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Can I have a decent life in Sweden on this salary?

So confused by everything I have read... help!

leighannas
post 9.Apr.2014, 11:25 PM
Post #1
Joined: 9.Apr.2014

Hi everyone!

So I am about to interview for a job in Sweden as a music teacher at an English school in Jarfalla. I have dual nationality between the US and UK, so visas, etc. are not an issue (though the US tax system is since I am a citizen still and making money overseas... ugh... that will be fun... but I digress) but after lots and lots of reading about salaries I have only found myself more confused about if my salary/wage will be enough for me.

I was told that I can expect anywhere between 25,000-30,000 Kronor per month, starting. I have a Master's degree and 2 years of teaching experience, so I feel I can expect a bit more than the minimum 25,000, but I don't think it will be way above it (maybe 26,000-27,000... do I assume correctly or is this a gross over/under estimate?).

I am married with no children (and don't plan on having any, or at least not anytime in the near future i.e.- at least 5-10 years from now), and my husband would be staying behind in the States for one year while he finishes up his master's degree. Don't worry, we have talked very in depth about the seriousness of not seeing each other in person for about 9 months, and we have agreed it will be hard, but he is really excited for this job prospect for me, and I of course want him to finish his degree, so we'll just have to make it work and I feel very confident in my relationship... essentially I'm saying please don't give me relationship advice because we have worked this out and come to our decision about it. But thank you for your concern if it crossed your mind. smile.gif

So I figured the best way to give you a full scope of if this is the right salary for me, and after a year alone then supporting my husband as well when he moves out, is to just give a DL of what I would expect to need and the type of person I am in reference to going out, needs, etc... So here it is:

-I will not own a car and would like to take public transit/walk/ride a bike

-A one bedroom apartment would be lovely, but would be willing to compromise on a studio if there is a park nearby because...

-I will have two dogs and a cat with me (cat is indoors, but dogs will need to go for walks and bathroom obviously)

-I am a "weekday vegetarian" and only eat vegetarian meals during the week and light meat (fish, chicken, etc.) on the weekends, so this may cut down on food costs? It does for me in the States at least (and is healthier for me IMHO)

-I eat out once or twice a week, depending on if I have the money. I enjoy cooking at home, so I don't mind staying in but obviously sometimes I am just too tired to cook and will go out. This could also include a night where I may want to go out with friends, but when I lived alone before I would usually reserve one day a week when I would go out with friends at a local bar for trivia night, and get a drink and a small meal

-I do love wine and beer, and it's nice to have a bottle of a basic red wine around in the house... I buy a bottle of wine about once a week or once every other week... but again, only if I can afford it, as I view it as a luxury and not a necessity (and I know about those crazy liquor stores... very interesting concept? I think? I have read there is a lot of heated debate over the ideals behind them lol)

-I do have some bills back home including student loans ($78/month), possibly a few credit cards (I am hoping to have them paid off by the time I move though), and possibly a car payment if I don't sell it ($300/ month), but I will probably get rid of it before I go because I won't need it and neither will my husband (or he may just pay for it out of his part time job and I don't have to worry about it)

-I do not have really expensive taste and I like to think I shop very frugally. My clothing a lot of times comes from clearance sections, and I am a slave to thrift stores... I just love the cool stuff you can find in thrift stores... I'm a bit of a hipster, so sue me smile.gif

-Husband will not live with me the first year, but will come out the second year I am there after finishing his master's (he is a tubist FYI, so work for him may be difficult in Sweden... he is also only a US citizen, so he would most likely only be able to get a visa since he is married to me, and not be able to work without a work visa...? I think this is correct?)

So what do you think? Is there anything I missed that can help give you a better picture? I want to kind of just lay it all out on the table because I have been reading through forums and it's either someone with a family, or someone who just doesn't seem to have a similar lifestyle to me. I also noticed that there is a lot of disagreement about a good salary depending on your lifestyle, so I wanted to just put it all out in the open in reference to my situation.

I currently live in Los Angeles, California, so I am VERY familiar with high prices in a big city, and my husband and I are making ends meet with just my salary as a teacher here, so I figured it'd probably be the same type of lifestyle there. We can live, pay bills, and keep a roof over our heads and lights on, but going out or going on vacations may have to be on the back burner for a while as we settle in and get into a flow (which is really to be expected with a move to ANY city, really). We enjoy camping and outdoor activities though, which I'd assume are pretty inexpensive/free there as well (for example, a picnic lunch in the park, taking a tent to the woods and camping, playing outside in the snow, etc.).

This is a really long post... If you have made it this far I commend you and appreciate, very, VERY much any help/insight you can provide to me.

