Keeping Your Eye On The Prize: Redefining Couple Money As A Teacher

(hey... before reading, be sure to check out the episode with Bethany McCamish!)

I recently sat down to talk to Bethany McCamish, creator of the His and Her FI blog where she and her husband are redefining couple money. She received her BFA by majoring in art and minoring in art history. She then went on to get a Master of Arts in Teaching.

Bethany taught 12th grade English using creative writing and film studies to add an artistic twist, and has since segued into teaching photography and graphic design. She recently took a hiatus from teaching to focus on her business, I wanted to know what was behind her original decision to become an educator.

Let’s find out!

I'd love to know how you got into teaching. What led you to the profession?

I'm so passionate about education, it’s always been essential for me, it was a way for me to leave a kind of tumultuous home life, it was a way for me to find a voice of my own.

Why did you leave teaching? Like, were you in the right space for you or not? Or did you just love your business so much that you were propelled into doing that full time?

The stress was high and there was a lot of politics. I wasn't in the right school. My business was growing, and we were going to be moving in the near future. I knew I would be leaving soon anyway. All of those things lined up for me to make the change.

So, I want to go back to your business now. You have a blog where you write about redefining couple money. Will you tell us about that? I'd also like to ask about some of the specific posts that you have on that blog.

I started the blog when I was teaching. It was a push from my partner. He really got into like the financial independence sphere and started talking about how we could retire early. It seemed unreachable to me, especially with teacher salaries as pretty stagnant. The way he first approached me about finances was terrible. There's actually a post on our blog about how not to talk to your spouse about finances. We started the blog as a way to stay accountable, talk about lifestyle choices and discuss our money journey.

You mention financial independence. First, I want to ask you what does that mean to you?

To me, it means that you have enough money. You're financially secure enough to make your own choices about where you work, how much you work, and when you work. It means I have an emergency fund that will cover several months of expenses, and I don't have any student loan debt!

Financial independence means having options and is part of the redefining couple money mindset. We mentioned financial independence and retiring early. Which means your money is under control and you have the option to quit working.

Retiring early can mean a lot of different things to different people.

Totally. Financial independence for teachers doesn't mean quitting, it can look like a lot of different things. You don't necessarily want to fully retire early as a teacher because you'll lose your pension. If you entered the school district in your last few years, it's not going to make a huge difference. But if that's where you dedicated your life, you might just choose to stay on as a sub and work occasionally or have that freedom to make choices.

I'm kind of going back to one of your blog posts here. You wrote about women and their roles in teaching.

You also talked about the effect that leaving early has on your pension. Teachers are required to teach at least five years to get a pension. However, the turnover is somewhat high with most teachers opting out under five years which has an effect on redefining couple money.

What is your favorite blog post touching on this topic that you've done?

One that you mentioned, is called Expectations Of The Female Educator: Injustices In The Teaching Profession. I wrote it because I read, a blog post called Why Teachers Are Walking Out by Seth Nichols.

History is really important for our teacher’s pay gap.

You mentioned that when you became a teacher, you had a very small amount of time to make some very important decisions. Please tell us from your experiences some things you would share with others?

In my State, in the mayhem of starting a new teaching career, you had three or four weeks, to choose a retirement plan. Once you choose a plan, you cannot change your plan. That was pretty terrifying!

I'm going to end with this: Where's your favorite place that you've been?

I would say Peru. I really love South America. Peru was great!

(Haven't listened to Teaching, Side Hustles and Money Talks with Your Spouse yet? The timing is really good right about now to do that!)

OK, quick check in!

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Or... if you find yourself in need of someone who can help you navigate your way through your financial plan, check me out at Wealth of Confidence!

I'd love to help you.

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