.
It is also very common that retired public school employees receive health insurance benefits - even after they become Medicare eligible. A very large neighboring county, for example, provides school system retirees with a Medicare Advantage plan (with a great network) at no fees - and, unlike regular MA plans, covers just about all care - no copays. Over time, especially for those with medical/health issues, this is a very large financial benefit.

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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by retire2022 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:30 am

Op

Here is thread which relates to teachers

Also both 403b & 457 combined limits are 38K of total contributions if a teacher are able to save that much.

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=285747
Last edited by retire2022 on Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by 8foot7 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:31 am

dm200 wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:28 am
HomeStretch wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:22 am
There may be some state taxation benefits to a teacher’s pension income depending on the state and pension plan.
It is also very common that retired public school employees receive health insurance benefits - even after they become Medicare eligible. A very large neighboring county, for example, provides school system retirees with a Medicare Advantage plan (with a great network) at no fees - and, unlike regular MA plans, covers just about all care - no copays. Over time, especially for those with medical/health issues, this is a very large financial benefit.
This +1. In NC it used to be that any teacher with 5 years service automatically qualified for health insurance after age 65 at the state's total expense. The rule has since changed, obviously, but she was able to qualify. That's a real benefit given it could be $20k a year.

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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by bsteiner » Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:36 am

8foot7 wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:21 am
... two teachers with over five years experience each here in NC can make almost $100k together working 10 months of the year, so I don't think it's the worst lifestyle ever. Particularly outside of our large metro areas, a family of four or five can live well and comfortably on 100k/year with a lot of flexibility.
With a master's degree and enough years of service one teacher earns more than $100,000 a year in NYC, and even more in the suburbs, but can't live comfortably on it (though two teachers in that situation can live comfortably).

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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by Bob Sacamano » Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:41 am

8foot7 wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:21 am
The pay is not great so you really have to work smartly to not find yourself making effectively minimum wage.
my wife makes right around $100K as a teacher. we're in a HCOL but still, not bad.

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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by wolf359 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:41 am

dm200 wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:19 am
Bob Sacamano wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:12 am
just curious if anyone knows of any advantages to having a teacher for a spouse.
i would say the insurance, time off and pension are benefits. any others that i am missing.
i've read some folks were able to take more risks in their career knowing their spouse had a steady and, depending on region, relatively well-paying career.
Yes - a lot, in my opinion and observation ..

Not necessarily in order of importance -

1. Most teachers have most of the summer off. With children, this can be great being off at the same time as children. Same with holidays, spring and holiday breaks.

2. In some cases, daily schedules are "better" for late afternoon child care.

3. Public school teachers usually have a defined benefit pension plan - which has nearly disappeared from the private sector.

4. Usually, but not always, benefits - such as health insurance, are very good

5. Some areas have very well compensated public school teachers, while others are terrible.

6. On average, my opinion is that job security is high or very high. This may not be true in those areas where school population is shrinking.
The Millionaire Next Door noted that teachers (or having a spouse who was a teacher) tended to achieve millionaire status. One of the reasons they cited was that teachers ran in peer groups that did not frown on them being frugal. Everyone knows that teachers don't make much money, so nobody expects them to drive a BMW to work. A high earner who is married to a teacher faces less societal pressure to spend.

Dr. Stanley's specific statement was that of the millionaires he profiled in his original book, half of the wives did not work outside the home. The number one occupation of the wives that did work was teacher.

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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by Bob Sacamano » Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:45 am

the only true negative i have found is that it makes it very difficult to move regionally. as in, it makes it more difficult for the non-teaching spouse to career climb and sort of narrows the job search radius.

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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by just1question » Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:47 am

Financially, the benefits noted above, including job security, health benefits, and (mostly) pension. Pay also isn't bad.

Personally, and much more importantly, it's nice to come home at night to someone with stories about helping children. Not that it's all rosy. But usually more interesting than other jobs (can you say lawyer (my job)). Despite all of the problems with public education, I believe she loves her job and has no desire to retire. But not all teachers are as dedicated as she is. Also, walking around the community and running into some of her past students who are now in their 20s and 30s (and have kids of their own!) is a blast.

The only major downside is vacation time. Her vacations, not surprisingly, overlap those of most students. So going away off-peak times is difficult. But it's nice having her free during the summers so we can meet for lunch.

