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I’ve never been one to go through the motions for seemingly little reward. People who jog for fun, for example, completely baffle me. I’ve been on this rant many times before, but jogging just seems exceptionally dull. Personally, I would much rather run “with purpose” – with a finite, prescribed goal in mind. If, for example, a hockey net was set up every 100 feet and I had a string of goalies to try and score on, well, sign me up. That just sounds awesome.

The same goes for saving. I think it’s great if people put away money as an Emergency Fund for themselves – that’s essential. I love when I hear about people (especially people in their 20s) who are keen on throwing extra money into an RSP for their way-in-the-future retirement – that’s just smart. What I don’t (and can’t) do is save with no absolutely goal in mind. Targets help me stay on track, and I already have a major one in mind for 2012.

Strategic goal-setting should help avoid the crush of student debt

My Goal

This year, I’m going to write the GMAT in anticipation of completing my MBA (Masters of Business Administration). I’m going to write the 4-hour exam on March 17th, and have obviously been studying for it for some time now. Not only has it been a major time commitment, but it’s obviously a MASSIVE savings commitment as well. To give you some context, an MBA at Rotman School of Management (University of Toronto) goes for over $70,000. A graduate degree from Schulich School of Business (York University) is well over $50,000. Ouch, right? Keep in mind that this does not begin to include books, food, rent or the massive opportunity cost of being out of work for two whole years. The sheer enormity of the cost has me seriously considering doing it elsewhere – Quebec being the leading option.

All of that aside, I feel strongly that it’s a goal worth pursuing. It’ll open up doors to new opportunities and jobs down the road, and it’ll help me build invaluable connections and relationships with like-minded professionals. The true test (aside from passing the GMAT) will be to save enough to ensure I don’t return to the impoverished days of my undergrad. Friends have mentioned that I should wait to see if my current or prospective employer will cover the cost (which would be awesome), but I’m eager to start saving regardless. If I were to start this year or next, I fully expect to take out a student loan to cover the tuition costs. If I can continue to sock away $150-$250 per paycheque, I think I should be in good shape to cover the rest.

Do you have any tips for me? Any 2012 savings goals of your own?

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