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For the record, I feel like pretty much every financial management company is a total ripoff. 90% of them couldn't pick stocks or bonds better than the average person and then they charge you a premium whether you make money or not. I've been forced to be with Fidelity for about 10 years through a retirement plan with my employer and I have earned a return of about 2% per year over that time. Perhaps some of you might think this is good considering the economic times, but for me that is a terrible return on my money. Even though my employer stopped contributing to this fund roughly 8 years ago and I have not put anything in the fund ever, they refuse to close my account until I quit my job so they basically have my money held prisoner to poor returns for the foreseeable future. One thing that is nice about Fidelity though is that you have the choice of switching plans on your own accord. The problem though is that none of their funds have good returns over any significant period of time so it's pretty much a crap shoot if you make money with them or not. Fidelity is basically a savings account for my money and should not be considered for anyone looking for a meaningful return on their money. If you want a safe place to store your money for a long period of time though then perhaps this is the place for you.
Travel Guard is one of the largest travel insurance companies in the United States and world. They are backed by parent company AIG, which is one of the world's largest companies and insurers. I have used Travel Guard several times in the past because they are contracted out with Expedia whenever you book a trip through them. Personally, I have mixed views on travel insurance. While the cost is usually not too overwhelming at usually 5-10% for the total trip cost, I feel like it is just another way for someone to make extra money off of me. Granted it does give you protection against any unforeseen emergencies or cancellations you may have leading up or while on your trip, but of the several times I have used it I have not needed to use it. From what I have read from other people's experiences though, they do pay out fairly for any claims you might ever have to make, so that is a definite plus to know that you will get what you deserve out of the deal. I am sure that the people on the recent cruise ship disaster that had travel insurance are sure thanking their lucky stars right about now. Given that most airlines and hotels no longer give grace periods or full cancellation refunds, I do believe that if you are taking an expensive international trip that has many destinations that you would probably be best off getting travel insurance. Most health insurance companies do not work well overseas and travel insurance covers all emergency situations so for that alone it may be worth it for some people. It really is a matter of preference, would you rather be safe then sorry or go without insurance?
I own about 7 credit cards and 5 of those 7 are Visa cards. I didn't plan on it being that way, but it is the fact that Visa is so widely distributed and accepted in the world that more times than not someone will have a Visa for their credit card. The funny thing that most people probably don't realize is that Visa as a company isn't involved in any of the actual financial transactions that occur with their debit and credit cards. Visa is merely a branding on a card that is issued to various banks and financial companies that wish to use credit and debit cards for their customers transactions. So they are basically the facilitator that allows people to make the purchases they make. The reason why so many banks and people use Visa branded cards is because they have done a great job at getting merchants and banks to trust that if Visa has entered into a contract with a bank that issues their card, then that transaction will be fully legitimate. Because of this Visa has roughly 50% of the total market share in the credit card industry. What does this mean for you the consumer? It means that if you have a Visa card, then you will be able to make purchases in over 50% of all businesses on Earth, which is definitely a nice option to have when you want to have the convenience of not carrying cash.
Capital One was the first credit cards I was ever issued back over 10 years ago and for the longest time I really enjoyed using them, despite the fact I was paying a $60 annual fee for the card. The customer service was good and I was getting rewards on my purchases and everything seemed great. About three years ago I had stopped using my Capital One card almost entirely and since I was not charging anything I didn't check my account. They ended up charging me my $60 annual fee, which I wasn't aware of until 1-2 months later and ended up charging me a $39 late fee plus charged interest on my balance so I ended up paying over $100 for that. Of course they were completely unwilling to work with me on the fees, which I think is completely immoral, but that is business I suppose. To top it off, they ended up noting that on my credit report and were unwilling to take it off so I am still showing a delinquent payment history on my credit report from over 3 years ago. I should have closed my account at that point but I was on hard times and needed a credit line in case of emergencies so I kept it open. About 1.5 years ago, they ended up shutting off the rewards program with my card without notifying me and I just lost all the points I had not redeemed. I had finally had enough so I called them and asked if they would take off my $60 annual fee for the card since I was a customer for 10+ years and was in good standing and they weren't willing to do so, so I closed my account finally. It's my own fault and stupidity that I continued to give this company so much of my own hard earned money, but hopefully you won't make the same mistake as me. There are plenty of better opportunities out there so stay clear of Capital One!