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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by smitcat » Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:48 am

Bob Sacamano wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:41 am
8foot7 wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:21 am
The pay is not great so you really have to work smartly to not find yourself making effectively minimum wage.
my wife makes right around $100K as a teacher. we're in a HCOL but still, not bad.
In my experiences the worst problem for a public teacher is the inability to easily move if and when a family opportunity arises.
Around here once you are able to secure tenure it tends to keep you in place.

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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by just1question » Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:53 am


The Millionaire Next Door noted that teachers (or having a spouse who was a teacher) tended to achieve millionaire status. One of the reasons they cited was that teachers ran in peer groups that did not frown on them being frugal. Everyone knows that teachers don't make much money, so nobody expects them to drive a BMW to work. A high earner who is married to a teacher faces less societal pressure to spend.

Dr. Stanley's specific statement was that of the millionaires he profiled in his original book, half of the wives did not work outside the home. The number one occupation of the wives that did work was teacher.
Pretty consistent with my wife. Frugal may be overstating it, but she's definitely not flashy or high maintenance. I think most of her co-workers are the same way, although there are exceptions. I never really drew the correlation before. Interesting. I should probably read the book. After all, I've read just about every other book on personal investing offered at the public library.

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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by 123 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:55 am

Many of them are quite attractive/handsome.
Last edited by 123 on Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Bob Sacamano
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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by Bob Sacamano » Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:55 am

smitcat wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:48 am
Bob Sacamano wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:41 am
8foot7 wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:21 am
The pay is not great so you really have to work smartly to not find yourself making effectively minimum wage.
my wife makes right around $100K as a teacher. we're in a HCOL but still, not bad.
In my experiences the worst problem for a public teacher is the inability to easily move if and when a family opportunity arises.
Around here once you are able to secure tenure it tends to keep you in place.
yep, same. luckily we're in an area (NYC) where jobs abound, but it does make it next-to-impossible to move and ties us to an UHCOL region!

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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by Carefreeap » Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:58 am

Bob Sacamano wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:45 am
the only true negative i have found is that it makes it very difficult to move regionally. as in, it makes it more difficult for the non-teaching spouse to career climb and sort of narrows the job search radius.
I think that's true with almost any trailing spouse. The ability to find work however wouldn't be affected. There's generally a need for teachers in most communities and to a lesser extent, tutors and the like if money isn't the driving factor. I've known plenty of (mostly) women who followed climbing spouses to overseas posts and found some kind of teaching work.

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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by stoptothink » Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:02 am

Carefreeap wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:58 am
Bob Sacamano wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:45 am
the only true negative i have found is that it makes it very difficult to move regionally. as in, it makes it more difficult for the non-teaching spouse to career climb and sort of narrows the job search radius.
I think that's true with almost any trailing spouse. The ability to find work however wouldn't be affected. There's generally a need for teachers in most communities and to a lesser extent, tutors and the like if money isn't the driving factor. I've known plenty of (mostly) women who followed climbing spouses to overseas posts and found some kind of teaching work.
My stepfather followed my mom from California to Arizona to Texas, back to Arizona and now Utah as she moved with her career (she's the breadwinner). He's never been out of work. In fact, I believe the current school district gave him all his prior years of service (in 3 other states) towards his pension when they moved here 6 years ago.

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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by goodenyou » Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:09 am

123 wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:55 am
Many of them are quite attractive/handsome.
Teachers with benefits. :D
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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by NerdicSkier » Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:11 am

Mrs. Nerdic Skier works in a school system and for us a huge benefit is that she has the same daily schedule and vacations/holidays as the kids. Saved lots of aggravation and cost. Benefits are amazing, but wages not so much. Large opportunity cost also compared to possible other careers, but we chose for her to be a stay at home mom before that so it's still an improvement financially!

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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by Goal33 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:12 am

The good benefits (health, vision, dental) are mostly a myth. When my wife was a public school teacher we waived all her benefits and just elected for mine (publicly traded tech company)
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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by dm200 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:13 am

Goal33 wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:12 am
The good benefits (health, vision, dental) are mostly a myth. When my wife was a public school teacher we waived all her benefits and just elected for mine (publicly traded tech company)
Probably varies greatly by jurisdiction.

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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:18 am

In MA, teachers can attend state universities free of charge. If they complete a higher degree, they get an instant raise. I've been in private companies all of my life and have worked to get 3 degrees. Each time, I received no raise whatsoever and my only path to being paid more was to leave and find a new job where I could use the higher degree on my resume to help justify a higher salary.
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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by simplex » Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:20 am

Frugality is a possibility, as described above, for sure. But burnout and "retail therapy" also seem a possibility. Varies by the individual.

