It is on all international school teachers’ minds. How am I helping to contribute to my future now (for when I retire/stop working) as a current teacher in the international school community?
Not that everything is all worry-free if you just stayed teaching and earning money in your home country, but living and teaching abroad can sound pretty risky to some people (maybe even many people).
If you are working at an international school that has an amazingly high salary with equally amazing benefits, then that is one story. Even if this type of school doesn’t actually offer a nice retirement plan benefit, you still have the opportunity to save a lot of money.
But if you are working at an international school and receiving a salary that helps you ‘just get by’ along with very average benefits (for example, there is not a retirement plan benefit that is on offer to you), then international school educators need to consider if the experience working at this type of international school is a good fit for their future plans.
Does an international school that doesn’t offer a retirement or pension plan benefit immediately equate to being a bad decision for your future? Not necessarily. If you are only planning on staying there for one to two years, then it shouldn’t make that big of a difference. If you receiving a high salary along with paid housing, not having an established pension plan benefit shouldn’t make that big of a difference because your savings potential is high. Hopefully, you have a laser-focused investment plan for all of that money saved.
But for those of us that are not so smart with money and don’t have the expertise to manage our own savings/retirement plan, it can definitely not bit a good fit to accept a teaching job at a school that doesn’t offer retirement plan benefits.
We did a keyword search on our Comment Search feature and found a number of comments related to international schools that don’t offer a retirement or pension plan benefit.
Amman Baccalaureate School (16) Total comments
“No retirement plan right now is on offer as a benefit.”
Canadian International School (Tokyo) (93) Total comments
“No retirement plan for teachers.”
International School Ho Chi Minh City (93) Total comments
“Unfortunately there is no retirement plan.”
Zhuhai International School (121) Total comments
“There are no pension plans from the school (included in the contract) although if you wished to establish one the office staff would be able to assist you in establishing one.”
Varee Chiang Mai International School (117) Total comments
“There is no pension provision, but an end-of-contract gratuity is awarded in lieu.”
Stamford American International School (307) Total comments
“There is no pension, but this means you can invest your money as you see fit. There is a 15% allowance that is paid monthly with your salary. This is “in lieu of CPF” which is paid for Singaporeans and PR.”
On the more positive side, we had a quick search for this key phrase “matching” (30 comments) hoping to find comments related to international schools that match the pension plan contribution of the teachers.
Here are a few of those comments:
American International School Vienna (81) Total comments
“Under the newest contract, teachers now have 10% matching for retirement fund commencing at first year. Certainly better if you’re there short-term, though perhaps not if you’d plan to stay 30 years.”
Hong Kong International School (151) Total comments
“I spend a lot of money here because I love to do eat out a lot, travel, and there are many things to do in the city. With that being said, I save about 1,300 USD a month, not counting the school severance/matching scheme which is another 1,300 USD.”
Cairo American College (196) Total comments
“The pay continues to be good. There is now a higher matching for retirement. The cost of living is still very inexpensive in Egypt.”
It is sad to say goodbye. Even more so when you are an international school teacher. Goodbye new country, goodbye new teacher-friends, goodbye new local friends, goodbye the excellent local cuisine and your new favourite restaurants, etc. And let’s not forget….goodbye to some of your possessions.
At this time of year you already know the teachers for whom it will be their last year working at your current international school. There is almost a stage of denial that you go through. You don’t want them to leave for many reasons, some personal and some work-related. On the other hand, you might be quite content with them leaving!
Whether you want them to go or not, international school teachers have to plan and think about a lot of things when they decide to leave an international school.
Selling your things: Some international schools have an end-of-the-year flea market where leaving parents and teachers can bring their stuff to sell. What a great way to get some money for the things you won’t be taking with you. If there isn’t an organized flea market, some international school teachers use Facebook and Craigslist-type websites to sell their things. You can also get in contact with the new hires that will be arriving in the fall to see if there are a few things that they would like to buy…as there will be probably many things that they will need.
Giving away your things: Sometimes it is not worth the ‘hassle’ of trying to find people to which to sell your things. In the international school teaching community where you’re at, you will always find others that will take your unneeded things! One time I received 2-3 boxes of things (that I didn’t ask for) from a parting teacher, and there were some really nice things! Also, it is fun to give away your things, and it leaves a little bit of you with them. One time I took out all the artwork in all the frames in my apartment. Then I had my good friends choose a favorite picture that I had taken during my time there. I blew up the chosen pictures and put them into my frames (can’t always take big frames with you when you move anyway!). It was a nice gift to give to them as it came closer to my last couple weeks before my official moving date.
Taking your things with you: If you are lucky, your next international school will have some shipping benefits. You can use that money to send most of your personal belongings to your next location. Some international schools don’t have that benefit though, so make sure to get all the details. If you are even luckier, your current school will also have some shipping benefits for leaving teachers as well (Double the money!). Sometimes international schools have a date that if you formally resign before that date, you will be eligible to receive another baggage/shipping allowance. In the international school teaching world, it appears it pays to plan ahead then. I have never used a formal, professional moving company, but many do. At first, it doesn’t seem like you have a lot of things to move (especially if you are living in a furnished apartment), but then as you start packing, the number of boxes always always seem to multiply!
We have a comment and information topic (in the Benefits tab section on all of our school profile pages) directly related to shipping/moving allowance. It is called “Detailed info about flight, shipping and settling-in allowances. Any other benefits (e.g. free lunches, etc.)?
Here are some other example comments and information that our members have submitted in this topic:
“You get up to 2000 Euros to use for a moving allowance. You also can get 2000 Euros (interest free loan) if you need some extra money for a “settling-in allowance”. No flight allowance, though the school does pay for your first flight there. (1000 USD for people in Europe and 1500 USD for overseas hires).” –
“Moving allowance is around 450 Euros. They will pay for your airfare to get there, but there is no annual flight allowance. The school gives you a lunch allowance as well, around 126 Euros a month.” –
“Moving allowance provided is 1200 USD for singles and 2300 USD for teaching couples.” –
“The school pays for your flight, visa costs and a shipping allowance of 500USD…but no shipping allowance when you leave. You also can pay for lunch at a nominal cost. Tuition is covered for two dependents but you still have to pay for transportation and food costs which is approximately 230,000 COP per month.” –
If you know about the shipping and baggage allowance details of the international school you currently work at or have worked at in the past, log-on today to share what you know! For every 10 submitted comments and information, you will automatically receive one free month of premium membership added to your account.continue reading