Financial planning for English Teachers


Financial planning might sound boring but you’ll be glad you took some time to get on top of it once you are in Barcelona. 

English teachers normally have various sources of income, as they usually work for more than one company and do private lessons. However, the work tends to be seasonal and schools shut over the holidays, so you’ll need to factor this into your monthly budget.  Some schools offer full time contracts and provide holiday pay, whereas others only offer temporary contracts, meaning no income when you are not working.

Most schools are closed during July, August, for around two weeks at Christmas and for another ten days at Easter. Three months of not earning is guaranteed to put the spanner in any savings or travel plans you may have had. 

So how do you deal with the high season-low season cycle? How do you get back to that dream of working to live rather than living to work?

First, figure out how much you need to earn per month to survive and live as you would like to live. This should cover your rent and bills, your food, phone bill, any other recurring expenses as well as socialising. 

Multiply that amount by twelve months and you have your required annual salary. Now divide it by nine months (assuming you won’t be earning for 3 months of the year). The figure you arrive at is what you need to earn in a month. (Not working for 3 months might seem a bit extreme, but for financial planning it’s always better to plan for the worst case scenario. More than likely you’ll end up doing more private classes or work in a summer camp).

Divide this number by 21 (the average number of working days in a month) and you have the figure you need to earn in a day. 

Now divide this sum by the number of hours you want to / can work in a day and you have your hourly rate. This is what you need in order to live comfortably.

Example calculation:

  • Rent: 550€
  • Phone and bills: 50€
  • Food: 200€
  • Weekend social/entertainment: 400€
  • Savings: 100€
  • Total: 1300€

In one year you need to earn 12 x 1300€ = 15,600€.

If you only work 9 months, you need to earn 15,600€ / 9 = 1733€ per month.

On average, per day, you need to earn 1733€ / 21 days = 82.5€ per day.

If you decide you want to work 5 hours per day, you'll need to set your hourly rate at 82.5 / 5 = 16.5€/hour.

If you want to work less hours, you'll have to increase your hourly rate.

So hopefully you can see, the numbers add up! Working for 5 hours per day (realistic) and earning 16.5€/hour (realistic) you can take a full 3 months off per year (dream come true).

If you want to earn more money, reassess your current schedule. Get your CV out, refresh your advert on superprof or tusclasesparticulares and slowly but surely start replacing the underpaid hours with living-wage hours. 

Take control of your finances now and you could finally spend summer as it should be, carefree and indulgent.

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