If kids are in the future, I see four massive benefits to marrying a teacher.

1. It gets the family at least one expert child-rearer. If the other parent has no experience with kids, the in-house pro is a big help. Not only are disciplining, patience, and observation part of any teacher's practice, but teachers are aware of the range of normal, so they can flag either developmental delays or special talents better than non-teachers. (And conversely, reassure a paranoid spouse!)

2. Teachers also can see the trends of kids older than their own, and can adjust accordingly -- what video games or movies correlate with what kind of kids, when kids can start biking to school alone, which swim club is kinda brutal, which helicopter (or negligent) parenting norms create problems at school, where the teen mischief goes on.

3. It's easy to find and vet babysitters (if the school allows the teacher to hire their own students).

4. Finally, if the children enroll in the teacher's own school, the family has some leverage regarding placements, and inside knowledge on the kids' peers and their own colleagues.

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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by jnightingale73 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:26 am

Goal33 wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:12 am
The good benefits (health, vision, dental) are mostly a myth. When my wife was a public school teacher we waived all her benefits and just elected for mine (publicly traded tech company)
That's what my teacher wife does as well. She gets paid a lump sum for waiving her benefits and using mine (also a publicly traded tech company).

The pension someday, however, will be nice to have.

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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by daheld » Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:32 am

Bob Sacamano wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:12 am
just curious if anyone knows of any advantages to having a teacher for a spouse.

i would say the insurance, time off and pension are benefits. any others that i am missing.

i've read some folks were able to take more risks in their career knowing their spouse had a steady and, depending on region, relatively well-paying career.
You have to understand that in most places, every single district acts completely independently. You are probably not from a rural area, but I am. Some districts are well run and others are very poorly run. My mom has taught for nearly 40 years, all but 3 of which have been in the same district. It was not uncommon for health insurance options to change yearly, sometimes in the middle of a school year. For many school district employees, health insurance has become unaffordable.

You're right that in a lot of places, a reliable pension is a huge benefit. My mom never made a ton of money, but my parents are frugal people who saved wisely and the ability to retire with 80% of your high 3 salary is an enormous benefit.

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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by dm200 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:41 am

Not sure if this is an advantage or disadvantage - but some (certainly not all) female elementary school teachers treat their husbands like he is a "child".

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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by C4NT » Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:43 am

I teach at a state college, and one small thing that is nice is that we have time off at the same time. For instance around Christmas and New Years we both (kids and I) have a couple of weeks off. My wife who works for a private company usually only has Christmas and New Years Day off, thats it (unless she takes PTO).

I teach and do research in the summer, so I don't have that time off with the kids.

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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by stoptothink » Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:44 am

dm200 wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:13 am
Goal33 wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:12 am
The good benefits (health, vision, dental) are mostly a myth. When my wife was a public school teacher we waived all her benefits and just elected for mine (publicly traded tech company)
Probably varies greatly by jurisdiction.
My stepfather's benefits are significantly better than those offered by any employer I or my wife has ever had.

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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by Wellfleet » Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:46 am

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:18 am
In MA, teachers can attend state universities free of charge.
Do you have more information? Never heard of this.

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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by dm200 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:48 am

Usually, the education costs for public school teachers may be lower if he/she goes to a state college/university. Student debt, then, may be zero or low.

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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by Hulu » Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:02 am

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:18 am
In MA, teachers can attend state universities free of charge. If they complete a higher degree, they get an instant raise. I've been in private companies all of my life and have worked to get 3 degrees. Each time, I received no raise whatsoever and my only path to being paid more was to leave and find a new job where I could use the higher degree on my resume to help justify a higher salary.
Does that mean teachers in MA can get their Masters for free? Do you know if there’s a name for this program? And what the raise % is?

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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by Bob Sacamano » Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:28 am

stoptothink wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:02 am
Carefreeap wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:58 am
Bob Sacamano wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:45 am
the only true negative i have found is that it makes it very difficult to move regionally. as in, it makes it more difficult for the non-teaching spouse to career climb and sort of narrows the job search radius.
I think that's true with almost any trailing spouse. The ability to find work however wouldn't be affected. There's generally a need for teachers in most communities and to a lesser extent, tutors and the like if money isn't the driving factor. I've known plenty of (mostly) women who followed climbing spouses to overseas posts and found some kind of teaching work.
My stepfather followed my mom from California to Arizona to Texas, back to Arizona and now Utah as she moved with her career (she's the breadwinner). He's never been out of work. In fact, I believe the current school district gave him all his prior years of service (in 3 other states) towards his pension when they moved here 6 years ago.
Whoa. That sounds quite rare. Is there any list of states with reciprocity?

