What this has also made me realize is money doesn't buy me happiness, but it does buy me ease (i.e. I'm not there for the money, I'm there for the students, but yes, the money pays the bills). In actuality, this entire post is about Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Didn't realize I was going to get theory specific in this, but here we are!
That's something that I actually hear all the time, "You have a Masters degree. Shouldn't you be making more?" You would think, but folks, our system is broken. There's been some milestones for me certainly. As a first-generation college student who came from a working class family, the loans from my Bachelors degree were minimal- approximately $10,000. It was also a big deal that I moved out here on my own and bought a car. Granted, I had to take another loan out for the car, but at 25, I drove it off the lot new. I've also been extremely money conscious since the age of 16. Just this year, I realized what a privilege it was to be taught how to balance my check book that young. My parents were great that way. They really instilled in me the importance of never going in the red but knowing when you're close. And I've been fortunate to never be in that situation. I didn't even get a credit card until I was 24. All this to say, the spending and debt racks up over time, and the anxiety I have about work shouldn't be compounded with the anxiety I have about financially supporting myself.
Of course, moving back to Kansas isn't going to erase my debt, and I'll still be making roughly the same amount of money, but the cost of living will be significantly less. Here are my financial goals for the next 3 years:
- rent my own apartment (which I've never been able to do in Seattle)
- make a major dent in my loans
- travel more
- start saving up for either IVF or adoption
- get promoted and hit the salary range of $40,000-$45,000
Money doesn't buy me happiness, but it does buy me ease. For myself in the present and for the family I hope to have in the future.