A Review of The Wealthy Teacher by Danny Kofke

books

Something Bruno has been saying a lot lately is, “Boomer is not an age, but a state of mind.” A boomer is defined someone who considers measures of success, how things are going in politics by the stock market, their 401k, the gdp, etc. Frequently, he’ll say something along the lines of “boomers gonna boom” when discussing anyone who tends to fall under this category.

I joked last night that I was probably the “boomer” in our marriage. I’m the one who regularly listens to Dave Ramsey, keeps up the excel spreadsheet that charts our progress in paying our student loans, and reads all the personal finance books and websites. Bruno said he didn’t think so, because I don’t think those things are an end in themselves or the ultimate sign of the health of a society.

Anyway – I finished reading another personal finance book the other week. This one specifically written for teachers: The Wealthy Teacher: Lessons for Prospering on a School Teacher’s Salary by Danny Kofke. I thought it was just ok. I like common sense books about budgeting and money — things are fairly obvious, but I like having guidelines written down. This book is good for that, but you could probably find them anywhere else. It also contains its on “baby step” process makes a few divergences, but for the most part is essentially Dave Ramsey for teachers.

For example, he writes, “In most marriages, there is usually someone who is more of a free spirit and the other one is more of the nerd; in my case, I am the nerd.” This is straight out of Total Money Makeover, but Kofke never cites or provides his source. I think this really irked the scholar in me. Provide your citations and sources — this is basically plagiarism, dude! You’re a teacher. Do better.

One thing I thought was helpful from this book that I’m not sure the Ramsey-lit offers is the chapter on retirement. Once again we get into boomer territory. I think it is funny that we still have books that suggest that retirement is an option in the same way as it used to be, or even that it may even be desirable (especially for those of us who are not physical laborers). I don’t envision a retired future for myself playing golf, traveling, whatever. I like the idea of continuing to be productive until the inevitable happens. Most people have zero idea how to spend leisure time even when they work 40-50 hours a week. Do you know happens after retirement? You wait around and then you die.

But I digress. All the above does not mean I do not think you should be responsible and save for the future. Like I said, I’m totally guilty of being the “boomer” in our marriage. The retirement chapter is helpful if you are thinking about where to put your money, especially since most teachers will not have 401ks. It did give me plenty to think about for our plans.

Still — I’m not sure I would recommend this book. I mean it is ok. If you’ve never read a personal finance book ever, it is fine. If you are afraid being a teacher is going to lead you to a life of poverty and just want to be assured everything is going to ok, I think it has its uses in that realm too. But for the most part, it seems like ideas taken from other personal finances gurus and put together for money-interested teachers.

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Big News…We’re Moving to Austin, Texas!

austin, daily life, texas

Along with, you know, the rest of the United States.

I’ve mentioned that I have been traveling and one of my goals for this month was to start down-sizing in order to prepare to move. Well — it is official — Bruno and I will be moving to Austin to teach at a classical high school. It is a big decision. I have never lived further than 2.5 hours away from my family or away from the midwest my entire life. Bruno lived in Dallas for a year. We’ve both lived in Michigan for several years now and have grown attached to a place where we met, dated, spent the first two of our married years, and will have our first baby. We have a good community here, both grad school friends and CrossFitters. Though I think we are excited about everything to come, I think it will be very hard to leave.

Anyway — Texas — we are excited about this new adventure. We flew out to Austin a few weeks ago (during SXSW actually) and though we mostly prepared for our teaching demonstrations and at the school, we did get a chance to do some exploring and most importantly — eat tacos. Sunday we ate at Torchy’s. As I mentioned — I’ve lived in the midwest all my life. I know tacos are a contentious culinary topic in the South and I admit to lacking sophisticated taste, but I tell you what — these were the best I have ever had in my entire life. I already cannot wait to go back and drink the queso.

I also satisfied my brisket craving at Salt Lick in Round Rock. Heaven. Just heaven. I love where I live now, but the amount of restaurants is…well…lacking. Aside for the heat, this will probably be the biggest adjustment — all the opportunity to eat out wherever I like. Not good for the waistline or the budget, but then again — I am growing another human being right now so I ate every bite that was on my platter.

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Belinda Carlisle is right.

Actual Austin exploring mainly took place on South Congress. Luckily – though it was SXSW – we did not have too many crowds. We stopped at Jo’s Coffee and I took the necessary touristy picture in front of the “I Love You So Much” mural. When we stopped by, I did not have to wait in line, but later that day I saw quite a long line to take a picture in front of this mural. That is kind of ridiculous, right?

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All in all — it was a good trip — and I think we could really see ourselves living happily here. One thing I’m excited about is all the outside sitting. We have friends who recently moved down a couple months ago and they took as to Cosmic Coffee + Beer Garden and it was perfect. I loved being able to just sit at a picnic table, eat from food trucks (it was promised to be an “authentic” Austin experience), and just enjoy good conversation with good people.

When we flew out, it was kind of weird to think that when we come back, we’ll come back as a family of three and as residents. I’ll be honest — after living in small town after small town, I never thought I would end up living somewhere “cool”. Then lo and behold, in a couple months we will live in one of the most popular cities in the country (not that I really care about that…it is just kind of amusing to me). Someday Austin will be home and hopefully we love it as much as we love our place here in Michigan. We will leave in July, but in the meantime I’ll be dreaming about queso, packing (this is a marathon, not a sprint), and dreading/looking forward to the day we say good-bye and begin anew.