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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by thankyouverymuch » Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:30 am

Just to add to all the other good answers above:

Teachers can be eligible for modest discounts on a wide range of goods and services, for example Apple computers, auto insurance, books, newspapers, office supplies, clothing, travel, etc. Here's one list of available teacher discounts: https://www.giftcardgranny.com/blog/the ... discounts/

Also, there's the $250 Educator Expense Deduction for U.S. Federal taxes: https://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc458

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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by smitcat » Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:39 am

thankyouverymuch wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:30 am
Just to add to all the other good answers above:

Teachers can be eligible for modest discounts on a wide range of goods and services, for example Apple computers, auto insurance, books, newspapers, office supplies, clothing, travel, etc. Here's one list of available teacher discounts: https://www.giftcardgranny.com/blog/the ... discounts/

Also, there's the $250 Educator Expense Deduction for U.S. Federal taxes: https://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc458
Also sometimes with cars - but anyone involved in 'education' can get most all of these discounts as well.

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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by Mickey7 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 12:06 pm

I had to redo my post after re-reading your posts. If the question is whether or not there is a benefit for yourself in having a teacher for a spouse, I would say that the answer would be yes. You could be more of a risk taker in your career knowing that you will have a steady income coming into your family finances. Of course this would be similar to most couples who work and where one has a stable professional job. You also make note that you might be somewhat tethered to the NYC area, because of their job. This no more or less a problem for anyone else who is married.

There are many good posts so far on this subject. I especially liked the comments from 8foot1 and dm200 on benefits as so much depends on your the district and state in which you are working. I retired this year from education after 23 years as a teacher, coach and as an administrator (20+ years in the business world before moving into education) and as such I would like to throw some logs on the fire.

The point of being able to contribute to both a 403b and 457 is spot on as this creates a space for a significant amount of change into tax advantaged space, up to 38k. This does mean that your choices for contribution must be researched. I did mess up mine initially as I was bumbling my way through this until discovering Bogleheads. However it should be noted that by taking the best plan out there, even if it is not the best, can be moved at a later time.

Regarding insurance, if you are thinking of job hopping there is the stability in having your spouse's coverage. This though is an even wash for any other working spouse's plans. Again this could only be measured on what their plan costs and covers.

If you are concerned about their being tethered to an area and that you might want or have to move, that is concern that should be addressed. If your spouse has accumulated enough years into the state pension, they will get some of this back. If you stay in state there is no problem, it will continue to grow if they continue to work there. If you move out of state some states are more generous than others in allowing someone to buy in service time.

The defined benefit pension is a good thing in most states. This should be a consideration in choosing a job for a future move that you want to make. You will need to be cognizant of the fact that if you retire without a defined plan for yourself and will only be collecting SS that your spouse will have to make a choice between their plan and your SS as they will not be able to take both. Read up on this in SS under GPO.

Good luck.

rj342
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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by rj342 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 12:14 pm

Wife retired at 29 year mark from public schools two years ago at age 51.
Drawing pension 60% of high 3 years. This is Alabama so thats fairly modest -- but still a defined benefit very nice to have. State retirement system in pretty good shape compared to many states. I think newer hires can no longer start drawing the pension at 25 year mark however.
Financially would have made more sense for her to work until late 50s if not 62 -- keep adding 2% per year to pension, but she was just getting burned out between worsening students (and parents) and ever more bureaucratic and pedagogical insanity from admin at every level: principals, local school district, state's dept of Education, federal.
Now teaching a few more years in Catholic school -- a good bit less money, but added to her pension she is about $14k ahead. Frustration level now almost non existent.
Some people maximize income by driving across the state line to teach in other state system to get higher public teacher pay on top of the pension, but frustrations would have been similar, and with a commute too.

In our state the teacher pays into SS as well as the pension so she will get both.

