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Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Meandering Along

Nothing much happening around here. DS1 starts the new school year tomorrow, starting Year 3. He attended a two day workshop on fossils and geology at the University of NSW last week, organised by GERRIC (the gifted education department), which he enjoyed a lot. Since I bought him his own study desk for his bedroom a couple of weeks ago it's been easier for him to concentrate on his math and English studies without getting disturbed by DS2, and he's able to finish off his daily study routine in less than half and hour.

I spent the Australia Day long weekend trying to finish off the assessment items for my Diploma of Financial Services (Financial Planning) course, but still have a way to go. The extension period ends this week, and this semester's course notes for the two degrees I'm doing by distance education already arrived last Friday, although semester doesn't officially begin until the week after next. So I have to knock off the outstanding DFS items this week so I can get stuck into my uni studies asap. Falling behind is the kiss of death when doing subjects by distance education, especially now that I have a couple of young kids. It's no longer possible to procrastinate and then catch up by devoting an entire weekend to completing a 5,000 word essay that's almost due. These days I'm lucky to get a couple of hours to concentrate after the kids have been put to bed in the evening after work, which isn't the most productive time.

The two subjects I'm enrolled in this semester are "Interface Usability" for the MIT course, and "Reconceptualising Secondary Education" for the BTeach course. Fortunately there aren't any residential school requirements for either of these subjects, so I don't have to spend a week of annual leave "residing" on campus in Bathurst or Wagga Wagga during the mid-semester break just to attend one or two lectures a day. The BTeach subject assessment is "only" a couple of 2,000 word essays, which sounds a lot easier than it is. With a background in applied chemistry, computer science and chemical engineering, writing essays that are up to scratch for a "arts" oriented subject is a bit of a chore. There are hardly any "facts" (although everything has to be "evidence based"), and every relevant opinion or viewpoint needs to be included, critically evaluated and referenced to death if you're to get more than a bare pass. The MIT subject also has a couple of essays to complete, but they are only worth 50%. The balance of the assessment is a standard 3-hour exam sometime in July.

The fee for the MIT subject was due at the start of February, so I paid the $806 today via BPay from my credit union account. The fee for the BTeach subject wasn't due until March, but I paid the $404 today so I won't have to remember it in a couple of month's time. The BTeach fee is lower than the MIT fee as the teaching course is more highly subsidised by the government via the HECS scheme.

A couple of dividend payments from my CDF share holdings were paid today. One dividend for $2,771.81 was directly credited into my credit union account, and the $481.96 dividend from my other CDF holding was used to purchase 272 additional CDF shares via the DRP. These days I get most dividends paid out as cash and use it to pay a large portion of the interest charged on my margin loans. I have a small number of ongoing DRP reinvestments that were set up several years ago, but these days I don't elect to participate in new DRPs. The small discount to the current stock price and saving on brokerage fees doesn't adequately compensate for the extra paperwork and hassle created by DRPs when completing the capital gains part of my tax return when I eventually sell.

Copyright Enough Wealth 2007

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