In my old job (Engineering) my family lived within our means. We were careful with money but because of our style of not living extravangent we never had to worry about money. My wife did not work and we easily got by. Then I became a teacher.
Eight years ago we realized the struggle financially and planned for it. But I also believed in 2006 that in 5 years we would get back to even (so long as we bought a cheap house, and had no car payments) and now I am in 2013 still struggling to make ends meet. (Teaching pay has not kept up with inflation coupled with 2 pay freezes and an 6% pay cut) I have a house payment of about $700 (as cheap as a family of 6 can own or rent), no car payment, my wife now works (because our kids are older) and yet it is nip and tuck every month. I pick up work during the summer and do whatever I can to get some extra income.
But think about the whole statement above and it is no wonder that the best don't teach. I am really driven, I really love teaching, yet every May and June I have to sit down and figure out how to balance our families books. I know there are a group that think - yeah, tough, what about me? And I understand that point of view but the focus in this post is about getting the best people to teach and stay teaching, and not very often do the best struggle as hard financially as teaching currently requires.