Several years ago I was shopping around for a new insurance company as I had received several traffic tickets and my insurance at the time had drastically jacked up my prices. Out of all the major insurance agencies out there, Progressive had the lowest monthly cost for the coverage I wanted so I went with them. One thing that I like about Progressive is that they really allow you to customize your policy in every way possible so you can either get a bare bones policy or fully loaded and save in areas that you don't need like rental car or roadside coverages. Most insurance companies automatically put those in your policy and you can save 5-10% on the policy by not having them there if you choose. A side note and benefit is that Progressive additionally insures any pets/animals you have traveling in your car, which I think is a nice plus that they give that since no other insurance companies do that I have seen. For the duration of the time that I had Progressive, they worked perfectly well for me and I never had any problems. I ended up getting hit by a semi truck and had my car totaled while I was with Progressive and the entire process took about a week before I had a check for my vehicle that was actually more than I expected. I ended up leaving Progressive because they wouldn't allow me to combine my auto and home policies and I got a better deal elsewhere, but if they were to change that then I would be back with them as they have been the best auto insurance experience I have had thus far and I have gone through about 5 different companies before them.
I first signed up with ING Direct several years ago just to take advantage of the free $50 they were offering for opening up a checking account. I quickly saw why ING was gaining popularity at the time, because everything was extremely easy to use. You can fund your account with credit cards(big plus for me), bank transfers or any of the other traditional means that other banks use. You just use their debit card to withdraw money from ATMs or make purchases and don't have to deal with going into a bank ever. For some people that may be a downside, but I hate going to banks and waiting in line so for me this makes it much more easier to own a bank account. No fees or minimums for their checking accounts, which I think is ridiculous how many banks are starting to do this now. On top of that they pay interest on all of their accounts regardless of your balance level. Sure it may only be .25% but it beats getting nothing, right? I haven't tried to open a savings account or mortgage through them, but their rates are one of the best in the industry so I would assume they are just as beneficial as the checking account. They are still offering the free $50 when opening up a checking account right now, and all you have to do is complete 5 debit card purchases within the first 90 days to have it credited to your account. For that alone I would open up an account if you haven't already.
I have used well over 10 different payment processing sites over the course of my internet use and none of them can compare to the ease of use and security that PayPal provides to its customers. PayPal payments are accepted worldwide in over 25 different currencies by millions of customers each and every day. More and more I am seeing that online merchants are using PayPal as a way to make purchases, which is making PayPal even more enticing to use as time goes on. The fact that PayPal is so widely accepted is indeed their strong point as it makes life so much easier and convenient when you can have one account to pay for everything online. You can load however many credit cards and bank accounts onto your account to transfer money in and out and never have to worry about internet fraud again. I purchase pretty much everything online so one reason why I especially enjoy PayPal is because they always err on the side of the consumer when a questionable transaction or dispute comes about. When making purchases and payments online, there are times when you may want to purchase something but are wary of the site in question and so in those instances I will always use PayPal because I know that if the company doesn't fulfill its promise I will get my money back and not have to worry about my credit card or banking information going into the wrong hands. While their fees are slightly higher than some other payment processors out there, they are still very reasonable and the security and ease of working with them make those extra dollars and cents worth it. If you are looking to shop online and don't have a PayPal account, you are truly missing out as I believe it is the safest and easiest way to shop online.