Re insurance -- fairly typical in this area is private employer insurance around the $900/month mark for family. We were paying about $325 when she was in public system, and with somewhat better deductibles and copays too. If she was not working where insurance offered, we could be on the pre-medicare retiree health plan for about $700. That is our fallback should we choose to or have to be both retired/semi-retired before medicare, without having to rely on ACA for group coverage. Since we are on my insurance, the alternate retiree benefit is a free *supplemental* medical coverage, so all deductibles and copays from my primary are covered 100%. Once Medicare age there is a very good supplement for retirees. I can still be on plans if she passes first -- but I/we have to be on while she is alive, so we will transition to hers at some point after she stops working full time somewhere. Possibly in interim we would each be on single. Need to weigh savings vs risking losing the guaranteed coverage.

She did get her MS Ed mostly on the systems dime (tuition assist not a permanent benefit) -- and like others the MS is a guaranteed instant increase form there on out. Same thing for an AA even if dont move into admin. Was not worth it to her however.

Others have mentioned the family time, which is about as good as it gets yet still working full time.

One benefit in our school system was tenured teachers could take a whole year off (unpaid) for a birth, and have their slot held for them, guaranteed. Not just a job, but at their same school, same grade, usually same classroom. We used that for our son. I have not noticed anyone else mention that.

One other - if child attends the wife's school, she can pick his teachers (unofficial prof courtesy if not by formal policy), which given her insider knowledge is awesome. We used that for kindergarten and elementary, before he moved to Catholic for middle school and HS.

The rock solid stability was very good for me when at one company with a decade long rollercoaster run.
Last edited by rj342 on Tue Aug 20, 2019 12:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rj342
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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by rj342 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 12:34 pm

dm200 wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:41 am
Not sure if this is an advantage or disadvantage - but some (certainly not all) female elementary school teachers treat their husbands like he is a "child".
Haha -- I've had to stomp on that a few times over the years.
No, I don't have to give you instant obedience.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 12:36 pm

Wellfleet wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:46 am
Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:18 am
In MA, teachers can attend state universities free of charge.
Do you have more information? Never heard of this.
From the few friends and soccer parents who are teachers in town, several have talked about this. I thought this was pretty universal. I know some with Masters working on their PhD. We've had teacher meetings at school (when our kids were younger) where the teacher had a drop dead time because they had to get over to the college for a class.

I do know that State Colleges in Mass are free to those (like me) over 60. The catch is that class sign up is after all fee paying students have completed their sign ups. My retired father in law, who never went to college has been taking one class a semester for a couple years now at Worcester State. He never knows for sure what class he'll be taking until he sees what's still available. It's been completely free for him.
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William4u
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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by William4u » Tue Aug 20, 2019 12:43 pm

8foot7 wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:31 am
dm200 wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:28 am
HomeStretch wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:22 am
There may be some state taxation benefits to a teacher’s pension income depending on the state and pension plan.
It is also very common that retired public school employees receive health insurance benefits - even after they become Medicare eligible. A very large neighboring county, for example, provides school system retirees with a Medicare Advantage plan (with a great network) at no fees - and, unlike regular MA plans, covers just about all care - no copays. Over time, especially for those with medical/health issues, this is a very large financial benefit.
This +1. In NC it used to be that any teacher with 5 years service automatically qualified for health insurance after age 65 at the state's total expense. The rule has since changed, obviously, but she was able to qualify. That's a real benefit given it could be $20k a year.
NC is one of the states that have essentially removed (decent) health insurance as a benefit for teachers. It isn't much better than the insurance Walmart gives its new front-of-store workers. When the NC legislature took health insurance from teachers, one NC state legislator said "The public school teachers are all women anyway, so they should get insurance through their husband." So sad.

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Bob Sacamano
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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by Bob Sacamano » Tue Aug 20, 2019 12:48 pm

Mickey7 wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 12:06 pm
I had to redo my post after re-reading your posts. If the question is whether or not there is a benefit for yourself in having a teacher for a spouse, I would say that the answer would be yes. You could be more of a risk taker in your career knowing that you will have a steady income coming into your family finances. Of course this would be similar to most couples who work and where one has a stable professional job. You also make note that you might be somewhat tethered to the NYC area, because of their job. This no more or less a problem for anyone else who is married.

There are many good posts so far on this subject. I especially liked the comments from 8foot1 and dm200 on benefits as so much depends on your the district and state in which you are working. I retired this year from education after 23 years as a teacher, coach and as an administrator (20+ years in the business world before moving into education) and as such I would like to throw some logs on the fire.

