My Income Doesn’t Tell the Whole Story

As we are getting ready to file our taxes, I have been looking back at my Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) over the years.  While it’s fun to look at the numbers from years past, the numbers don’t tell the whole story.

Here is a look at how my income has changed over the years, with a little commentary to put the numbers into perspective.

Here is a look at how my income has changed over the years, with a little commentary to put the numbers into perspective. | earning | salary | teacher pay |

2007 -$24,183

This is as far back as my info goes.  How did I file my taxes before 2007?  Did my mom help me?  Where is that information?  Oh well.  I graduated from college in December 2005, so 2007 was my second year working full time.

In 2007, I was a year out of college and working for an environmental education program during the school year and directing a camp in the summers.  I was earning intern pay for part of this year and then got a nice bump in pay in the fall.

2008 – $25,257

In 2008, I finished up working the spring at the same environmental ed program, and the summer at camp.  I took a few months off in the fall to figure out the next step and started looking into graduate programs.

Luckily, I had saved a good chunk of change from working for a couple years to pay for grad school without taking any additional loans out.

2009 – $7,163

I started a grad program in January, worked at my camp in the summer, and also picked up a part-time job at a restaurant in the fall.

This small amount of money was enough to cover my expenses (transportation and food) while I lived with family members while I was in school.  I was lucky to not have to pay rent while I was in grad school.

2010 – $8,943

I finished up grad school while continuing my restaurant job and summer gig.  In the fall I started applying to full time teaching jobs, but could only find sub work.

2011 – $18,595

This year, I continued subbing in a few local schools, while I applied for a full-time teaching job.  After countless applications and only three interviews, I was offered a job out west.  I accepted the job and moved across the country.

To prepare for the move and the new job, I took out a car loan to buy a used car and bought a new laptop on credit.  I was so broke at the time of this move, that I also had to borrow $1,000 from my mom to put down as a security deposit on my new apartment.  Add that to my student loans (from undergrad), and I had about $20,000 of debt when I started this job.

This was also the year that I met my future husband.  We had a fast and furious romance, and he followed me out west.

2012 – $35,082

During the 2011-2012 school year, I only made $34,000 and got a small raise the following two years.  In the summers, we traveled back east to do some contract construction work.

I started reading personal finance blogs and got serious about paying down my debt.  First I paid my mom back, and then paid off the computer (I opened a new credit card to purchase it, so it was interest-free for 12 months).  I made a plan to pay off my car, and my student loans.

2013 – $37,509

We continued teaching out west, and I continued paying down my debt.  It was not easy, but I managed to pay off $20,000 over the course of two years on a mid-$30,000 salary.

2014 – $33,509

We finished up the school year out west and then moved back to New York. We got engaged and started saving for our wedding.

We could not find teaching jobs right away (it’s very competitive in our area), so I went back to work subbing, and Mr. Farmhouse Finance worked construction.

I was not making enough as a substitute teacher, so I picked up a second job as a server at a restaurant.

2015 – $75,535 (filed jointly)

I decided to take more graduate classes to get another teaching certification, and targeted my job search to the two districts that I was building relationships in.  I was offered a job at my top pick school and happily accepted.

We planned and paid for our own wedding.

Mr. Farmhouse Finance found a great teaching job, as well, and we started at our new schools in September.

This was the first year that we filed our taxes jointly.

2016 – $121,595 (filed jointly)

In 2016, we both received modest raises at our respective schools, and Mr. Farmhouse Finance also started coaching.  We switched to Mr. Farmhouse Finance’s insurance and received part of the health insurance buyout from my school.

We both worked in the summer.

2017 – $136,137 (filed jointly)

In 2017, we received our yearly raises and also got the health insurance buyout for the full year.  Mr. Farmhouse Finance started coaching a second season, and I started working an afterschool program a couple days a week.

We continued working various jobs in the summer.

2018 and Beyond

We will continue to receive small yearly raises and will try to increase our earning potential by taking more graduate classes and attending professional development.

We will continue coaching and working after school to earn a little bit extra and hope to continue receiving the health insurance buyout for many years to come.

Although we don’t work summer school, we always work for at least part of the summers, and will probably continue doing so for many years.

What commentary could you add to your earning history?

Here is a look at how my income has changed over the years, with a little commentary to put the numbers into perspective. | earning | salary | teacher pay |

Illusion of Scarcity Worksheet (PDF)

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4 Comments

  • Just read this article – and your other one, how to earn more as a teacher. I am just shaking my head at the amount in how much teachers are paid. And also likely coming out of college with a more, unimaginable amount of debt.

    I have a couple friends who were elementary teachers; after having a kid in daycare, they of course couldn’t afford to go back to work…the daycare cost more than what they were making! They ended up getting daycare licenses themselves, and opening up their home and accepted 2-5 year olds so she could take care of her kids and teach other kids full time. Turned out to be quite profitable for them…and bonus – getting to raise your own kid!

    Congrats on keeping up your careers & professional development & working full-time…looking forward to seeing where you guys go!

    • Thank you for your kind words! We feel very fortunate to have the jobs that we do in a state that pays its teachers well. It’s a shame that your friends were forced to leave teaching, but it’s great that they were able to start a profitable daycare. Thanks for reading!

  • Great post, the story behind numbers is always much more informative than the numbers. By the way, if you want an accurate number for your total income, not the adjusted one, then sign up at the government’s mysocialsecurity.com site and they have exactly what you made for every year you worked. It is completely accurate and free. I found it pretty interesting and much easier in my case tha trying to dig up 30 plus years of returns.

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