As I have always been a purchaser of Sony products when it comes to headphones, I was a little slow on getting around to trying the Senheiser brand of headphones. All of my DJ/Producer friends had praised Senheisers for years to me, and I have to say that I really wish that I would have started using them sooner as they are a great pair of headphones. The sound quality almost blows Sony out of the water as far as keeping in sound and giving an overall depth to the sound that you get from these headphones. You could be in the middle of a gunfight, having these on your head with music blasting and not notice a thing going on around you. That is definitely a good thing when you are trying to mix tracks in a noisy club, but probably not too good for your hearing loss, but who cares about that right? :P The one thing that I don't really care for with these is that I am not nuts about the ear cups. It is not as comfortable as the Sony headphones, but if you are using these for professional purposes, I almost think that it is just a minor annoyance to deal with compared to the audio quality these provide. Overall if you are looking for serious headphones that are more than just everyday use, but can't afford the Dr. Dre's then Senheiser is the way to go. They are a bit pricey, but well worth it in my opinion.
If you can afford it, these are worth every penny! The Dr. Dre Beats cannot be topped by anything else out there right now. I don't know what they did to make these so great, but they really are the real deal. I used these for a few hours in my friend's recording studio and it felt like I had a computer chip implanted in my ears broadcasting the music directly into my brain! It was that crisp and clear! I thought I had used good headphones before, but the Dr. Dre Beats are just in a while other category. Super comfortable and the quality is amazing. Plus they look super cool and just make you feel like a true legit musician and/or producer. I don't understand why lots of people that have no involvement in the music industry are using these for everyday headphones, as they are extremely expensive, but I guess if you are a hardcore audiophile there really is nothing that comes close so you may as well buy the best. I can't comment on the durability, but I have not heard first-hand or read anywhere about anything negative about these so I am sure they am made to last for quite some time. Again, if you can afford it there really is nothing that can compare to these so do yourself a favor and pick some up!
Headphones are one of the products that Sony still knows how to make well and these are no exception. While these headphones are not full over the ear headphones, they cover the majority of the ear and do a really good job at keeping outside noise from leaking in. I would say the sound quality overall is about 80% of what the MDR V500DJ does, and considering they are about 60-70% cheaper that is definitely their strong point. As far as comfort and durability are concerned though, they are only about average. Maybe I am too rough with my headphones or I have a big head, but one problem I always seem to have with Sony headphones is that ultimately they end up snapping on me. I can still get a good 2-3 years out of them, but for some of you that may be a problem. The sound quality and ease of use of these though are what makes me continue to purchase Sony headphones, so it's a matter of what your priorities are, but for me sound quality is always the most important. I recommend these for anyone looking for everyday headphones and don't want to deal with earbuds.
I have been in love or at least very strong like with these headphones for well over 10 years now. As a DJ and overall music enthusiast, I have always been in the market for a pair of good quality headphones that are comfortable, sound great and have a long life span and these Sony headphones cover all of those criteria quite well. When it comes to full sized headphones like these, since I do wear them for long periods of time, comfort is one of the most important things for me and above all else, these headphones definitely provide great comfort while they are in use. As far as audio quality is concerned, they do a good job at providing a strong sound quality, but in loud outside environments there is a fair amount of leakage, which doesn't bother me too much but for some it might. As far as durability goes, these things are pretty solid. Admittedly I have snapped 2 pairs and am on my 3rd ones, but I treat mine pretty brutally and they have lasted 3-4 years each so for the price I think it is well worth it. Overall a very solid mid-level headphone great for DJing, production or everyday use.
I consider myself more of an audiophile than the average person, and I've used a lot of different styles and brands of headphones in the past 10-20 years and there's 2 things that I really hate using when it comes to headphones and those are earbuds and poor speaker quality. So when I was in a pinch and needed something to listen to last week, the only thing I had available were my girlfriend's Skullcandy Earbuds and I was expecting the worst since I know how inexpensive they are, but I have to say I was more than pleasantly surprised. The reason why I hate earbuds is because they are usually uncomfortable after about 30 minutes because they never fit in my ear properly. I used the Skullcandy Earbuds for 2-3 hours and it didn't bother me at all the entire time, so for that alone I give these 5 stars. As far as the audio was concerned, they really have a good depth of sound quality for being just a small earbud. It more than did the job as far as I was concerned. I can't comment on the durability, but for $10-20 you really cannot go wrong with these headphones for every day use. You get good value for the price you pay.