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Woman Is Astonished By The Lifestyle Her Parents Were Able To Afford As Public School Teachers In The 90s

Photo: Stephen Wheeler and Esther Ann via Unsplash / Sketchify via Canva
older couple, lake house

A woman expressed her shock at how drastically times have changed from her parents' generation to now, especially financially. In a TikTok video, a content creator named Ally Rooker revealed that both of her parents had worked as teachers during the 90s, and were able to lead a lifestyle that is downright impossible to achieve nowadays in the economy we're living in.

She explained that her parents were able to live comfortably off of their teaching salaries during the 90s.

"My parents are retired public school teachers. They are younger boomers and have been teachers their entire lives. I want you to think about what life looks like for a household of two public school teachers with two kids today," Rooker incredulously stated at the start of her video.

She acknowledged that public school teachers in 2023 aren't making anywhere what they should be making to keep up with the rising prices of practically everything. Rooker proved her point, panning the camera around to show the landscape of her childhood home, which is a three-bedroom house on the lake with a boat, in a now-affluent neighborhood.



"This was my parents' situation as two public school teachers. This is where I grew up," Rooker continued.

She said that now, there are two houses for sale in her neighborhood that are selling for $532,000 and $1.2 million, respectively. She claimed that her parents were able to buy their house in the 90s while using the money they had been making from their teaching salaries.

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"They never had side hustles, they never had summer jobs. They had summers off," she said.

To make matters worse, Rooker and her fiancé's combined salaries are what her parents were making while she was in high school and decades into their teaching career. Compared to her parent's house, Rooker said that she and her fiancé live in an apartment that definitely isn't up to the same standards as her childhood house on the lake.

"Our apartment, when it rains on the outside, it rains on the inside," Rooker explained. "It's enraging and unfathomable thinking about the world that people older than us got to live in because no one ever gets to live like this with normal jobs ever again."

Teaching salaries have only increased by $29 since 1996, despite the cost of living becoming more expensive.

According to a report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), the average weekly wages of public school teachers, adjusted for inflation, increased just $29 from 1996 to 2021 — from $1,319 up to $1,348. Teachers have consistently earned less than their nonteacher, college-educated counterparts.

A public school teacher's weekly wages have remained flat for the past 25 years, starting at $1,052 in 1980 and growing to only $1,348 by 2020. Other college grads who did not become teachers earned $1,364 in 1980 and saw their weekly wages grow up to $2,009 by 2020. 

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Public school teachers are no longer making livable wages, much like many other working-class individuals in the United States, and unfortunately, times have changed drastically from how it was in the 90s. In 1940, the median home value in the U.S. was $2,938. In 1980, it was $47,200, and by 2000, it had risen to $119,600. While some prices have increased more than others, it's a universal acknowledgment that everyday life is so much more expensive than it was when our parents were growing up and entering adulthood.

It's why about 23 million, or 45%, of Americans ages 18-29 are still living at home with their families. Moving out and getting a place of your own has now become an unreachable and unsustainable dream. In a survey from Harris Poll for Bloomberg, 81% of respondents of any age agree that reaching financial security is more difficult today than it was 20 years ago.

But 74% of those surveyed agree that younger Americans face a "broken economic situation that prevents them from being financially successful." It's a concerning reality that begs the question: how are future generations supposed to achieve financial security and stability? 

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Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.