Aarti Tibrewala Darooka, a chartered accountant and MBA, is an entrepreneur and financial literacy advocate. She has over 15 years of combined experience in consulting, advisory and travel industries. A national ranker in CA, Aarti is a published author, who has written a plethora of books for children’s financial literacy for women through her platform, Sthreedhan.
“What do I consider a teacher should be? One who breathes life into knowledge so that it takes new form in progress and civilization.” – Hellen Keller
Teaching is, perhaps, the most important occupation in the whole world. What it is not, however, is the most remunerative. Which is surprising, because what would a world be without teachers? If you go by Dr. Hellen Keller’s words, a world without teachers would be devoid of progress and civilization. And yet, it is a profession taken so lightly by the powers that be that there is no economic incentive to be a teacher or even worse, a good teacher!
So, the onus of being rewarded for doing the most precious job on earth is on the teachers themselves, isn’t it? How do you, as a teacher, feel rewarded for doing your job exceptionally well? With all your heart, soul and all the hours of your life that you can spare? How do you stop feeling shortchanged by a system that cannot survive without you but is not compensating you adequately for doing a stellar job? How do you accept that your need as a teacher go beyond Teachers’ Day cards and roses?
How do you fill in the gap a world in which every person taught to do a job has more incentive to do it well than their teachers?!
In my opinion, while systemic intervention is required and an overhaul of the system would benefits not just the teachers but also the students, the only thing that is immediately in your control is to change your own perspective. And the best way in which teachers can tangibly take themselves out of the martyrs’ list is by taking their financial future into their own hands. When I say this, I don’t imply that teachers should start switching jobs to find greener pastures or go on strike to demand a hike, but that they should change the way they look at the money they do already earn. And this begins by getting rid of the notion that because teaching is a noble profession, teachers cannot and should not talk about money!
Money is not the root of all evil, the lack of money is. Teachers have a right to personal well-being and wealth like anyone else on this earth but the right kind of focus on this is lacking from teachers themselves. If politics, science, art and religion can be the subject of teachers’ discussions around staffroom tables, why can’t investments and savings? Perhaps we can take away the distaste that comes to your mouth when you think about these things in due course of time by doing three things – one, demystifying money matters; two, simplifying the basics of money management; and three, discussing accessible investment avenues.
A key thing that one often overlooks is the importance of creating alternative sources of income. You might say that when your day job takes up the bulk of your time, what scope is there of earning more? And this is where passive income comes into play.
Passive income is any source of income that can be earned without having to put in too much of time or effort to earn it. Examples of passive income include rent, dividends from shares, interest income, annuities from pension plans, royalties from books or other writing engagements, revenue from a YouTube channel, etc. Creating sources of passive income might seem like a challenge right now, but with the right guidance and thought process, it is quite achievable within your means and available time.
What you could try to do is to create a list of things that are possible for you. Do you have an extra property that can give you a rental income? Have you put your savings into a fixed deposit or is the money lying in your savings account? Can you better the return on your FD by moving some of the money into another investment? Do you have a spare car that can be let out to a driver who works with a rental service? Do you have any innate talents that you have ignored through the years that can help you earn some extra money? Take some time out, answer these questions and we can embark on a path to financial without you having to make any noticeable changes to your existing routine.
After all, there’s no better time than now, is there?
This article originally appeared in the TeacherTribe Magazine September 2021 edition.