This is the second chapter (part 1 can be viewed here) in our discussion with Danny Kofke, author of How to Survive (and Perhaps Thrive) on a Teacher’s salary. Today’s post focuses on career choices. Not all of us are teachers, but many of us have chosen a profession or made family rearing decisions where fulfillment and satisfaction are higher priorities than earning potential. Can you be happier with less? Danny says
I am very content with my job even though it pays less than a lot of others. Most people go into teaching for the love of helping others and wanting to make the world a better place. The money is not bad, but I think most would agree that teachers do not get paid what they are worth. I do not measure my success in money but rather the contribution I am making to society. I also love my job and look forward to getting up every morning and seeing my students – that to me is priceless!
For them, raising their family was a priority, so they planned ahead for the time that they would be living on only one salary. They discussed this strategy and put it into action early in their marriage:
During the time she worked, we pretty much tried to live off my salary and use hers to pay-off any debt that we had and set up an emergency fund. We never really went out and spent a lot of money because we knew if we wanted her to stay home and me to stay in the classroom, we really had no choice but to be frugal from the start.
This decision is directly related to the happiness that Danny and his family experience. Here is his attitude about it:
I get to go to a job that I love and my wife gets to raise my children – that to me is worth a million dollars. The thing is we can afford what many others have but choose not to buy these items. Maybe one day down the road, I will drive a Lexus and/or have a big boat, but I know that Ava and Ella will be 4 and 1 only once and we will never get this time back. Having Tracy stay home and spending time with them is much more important than trying to have what others do. There are some people that have a lot of items but are up to their eyeballs in debt. I would never want to trade places with them and feel the stress they must be feeling.
I find Danny’s perspective on this encouraging. I know people with mountains of debt. They have a lot of cool stuff, but after the initial high of the purchase is gone, I don’t think they are any happier at all. There is always the next thing to buy.
Next time – Small Expenses add up – How Living Frugally increases happiness!
You can find out more about Danny Kofke and his book at his blog: http://www.dannykofke.blogspot.com/
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