10 month vs 12 month pay checks

You finally get the phone call offering you a position as a full time teacher! Now you need to come in to the central office building to do “onboarding” (or official hiring). You will have some major decisions to make on your onboarding day, so be ready. The first one is whether to have your paychecks split over ten months (in some cases nine) or twelve months. Here are some things to consider:

What about taxes?

Particularly this time of year, your mind might do directly to taxes. How will the two different options impact your taxes? The good (or bad) news is that there are no major tax implications behind either option. Your taxes will be the same either way, so no help decision making there.

What about investing?

Some argue that by taking your paycheck over 12 months instead of 10 you are giving your school district an interest free loan because they get to keep some of the money they would have paid you during the school year until the summer time.

If you choose 10 month pay checks and you are going to invest the “extra” money that you receive each month, then good for you to have the wearwithal to set aside money each month to invest, but I rarely see this happen (actually, I’ve never known someone to do this). This also necessitates that you don’t invest so much that you are left with nothing to live on in the summer when you don’t have a pay check coming in (or that you are comfortable pulling out short term investments in the summer).

If you think you are going to get ahead by saving that “extra” money consider your interest rate. According to the FDIC, the national average interest rate on savings accounts currently stands at 0.09%. Maybe you’ll make a couple pennies more by the summer time if you take your money upfront, but probably not enough to buy a tub of ice cream.

Having paychecks in the summer

If you fear you might spend your money if you have it earlier and end up with an anemic bank account come July, the 12 month option is a no brainer.

Not to mention, if you get used to living on your 12 month salary and then you work summer school or some other job in the summer you can use that extra money to save and invest.

What I do

All fourteen years of my teaching career I have chosen the 12 month option and I’ve never regretted it. I am good saver, so I’d be fine going with the 10 month and saving for the summer (and I’m well beyond the paycheck to paycheck era of my life), but to tell the truth, it just makes me smile to see a paycheck go into my account while I’m laying on the beach in the summer.

Ultimately it’s a personal choice

You do what it best for you, but if you’re unsure, I’d recommend going with the 12 month paycheck option.

Here are some more things to consider before day 1 in the classroom

To do list for the summer before your first year teaching

Recommended reading for future/new teachers

7 Morning routine MUSTS for new teachers

You’ve signed a teaching contract. Now what?

How to create an Amazon wish list

I recommend reading Brené Brown

Keeping track of parent contact

Students AND teachers need mindful moments

Or Start Here to check out my posts curated by theme.

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A Teacher's Guide

I am a National Board Certified educator currently teaching in Virginia. I have taught the following: English 9, 10, 11, and 12 (on academic, collaborative, and honors levels); Dual Enrollment English; Mass Communications, Yearbook, Newspaper, and Communications Technology. I have experience in five different school systems, four in Virginia and one in Maryland. I served as my school’s 2019 Teacher of the Year and was a top five finalist for the Teacher of the Year for Virginia Beach City Public Schools. I am passionate about recruiting and retaining quality educators in our public schools. Let me help you find your path to changing lives through teaching!

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6 Responses

  1. That depends very much on where you work. A teacher starting out might make between $3,000 and $4,000 a month depending on location.

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