Friday, April 10, 2009

Is 1800€/month enough to have a good life in Paris?

A French school teacher was complaining that she doesn't earn enough money to enjoy a good life. She was very disappointed that the government didn't compensate her enough for all the hard works she has put in (3 years of higher education + 1 year preparation for the exam to be a teacher). She is 31 years old, single and has no children. She earns 1800€ net a month, in which 750€ goes to apartment rental. After deducting all the necessary expenses, it leaves her 20€ a day to survive. To reduce her expenses, she brings her own food to work as she considers that the canteen food in her school is too expensive. Information shows that she lives in a popular neighborhood in Paris.

Well, there are two ways to improve her financial situation:
1. Increase the income
2. Reduce the expenses

To increase her income, she could offer to teach in a tuition center, take in private students, do some part time job. To reduce her income, she could share the apartment with someone else or move to a less popular or smaller apartment (I know of a friend who used to live in an apartment the size of her room). Say that he rent drops to 400€, she can put the extra 350€ in a saving fund and eventually use it as a down payment for an apartment and make use the 0% loan she is entitled from the government.

I would really be worried if she doesn't act on her own and only wait for the government to increase her salary. The government has a deep deficit hole to fill and has been cutting costs. What would happen when she has a kid to support? What would happen in 20-25 years when she is retired and still couldn't afford her own apartment and half of her pension has to go into rent? We are witnessing a lot of retirees who couldn't meet their ends these days as they don't own a property and seeing their purchasing power deteriorating. I hope she wouldn't become one of them.

I'm sure they are a lot of people living in a poorer conditions than hers but who still hang in there and do not complaint. Marion, please act on your own, you need to set a good example to your students.


  1. 42% of her salary is currently going to rent.

    I don't know many teachers whose work days are over when classes finish. They usually spend several more hours grading papers and planning the next day's or week's lessons.

    Teachers around the world are underpaid for the level of education that they must accomplish prior to securing employment; for the socializing work that they must do in the place of parents, in addition to teaching their actual subject; and for the "extra" hours that they must put into their jobs outside of the classroom.

    Additionally, their low salaries price them out of the housing market in virtually any urban area in which they might be assigned--since teachers are "assigned" locations in France.

    I'm glad I'm not a teacher, I'd feel very unappreciated and angry. I'm glad I'm not a parent and, quite honestly, I'm glad I'm no longer a student!

    It will be interesting to see what advice you will be giving them when, and if, you decide to have a child or two and deliver them into the care of teachers, day in and day out for 13+ years.

    Interestingly enough, Le F and I just saw an emission on TV5 about stress, depression, and suicide among teachers in France related to the challenges of their jobs.

    I wouldn't want to walk a mile in their shoes.

  2. I know a lot of my university teachers supplement their income by teaching private schools besides teaching at the public university.

  3. Actually I don'y understand how she could have rented an apart which the rental is more than 30% of her salary, perhaps the landlord knew her personally, otherwise it is quite unlikely someone with the same salary to get an apart like that.

    Nowadays in Paris, the cheapest rental that one could get, if he or she is lucky enough, will be at least 550€/month. Even a Chambre de bonne of 9m2 would costs 450€/month. Call it a mad city, but it is the reality, Paris is just too expensive!

  4. I know teachers in New Zealand pay relatively well!Not the whole world. Paris is very expensive to live!