The following post is not endorsed by USAA, I don’t work for USAA and don’t represent them. I’m just a very satisfied customer.
I’ve been a member of USAA since about 1987. I have my auto and renter’s insurance through them, my non-TSP investments through them and I do the vast majority of my banking through them.
USAA – United Services Automobile Association, was founded in 1922 by a group of Army officers who were having trouble with insurance and wanted a better answer. USAA used to be only for military officers, but recently has opened up membership to all members of the military, active, reserve, retired (basically anyone who has ever served) and their families.
I believe the main reason USAA is such a popular company, especially with the military, is their world-renown customer service. I have never spoken to a bad customer service rep at USAA. They are always supremely professional, knowledgeable about their products, and are able to quickly accomplish my tasks.
Customer service is important, but the main reason I stay with USAA is their products and pricing are unparalleled. In fact, on multiple occasions when I’ve been asked by other car insurance companies who I use, when I tell them USAA, they quickly let me know they can’t compete. That is saying something.
If you are eligible for USAA, you should really have a membership. We moved to USAA for our banking a few years ago and were a little leary about not having a local branch to visit. With USAA’s refunds on ATM fees, smartphone apps for depositing checks and powerful web services for any other banking needs, we haven’t missed a local branch.
USAA recently re-tooled their website and now offers Mint.com like tracking ability for your accounts. You can fill in categories for your spending and USAA will help you figure out where your money is going. Not as powerful as say a YNAB solution, but handy to keep track of your budget.
Who do you use for banking/insurance/investments?by Rich
When he heard I was considering semi-retirement after my Navy retirement, a good friend and mentor told me I really needed to think about quality of life. He is absolutely right of course, no one wants a bad quality of life. The challenge of course is defining the term. Quality of Life means different things to different people.
What does it mean to you? Is it family? Wealth? Health? A cool car? Security? Vacations? Each person has to define QOL for themselves. At other times in my life, QOL meant a job I enjoyed, a healthy happy family and enough money to live “the good life”.Now as I reach the end of my Navy career, the thing I value the most is time.
Time is our most precious resource, you can’t buy any more of it, you have to make the most of what you have. In my case, I am willing to slightly decrease some creature comforts such as a new car every few years and a huge McMansion of a house in favor of more time with my family and more time to pursue hobbies that interest me.
Do you look forward to the weekend? I know I do. It represents a chance to slow down and relax, stop thinking about work and enjoy some time off. My new definition of QOL is having a weekend every day. That’s what I want.
So that is my current focus. Decrease our current out of pocket expenses, pay off debt to allow us to start saving seriously for a big down-payment on a retirement home.
How do you define Quality of Life?by Rich
About a year and a half ago, I started shaving with a double edge safety razor. I have several vintage razors, most of which I bought on ebay for $10-20. I buy double edge blades online at pennies per blade and each blade lasts me about a week. Compare this to a current Gillette 5 bladed razor at over $3 a piece and you can see you can save some money over time. I shave every weekday (the Navy is fairly adamant about that) and usually skip it on the weekends.
One of my favorite razors is the Gillette “Fat Boy” produced in the late 50s through the early 60s. It is adjustable, changing the angle and how much blade can reach your skin.
I have a couple favorite blades, Feathers which are made in Japan and Gillette Black Platinum, which are made in India. Based on discussions on several shaving sites (www.badgerandblade.com is my favorite) different folks have different favorite blades so YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary).
I find that I enjoy shaving after years of it being a chore. Now I enjoy the different shave soaps, no shave goop for me, soaps and a nice horsehair shaving brush (other options are badger hair and boar). It is a nice experience I enjoy every time I shave. My favorite soaps are made by Mama Bears.
One danger of DE shaving is what some in the hobby refer to as AD or Acquisition Disorder where you end up buying more and more razors, blade, soaps, brushes and other accouterments. I will admit, I suffered from a mild case of AD at first, but now that I have discovered which razors I like, as well as blades and soap, I’m happy with what I have and only buy soaps when I need a replacement.
Now, the reason DE is called a Safety razor is that it replaced a straight razor. I will admit, I haven’t tried straights yet, but many people swear by them.
Any other DE shavers out there? What are your favorite blades/razors/soaps?
Let me know in the comments.