#936 Rent Savers: Work For A Boarding School

22 Jan

Photo via flickr by 401 (K) 2013.

Photo via flickr by 401 (K) 2013.

There’s no denying it, if you don’t pay rent, you save a lot of money. Money you could use to buy a house, travel the world, invest, take a few years off, retire early… Saving on rent does wonders. So now that it’s clear you shouldn’t pay more than 25% of your gross income on rent, how about not paying rent at all? If you work for a boarding school, one of the benefits of employment is free housing. When I worked for a boarding school, I got paid the least amount of  money but saved the most. It was made possible by not paying rent.

Sure, I had to live in the apartment they selected for me. But once you’re working at a boarding school, housing shuffles yearly so you can put a claim in on a better house or apartment. You may also be required to live in the dorms for a certain period of time. Any dorm apartments I’ve seen have been really nice. And mostly block out the sound of over-excited high schoolers.

To work for a boarding school, you have to be able to handle high school students, although there are some boarding schools that have grades 7 and 8 as well. In exchange for benefits like food (at the dining hall) and housing, boarding schools want you to not only teach or be an administrator but coach sports, run clubs and rotate dorm duty. I worked as an administrator, which made my working hours longer than a teacher’s, so I didn’t coach a sport in the afternoon, but I helped out with clubs like the newspaper one evening a week as well as had dinner in the dining hall two evenings a week. I also had a group of freshman advisees that I tracked to make sure they were getting good grades and staying out of trouble.

I don’t have a great love of high schoolers, but all the kids were good kids. They were mostly well-off students with a sprinkling of super-intelligent scholarship kids. The facilities at the school were amazing – on par with a top-tier college and better than some universities. I could work out, have lunch, use the library and have access to ski passes all for free in addition to free housing.

With the one caveat that “free” was actually a taxable benefit that put me in a higher tax bracket, free housing when I worked for a boarding school was a great deal. It saved me a lot of money. I didn’t end up working at the boarding school long enough to save for a house. But my parents did. In the more than 10 years my dad worked at a boarding school, the housing provided allowed my parents to save money to buy a summer home. The house they bought served not only as a place to go every summer, but a home that would always be there no matter what.

Even if you have your own housing and you start working for a boarding school, you can get a housing stipend that would offset the cost of your rent or mortgage.

To get a job at a boarding school, you can sign up with one of the many recruiting agencies, contact the school directly or look at job boards. There are boarding schools around the world including many English-speaking international schools in foreign countries.

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