The point of being able to contribute to both a 403b and 457 is spot on as this creates a space for a significant amount of change into tax advantaged space, up to 38k. This does mean that your choices for contribution must be researched. I did mess up mine initially as I was bumbling my way through this until discovering Bogleheads. However it should be noted that by taking the best plan out there, even if it is not the best, can be moved at a later time.

Regarding insurance, if you are thinking of job hopping there is the stability in having your spouse's coverage. This though is an even wash for any other working spouse's plans. Again this could only be measured on what their plan costs and covers.

If you are concerned about their being tethered to an area and that you might want or have to move, that is concern that should be addressed. If your spouse has accumulated enough years into the state pension, they will get some of this back. If you stay in state there is no problem, it will continue to grow if they continue to work there. If you move out of state some states are more generous than others in allowing someone to buy in service time.

The defined benefit pension is a good thing in most states. This should be a consideration in choosing a job for a future move that you want to make. You will need to be cognizant of the fact that if you retire without a defined plan for yourself and will only be collecting SS that your spouse will have to make a choice between their plan and your SS as they will not be able to take both. Read up on this in SS under GPO.

Good luck.
excellent post. the bolded part of your response is the only true "negative" in our situation. neither of us are in love with our current location, however she is going on 8-years in the NYSTRS. there is a significant benefit (and thus detriment to leaving) at the 20-year mark - and an even greater one at 30.

it's something for us to chew on in regards to considering toughing it out to 20 years at the very least.

i wonder if i can Google a list of states that have favorable reciprocity with NY...

Bayoufrogg
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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by Bayoufrogg » Tue Aug 20, 2019 12:52 pm

Pros:
We sock away 38k/year in her 403b and 457b.
Day care costs go down once kids are in school. Spouse is generally available to be home with them after school.
Holidays and summers off.
Pension Plan
Does not pay into Social Security
Relatively cheap medical insurance (We pay $600/month for great family coverage).
Good teachers have effective tools to keep children disciplined and this rolls over to your own kids.

Cons:
GPO will offset my Social Security survivor benefits paid to her upon my death.
Lot of work done at home grading papers, making lesson plans, etc.
Last edited by Bayoufrogg on Tue Aug 20, 2019 1:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jnightingale73
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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by jnightingale73 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 12:58 pm

thankyouverymuch wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:30 am
Just to add to all the other good answers above:

Teachers can be eligible for modest discounts on a wide range of goods and services, for example Apple computers, auto insurance, books, newspapers, office supplies, clothing, travel, etc. Here's one list of available teacher discounts: https://www.giftcardgranny.com/blog/the ... discounts/

Also, there's the $250 Educator Expense Deduction for U.S. Federal taxes: https://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc458
Unfortunately my wife spends way more than the $250 deduction for her classroom!

But the auto and home owners insurance discounts come in handy.

MathIsMyWayr
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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by MathIsMyWayr » Tue Aug 20, 2019 1:03 pm

dm200 wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:19 am
Bob Sacamano wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:12 am
just curious if anyone knows of any advantages to having a teacher for a spouse.
i would say the insurance, time off and pension are benefits. any others that i am missing.
i've read some folks were able to take more risks in their career knowing their spouse had a steady and, depending on region, relatively well-paying career.
Yes - a lot, in my opinion and observation ..

Not necessarily in order of importance -

1. Most teachers have most of the summer off. With children, this can be great being off at the same time as children. Same with holidays, spring and holiday breaks.

2. In some cases, daily schedules are "better" for late afternoon child care.

3. Public school teachers usually have a defined benefit pension plan - which has nearly disappeared from the private sector.

4. Usually, but not always, benefits - such as health insurance, are very good

5. Some areas have very well compensated public school teachers, while others are terrible.

6. On average, my opinion is that job security is high or very high. This may not be true in those areas where school population is shrinking.
Besides the financial reasons, a spouse teacher at college levels, i.e., a professor, has a distinct advantage of flexible time commitment. Though they might spend more time on work-related activities overall than regular workers, they are not bound to a fixed time schedule besides classes they teach, infrequent meetings and certain mandatory office hours of several hours a week at most. They are not bound to the typical 9-5. They can also negotiate teaching schedule. Such time flexibility lets them easily attend family obligations. Some professors live out of state and establish two residences. Long weekends make no difference to them.

rebellovw
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Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

Post by rebellovw » Tue Aug 20, 2019 1:05 pm

Not if your wife teaches special ed - that is a rough job to support someone with.

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