Seriously, thank you!
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Ivor stephé
post 9.Apr.2014, 11:53 PM
Post #2
Joined: 20.Aug.2013

One thing to consider is are you being offered a permanent contract?
Without this you have very little job security and it would be very dangerous to up and move with no security or relocation plan included in the employment.

Another thing you need to be aware of, is it is very common for schools to recruit from outside of Sweden to save money. They often do this by telling new employees that because they are not considered qualified under swedish law that it is reason to offer a lower pay.

So my advice is be careful.
Education in Sweden has a lot of faults at present and is ranked very low in the pisa tables.
So unless you are being employed by a fee paying school, you may find that this as a career move would be a bad idea. Also be aware that many of the people who you may work with may be temps or people employed as teachers but have no formal education as a teacher.
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Willy
post 10.Apr.2014, 12:44 AM
Post #3
Joined: 10.Jul.2005

The range you give sounds about right. This is what teachers make in Sweden. While relatively poor compared to many other professions, it is above median. You can see some salary statistics for music teachers here:

http://www.lonestatistik.se/loner.asp/yrke/Musiklarare-1387

It is completely unscientifically sampled (just people reporting their salaries) but it could still give you an idea. In fact, your range would be in the upper half of that distribution.

The main problem for people asking here – as you have noticed – is that they expect to feed a whole family on that kind of salary. That would be a struggle. For you alone it should be no problem, especially if you are used to living frugally. Not living in a big apartment/house or an expensive apartment in central Stockholm and not having a car will all be big savings for you.

Eating out is expensive, so if you can avoid that, again a big saving.

Sweden is great for camping. The principle of public access to land (allemansrätten) means that you can put up your tent on anybody's land as long as it is away from people's homes.
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leighannas
post 10.Apr.2014, 01:03 AM
Post #4
Joined: 9.Apr.2014

QUOTE (Ivor stephé @ 9.Apr.2014, 10:53 PM) *
One thing to consider is are you being offered a permanent contract?Without this you have very little job security and it would be very dangerous to up and move with no securi ... (show full quote)



Thank you for your advice! I am not sure how long the position is contracted for, and I will be asking in my interview, as I have the exact concerns you are stating. I will not make the move unless I can know for sure that this can be a long-term position. Are you possibly from the States or familiar with education in the States? If so, do you think it compares to stuff I deal with already here as a teacher? Just wondering... Or if anyone else has an opinion of this? Any other teachers out there? biggrin.gif
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leighannas
post 10.Apr.2014, 01:04 AM
Post #5
Joined: 9.Apr.2014

QUOTE (Willy @ 9.Apr.2014, 11:44 PM) *
The range you give sounds about right. This is what teachers make in Sweden. While relatively poor compared to many other professions, it is above median. You can see some sal ... (show full quote)


Awesome resource! Thank you!
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skogsbo
post 10.Apr.2014, 07:19 AM
Post #6
Joined: 20.Sep.2011

you won't have a problem living within your means, if you are really frugal you will probably save a little each month, unless you spend it all on flights back to the USA every time you can.

pets - they are your bigger problems. Many flats / apartments / rooms might not allow them. Dogs by law can't be locked up in your home all day long. Dog sitting or doggy daycare isn't cheap and places are competitive. I would consider not bringing the pets here until you know how the land lies.
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nickoledlaird
post 10.Apr.2014, 07:30 AM
Post #7
Joined: 14.May.2011

I am also from California and have experience working in schools there as well as South Korea, China and here in Sweden. I am not sure what schools you are working in in LA (private vs. public) but one thing that stuck out for me here is the freedom students have in the classroom. It can be both good and bad. They are taught to think freely. But some take it to the extreme. Teachers are addressed by first names and swearing is quite common. With that being said, if you are interviewing with the International English School, the structure is extremely different and based on a tough love model where students are taught to show respect to teachers and mind their manners. You can shoot me a PM if you have more specific questions. Good luck!
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Ivor stephé
post 10.Apr.2014, 10:17 AM
Post #8
Joined: 20.Aug.2013

Be aware that the school is actually Swedish and teaches over 50% of its education in Swedish.
Also be aware that the term international doesn't really mean anything and they are by law required to teach the Swedish curriculum.

Basically its a Swedish school with a different name.
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Essingen55
post 10.Apr.2014, 02:35 PM
Post #9
Joined: 12.Dec.2013

One of the worst aspects of being a teacher in Sweden...or any other relatively low paid job...is the very poor pension provision. Be warned.
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Emerentia
post 10.Apr.2014, 03:12 PM
Post #10
Joined: 23.Dec.2011

Hi!

If you will earn 25 000 kr before tax it's, your wage would be 90% of the Sweden average (and 183% of the world average.) You would get about 19 500 kr after taxes.

