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What is your best advice for a newly married couple when it comes to paying bills together?

No matter what you do or how you do it, you should do it together, or at least agree on it together. Pick a day each month when you can both sit down and look at your bills, make some decisions, and pay them.Before I go further into this, there is one area most couples don't think of, and that's savings. Couples and people in general don't think of savings as part of a regular thing like a bill, but it's exactly what it should be. If you wait each month to save what's left over, it'll never work and savings plans will keep getting delayed month after month, year after year. This article is great to understanding the how's, whys and the benefits of savings. Putting aside even 5% every month can really make a difference down the road. To really be prepared, every couple should have a 3-6 month cushion sitting in savings to fall back on.Are You Paying Yourself First? The Money Habit That Can Boost WealthOver time, the amount can go to 10%, or even more if possible. Just remember, that % should be paid first to savings, just like the rent. It will become regular in time and a turn into a really nice surprise a couple years down the road. Okay, back to the bills. This can be done a few different story ways;First, do you have debt, like student debt, credit card debt, or any other debt, if so this site will offer you the best solutions do deal with them and how to pay them off quickly all the while planning for your future. The woman who created this site has her own show "Til debt do us part" adeptly named, but is herself a professional with a background in finance. I suggest this site not only for all its spreadsheets, which can be personalized, its budgeting options, but because financial problems are one of the leading causes of divorce.Gail Vaz-Oxlade|Debt-Free Forever|Resources|Budget|WorksheetIf only one of you works, and is the sole bread winner, then you both still need to be aware of all the monthly bills, fixed or not. Fixed bills are things like rent, utilities, insurance, car payments, debts and so on, plus your savings (only if debt isn't too high). It's easier if your utilities can be done on equal billing too, because this way your costs can be fixed and predictable month to month. Also, decide which way you wish to pay your bills, either online, check or money order making sure you understand the amounts and then take turns monthly to making the actual payments. If you choose to pay with cash, never ever give cash without a receipt. Whatever money is left over will be used towards things like groceries, transportation, and other expenses like date nights, gifts and so on. Before starting, the best thing is to realize and understand what percentage of your net income should be going towards what.Housing - 35%Transportation - 15%Life - 25%Debt - 15%Savings - 10%If you cannot make ends meet using this formula, then you're either living beyond your means and need to cut something out, are spending more in one area than is necessary, or you need to increase your income by geting an extra job. Again, if you're unsure, the above link will really help as it deals with all these scenarios and offers several spreadsheets and various options you can tailor to your finances.As a couple you can choose to split all the bills with your spouse 50-50, however, this approach only works when both parties earn similar incomes. Think about this: If you earn $7,000 a month, your spouse earns $3,000 a month, and your shared expenses come to $3,000 a month, splitting the bills down the middle doesn't make a whole lot of sense. This approach ends with your spouse spending half of his or her income on household expenses while you only spend 20% of your income.A more fair way to split bills is for each spouse to pay a percentage according to how much they make, for instance if one spouse makes 65% of the total household income, that's how much of the bills he or she is responsible for. This strategy will ensure there's enough cashflow to cover household expenses, but allows each spouse discretionary income for personal expenses and building their personal nest egg. You can also choose to do this same formula when setting money aside for joint savings and joint retirement.Once you decide how much each person will contribute, the next step is deciding whether you'll have a single account for shared expenses, or pay your own set of bills from your own personal accounts. There's really no right or wrong way to handle this, it's really up to you to decide what works best for you.With a shared expense account, you both contribute a set percentage and pay all bills from one account. It can work — just know that having a shared expense account means a lot of back-and-forth communication. There has to be enough money in this account at all times to cover your bills, and you must trust that your spouse doesn't take from this account unnecessarily, which can result in insufficient funds and overdraft fees. Best way to avoid this is to pay expenses at the same time, together, and use a joint account with checks requiring both signatures, or doing them online together.If none of these solutions work for either of you, then the only other option which can be effective is deciding which set of bills you're responsible for, and then paying these bills from your own account and visa versa. Under this strategy, each person maintains his or her own separate account and identifies which expenses each spouse will be responsible for, thereby keeping a black curtain over accounts and maintaining maximum financial independence. This however doesn't mean you're out of the loop with regard to expenses you don't pay. Some couples avoid this strategy because they feel financial problems can easily fall under the radar. If their spouse gets behind on a utility payment or the car payment, they will want to know as soon as possible, which is perfectly understandable.So that you don't have any surprises later on, you and your spouse can agree to have your own set of bills, but also agree to manage all shared expenses online. You'll both hold the passwords to these accounts, giving you the freedom to check the payment status of accounts at any time.For my husband and I, we pool our money together into joint accounts. We agreed ahead of times to our budget and savings, and I offered to actually pay the bills the same day every month, online. If something new comes up like a different bill, or an increase, I advise him, show him, and we then adjust our spreadsheet/budget accordingly. He has all the passwords, has equal signing authority on all accounts and can take over any time with ease if I'm unable. We have always had complete transparency in all things.I apologize for the length of my answer, but was hoping to cover most scenarios. I hope it helps.

