Tuesday, 25 November 2008

To Postgrad Or Not To Postgrad, That Is The Question.

(Apologies to Bill Shakespeare for my paraphrasing.)

I've just completed an Executive Certificate in Marketing Management through work, which I really enjoyed (especially as work paid for it in both course costs and actually running the course on site during work hours – sweet!)

It’s got me thinking about continuing my studies. I had commenced an undergrad before this opportunity presented itself, but my course through work was at a post grad/MBA level and I did OK, well even.

I’d really like to go after a Masters in Marketing, as I think the next few steps of my career will require tertiary education as well as experience, so it’s now or never really.

I've got myself booked in to an information evening next month to find out more about it from lecturers and speak to current and recently graduated students about what the workload is like, as I’ll be working full time as well as studying.

The big question though is the cost. I’d be looking at approx $2,588 a subject, and I’d have to complete 11 subjects (as I've already completed one subject), so that’s $28,468 over the life of the Masters or $9,490 a year (assuming two subjects a semester and two semesters a year).

That’s $791 a month I’d need to find in my budget each month to pay for it upfront.

Alternatively, I can pay a 20% surcharge and have 8% of my salary deducted each month (the joy of HECS/Fee-HELP) until the total amount is paid off. 20% equates to $5,694 though, which is a lot of surcharge, so I’m leaning towards paying upfront.

The other two things with paying upfront are:

  • I can ask work to contribute up to $3,000 per calendar year, which could reduce my outgoings by $9,000 over the life of the course, and would mean I’d only need to find $541 a month in the budget.
  • The other is the course fees are tax deductible, which could also help pay for things as my annual taxable salary would be effectively reduced by $6,490 (after the $3,000 I’d get back from work) which would push me down a tax bracket.

I was in a meeting with our ad agency yesterday and they showed us reports that MBA applications have gone through the roof, which is an unforeseen side effect of the global financial crisis.

People are investing in themselves rather than the stock market it seems.

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Thursday, 20 November 2008

It’s the little things…

One of the guys in the office just returned from a Macca’s run and so now I’m sitting at my desk enjoying a chocolate sundae, with my headphones on listening to Ministry of Sound Classics (Disc 3) and analysing broadband data usage patterns by rate plan.

Life is good.

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Monday, 3 November 2008

Squeaky Wheel Gets Grease!

Last week I decided to email my bank about my so called ‘variable’ loan only going up, and never coming down, even though savings and home loan rates have dropped. *cough*StGeorge*cough*

Their home loans go down overnight after (or even in anticipation of) an interest rate drop from the Federal Reserve as do their online savings accounts, yet their personal loans and credit cards have stayed as high as ever.

They had no such hesitation to put them up 5 times in the last year as interest rates went up.

I must have written a decent email, as I had a call from their customer relations area on Friday. This was to thank me for my feedback and advise she was going to have someone look into my situation and see what they could do for me. I didn't think much more of that over the weekend and assumed I wouldn't hear anything.

So it was a pleasant surprise to have just had a call from the person she said would call me and he’s offered me a 1.5% interest rate drop, which will drop my minimum payment by $72 a month. It’s still variable, and if the rate ends up dropping below the new rate I’ll still get those reductions.

I won’t be changing my new payment of $1000 a month, it just means that for no extra effort on my part I’ll be able to pay an extra $864 a year off my loan, plus save at least an additional $300 a year in interest.

It pays to be a squeaky wheel, especially in a competitive banking environment.

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Saturday, 1 November 2008

The Ugly Truth – Day 428


  • Personal Loan: -$19,877
  • Credit Card 1: -$5,412
  • Credit Card 2: -$5,485 ($5,000 transferred to Card 8)
  • Credit Card 3: (transferred to Card 4)
  • Credit Card 4: -$16,105
  • Credit Card 5: (paid in full)
  • Credit Card 6: (paid in full)
  • Credit Card 7: (paid in full)
  • Credit Card 8: -$4,875


  • Emergency Fund: +$2,000
  • Car Fund (Maintenance & Registration): +250
  • Short Term Goal Fund: +$1,000 (Current goal is new bedroom furniture)
  • Home Deposit Fund ($60,000 Goal): +$1,000
  • UK Tour Fund ($10,000 Goal): +$750

Total: -$51,754
Debt reduced from last month: +$615
Debt reduced from Sep 2007: +$5,018

Not a huge change this month, but I’m OK with that as I had a lots of bills come in that needed to be paid, I managed to pay them without dipping into my emergency fund, and factoring in the monthly interest I’m paying it’s still a win to have the total go down.

Not all the balance transfers had been processed as of today, I’m still waiting on the balance of Credit Card 1 to go over to Credit Card 2, and then I’ll have my new snowball in place.

My personal loan is now under $20,000 which is great, and now I’ll be throwing $1,000 at it every month from now on (it’s got the highest interest rate of all of my debts), that should see larger debt reductions each month ongoing.

My focus card is now Card 2, so any extra snowball or snowflake money will be going on to that card from now on.

I also managed to add another $250 to my travel fund, as I’m looking to go in May 2009; I really need to get cracking on building up that fund now. Especially considering the exchange rate, Aussie dollars to pounds Sterling is never a pretty exchange, but it’s even worse at the moment.

Roll on payday.

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