Konsumentverket (The Consumers agency) has these average costs for one adult who live in an apartment and don't have a car:

Media: 930 kr
Home insurance: 90 kr
Groceries:1360 kr
Lunch: 1800 (If you eat lunch out, if you bring your own lunch it´s cheaper of course, if you work at a school, teacher's could often get lunch at a discount, if they are eating toghether with the children. )
Bus card: 790 kr
Recreation:620 kr
Cell phone:210 kr
Home equipment:370 kr
Supplies: 100 kr
Clothes and shoes:600 kr
Personal hygiene: 510
Total: 6 590 kr.

These are sort of average costs, you might spend less on say clothes and shoes, but then you might have some other things that you like to spend money on. this is just to give you some sense of what things costs. If you, for example, want to know how much your favorite wine or beer would cost you in Sweden, you can check that at https://www.systembolaget.se/ Just type the name and click "sök" (=seach).

What I havn´t put into these calculation is your cost of living, that depends a lot how you want to live, where you want to live etc. It could be quite hard to find a place to live, and it could be pretty expensive. If you plan to stay long term it's often better to buy bostadsrätt than to find a decent and not too expensive place to rent.

I havn't taken the costs for your pets into the calculations, because I have no idea how big the dogs are and how much and what they eat etc, but that's important to take into consideration. Having pet's could be quite expensive, when it comes to insurance, vets, food, day care etc. I think day care for dogs in the Stockholm area is about 3000/month.

My short answer is, you can have a pretty decent life in Sweden on this salary. What each person mean by decent differs of course. But when your husband comes here it will of course be a lot harder, living two person of that salary, so I hope you think of that and tries to save as much as possible while it's just you here.
I hope you got some of the things you've been wondering about answered.

Good luck!

/Emerentia

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17543356
http://www.konsumentverket.se/vara-omraden...budgetkalkylen/
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Ivor stephé
post 10.Apr.2014, 03:25 PM
Post #11
Joined: 20.Aug.2013

QUOTE (Essingen55 @ 10.Apr.2014, 02:35 PM) *
One of the worst aspects of being a teacher in Sweden...or any other relatively low paid job...is the very poor pension provision. Be warned.



Yeah thats very true.
With some people unable to take their pension with them when they move away.
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Svensksmith
post 10.Apr.2014, 03:31 PM
Post #12
Joined: 28.Jul.2011

I am a teacher in the States and, 10 years ago, we moved to Sweden to give it a go. It was a fantastic experience, glad we did it and super glad we moved back to the States. But, then again, I don't live in LA. Sorry, not my favorite place.

I say go for it. What have you got to lose? But don't burn all your bridges and have an exit strategy in case it is not to your liking. Life is an adventure and I don't think you will regret trying it as much as you would regret not trying it.

Good luck!

BTW, before we tried it for real, my wife and daughters spent 3 months in Sweden checking out the employment situation while I stayed back home. Longest 3 months in my life.
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skogsbo
post 10.Apr.2014, 03:53 PM
Post #13
Joined: 20.Sep.2011

QUOTE (Svensksmith @ 10.Apr.2014, 03:31 PM) *
Life is an adventure and I don't think you will regret trying it as much as you would regret not trying it.

I think it was Mark Twain who said in the long run you only regret the things you didn't do, not those you did, regardless of the outcome.
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Ivor stephé
post 10.Apr.2014, 04:07 PM
Post #14
Joined: 20.Aug.2013

"There is no sadder thing than a young pessimist‚ except an old optimist." –Mark Twain

Sorry, could not resist.
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leighannas
post 10.Apr.2014, 05:30 PM
Post #15
Joined: 9.Apr.2014

QUOTE (Ivor stephé @ 10.Apr.2014, 09:17 AM) *
Be aware that the school is actually Swedish and teaches over 50% of its education in Swedish.Also be aware that the term international doesn't really mean anything and th ... (show full quote)



I should be more specific, sorry about that! It is an English school for ex-pats and the like and everything is in English. It's actually not technically part of the international school circuit and I guess it's just an independent school of sorts? It is called the "International English School of Jarfalla," which I have also looked up and found mixed reviews, but do you possibly have insight to this school as well (or anyone else for that matter)? That would be awesome if you do!

I will get more information from them of course during my interview tomorrow, but from what I read on their website and the job listing, everything is in English and I don't need to know Swedish to teach, but they will help me learn Swedish so that I can adapt better into Sweden (and who would turn down learning a new language anyway? I love learning new languages! biggrin.gif ).

I have many questions that I am writing down to ask during my interview tomorrow and it includes asking about learning Swedish, asking about pension, retirement, etc., and also about what exactly they expect me to teach (I am certified in both music and English, and I hear they oftentimes have teachers teach multiple subjects in Sweden, which is becoming more and more popular in the States too, though).

Thanks for bringing this up, and I will be sure to get a straight answer tomorrow. smile.gif
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