Why do teachers leave the profession? What do they turn to when they leave? How are individuals who leave teaching perceived?

I'll answer this one in reverse order. I don't think teachers that burn out or leave are looked down upon. More than 70% of the profession burns out in five years or less. Even the survival rate of student teaching is barely over 50% in most teacher training programs. Internally, people who get out are often looked at with a blend of sympathy and just a little envy. Externally, I think the public is often sad to see popular teachers leave, and indifferent to the rest.What do we turn to? Well, that depends on what discipline the teacher is in. I have a good friend who taught physics and engineering. He is now working as an engineer and making bank. I know a person who quit teaching music at a public school and now teaches privately. Math teachers can easily turn to fields such as accounting and business with little difficulty. English teachers such as myself can often find work as writers, editors, and researchers. History people are actually quite popular in the insurance industry and other businesses where strong reading comprehension and ability to identify patterns is useful. Former educators are actually quite in demand in the sales industry because of our ability to break down complicated topics for a general audience. Corporate training is a popular field for former educators. Here's a nice list of some alternatives for educators: Alternatives To Teaching: 20 Companies That Hire Teachers. So, there are a lot of options.Why do we leave? Well, that's a good question with a lot of components to the answer.1. Lack of respect and a public perception that this is "easy." In this country, teachers are looked upon with a mixture of jealousy and contempt these days. I get constant snark from people, including even family members, about "three months paid vacation," and "must be nice to only have to work from 7:30-3:30." A friend who taught kindergarten was told point blank that she had a great job because all she had to do was color and play with kids all day. I've been called a glorified babysitter. After a while, it really burns you up.We still get "teacher appreciation night" at restaurants and the Golden Apple awards and things of that nature, but these days, it often rings hollow when on the other 364 days a year, we're bombarded with calls for reforms to get rid of bad teachers, reports of how US schools are failing and falling behind the rest of the world.2. Public perception that we're failing or that education is "broken," and that somehow, if we educators just worked a little harder, it would solve the problem. In my state, the governor told us that we have great educators, then turned around and issued "reforms" to strip our collective bargaining rights and drain 1.6 billion from state funding to schools. We're expected to do more with less every year, and nobody wants excuses. State test scores show up in the newspaper, and our school sure as hell better not be in last place. Administrators come and observe us once or twice a year, then judge us based on how well little Johnny did on his standardized test. (I'll get to those later.)All of this is laid at our feet because of the concept that teachers are the sole driving factor in student success.Don't get me wrong, a teacher is one of the bigger factors in student success, and a good one makes a huge difference. But there are a hundred other factors that make a big impact as well. Johnny came to school today, but he's more worried about whether or not he'll be able to eat tonight, or if his parents are really going to get divorced, or if CPS is going to take his new baby sister away. Do you think I will really be able to do much about that? And do you think he is really going to be at all focused on learning about prepositions?I have students who would succeed if I stood up there and sang "Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star" for forty five minutes because they have full stomachs and parents who care. I have other students who I could dedicate every off hour to and give half my salary towards and they would still not make it. But, somehow, there is this perception that if I just care enough, if I just worked that much harder, I can make sure every kid will succeed.The fascinating thing about this is that the vast majority of Americans believe that our schools are failing, but when you ask them about their local schools, they almost overwhelmingly will tell you that their local schools are doing a great job. Interesting, indeed.3. Perception that we're getting a sweet ride on the public dime. I don't think any teacher planned on going into the profession to make bank, but we'd like to, you know... eat. Yet, my local newspaper just ran this article about how our local staff is making huge salaries. They averaged administrative pay with teacher salaries and benefits, of course, but it makes it look like most of us are raking in a sweet $86k a year. Back before Act 10 here in Wisconsin, public perception was that we didn't pay into our retirement (not true,) or that we all got full paid health insurance (again, not even close.)In reality, my first teaching contract had me eligible for food stamps and subsidized county housing.My parents, who both have master's degrees and have been in education for more than twenty-five years are making a pretty good living, but I probably won't see that considering my district has been essentially on a wage freeze for five years and when we are able to move up the scale, it's by less than the average of inflation. In five years, I will actually making less adjusted for inflation than I was making when I started.It's not so much that we make a crap salary for what we do so much as the perception that we're overpaid for it. I think if everyone thought of us as making a noble sacrifice, the respect would be worth it. It used to be that way. People used to chuckle to themselves and go, "Well, I'm glad you're willing to do it." Now, jealous people grumble that we're getting a sweet deal while they suffer in a bad economy and go to their politicians and cheer for massive pay cuts for us so that we know what it's like for the average blue-collar worker. Of course, the blue-collar worker doesn't have $30k in student loan debt, but who cares about that, right?4. The hours and lack of time to do what we have to do. Community members grumble that it must be nice to only have to work such short hours with that sweet prep period and all. I mean, we're really doing like, what? Maybe five or six hours with kids in front of us? Sweet deal, right?I am paid like crap because I'm only paid for 40 hours a week, 38 weeks a year. That nice "three months paid vacation" isn't paid. I'm basically laid off three months a year if I don't work summer school.During the year, however, I work an average of a 75 hour work week. I usually stay at school until 4:30-5:00 because I have students that want some extra help with things. This is basically volunteer work for me. That sweet 45 minutes of prep every day barely puts a dent in my grading pile. That pile usually carries me out to 9pm every day when I have set myself a personal rule that I must leave and go home. Thank God I don't have a family to worry about.Add to that the expectation that we'll be coaching or advising things. In my school, we earn "points" for extracurricular things, and since we no longer have seniority, when budget cuts come, the guy with the fewest points loses. Thus, we all take on extra responsibilities that we really don't have time for to survive in this game.During the year, I typically leave home around 6:30am. If I'm lucky, I might get to see home for supper for a few minutes. More often, I grab a Subway meal and head back to the school for another grade-a-thon or wrestling practice or both.No overtime pay, no mercy, and if I don't do it, I'll face the firing squad for lack of "timely feedback on student work," or helicopter parents who demand to know why their kid's eight page paper turned in yesterday isn't in the gradebook yet. (By the way, if you want to enrage a teacher beyond reason, this is a good way to do it.)Add to this that because of budget cuts, our class sizes and student loads are continuously going up. I figure for a teacher to be really effective, we can work with maybe 60 students total at one time. Most teachers on an eight-period day are working with anywhere from 120-150. If it's an overcrowded school, it can be as many as 200 in a day. If I spent just three minutes per student per day on my current student load outside of class, three minutes on a worksheet or paper or helping the kid after class, I add an additional six hours a day to my current day.Then comes "professional development" and "teacher effectiveness evaluation." I'm expected to create a portfolio every five years that includes professional goals and gathering data to prove that I am making progress towards those goals. I am required to create student learning objectives, and then gather data about how students are meeting those goals and reduce it so that some politicians can see at a glance that I'm a good teacher. I'm required to create a different portfolio according to an evaluation model that demonstrates my teaching proficiency in four different domains with about two dozen different aspects. (Mine consumed 44 hours last year during the school year.)I put in more hours before the end of first quarter than most people do in a year, only for some bureaucrats in the state and federal legislatures to tell me they're adding more to the stack. That's a recipe for burnout.5. "Those who can't do, teach." It is only the zen-like ability to remain calm when people say stupid things from my years of classroom management training that keeps me from out and out slapping people when they say this around me.Not only do we have to understand how to do something, but we have to find a dozen different ways to explain it to other people until they are capable at doing it at a level near where we can do it.This phrase should be "those who can't teach, just do."6. We want to have a life and a family. Given all of the above, it's very difficult to have a life outside of school. I've seen a lot of teachers burn out because they start a family and can't balance home and school life. A field where there is greater opportunity to be home can be very appealing.Given all of this, people reading this answer might think, "Man, you're pretty jaded. Why do you even want to stay?"Teaching is like parenting: it's the hardest job in the world punctuated by moments where it's the best job on the planet. The moments when a student realizes something for the first time are pure gold. The success stories give you all sorts of feels. Watching a former student become a community leader or successful performer or a mathematician or start a company and know that you influenced their life is a huge reward. I hold on to every little note my students give me about how I gave them confidence or helped them realize a gift or taught them something new, and when I'm about to quit for the hundredth time this year, I pull that out and remind myself why I am still here.

What do people who live paycheck to paycheck do on payday?

My recommendation is to take a longer term approach with the next paycheck.Write out your annual expenses and income. If this paycheck is typical, multiply it by the number of pay periods in a year to find your annual income; monthly rent times 12; etc.Make a plan for this paycheck that includes saving towards this month’s expenses and the next six months or so of expenses. If you get paid every other week and pay rent every month, save half the month’s rent from today’s check just for rent.Check that your withholding is correct. There is a withholding calculator on irs. gov. With your pay stub in hand, fill out the worksheet.Go to your local library and check out some books on budgeting. Total Money Makeover is a how to book with some good advice for getting ahead of the paycheck to paycheck lifestyle. There are some templates available in the appendix that you can photocopy or use to model your budget using pencil and paper.When I first went back to work after my second child was born I was in the midst of a divorce. I felt like I lived paycheck to paycheck. I was paid weekly. The first week covered my income and payroll taxes. My second paid the health insurance and daycare. My third paid the mortgage and real estate taxes. The fourth paid the lawyer fees. The fifth, which only happens every third month, was for everything else.That only lasted for a year. I was permitted to move and sell the house. I was no longer adding more fees to my legal balance. My children’s childcare costs went down because they got into the next higher kid to teacher ratio classes. I got a raise.Good Luck!

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