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I have been a client of MetroBank since a few years ago and just love it. My recent experience with Aldermore has also been nice.

Anyone tried any of the others?


I was very happy with MetroBank until I moved away from London; they don't have a branch in Manchester yet. Also, their debit card now charges for purchases outside of Europe so they would charge me for AWS purchases.

Now I'm with Halifax; the customer service is no where near as good, but at least I have a Mastercard with free foreign currency transactions.


My Halifax branch staff have always been wonderful; fortunately for me, said branch is five minutes' walk from my office so I can basically go via there when walking into town to scavenge lunch. Otherwise, yeah, YMMV.

Can you expand on "Not investing your money isn't safe either."?

Cash is at the whim of the government.

When Icesave crashed in 2008, the Icelandic government refused to honour deposit insurance. I haven't followed the case, but it seems that depositors have started getting their money back. Cyprus confiscated 48% of all uninsured deposits in 2013, IIRC, at the time, they considered digging into the insured deposits as well. Greece was on the brink of leaving the Euro, imposing strict capital controls for over a month last summer. Had they left the Euro, all deposits would like have been forcefully converted to a new non-Euro currency, worth substantially less.

Finally, practically all mature countries (ie. those issuing cash you might want to hold) maintain some level of inflations, so you have a constant, negative return on any cash holdings. Even US treasury bonds and UK gilts, which isn't cash, and isn't "not investing", but is among some of the absolute safest investments, just barely keeps up with inflation.


I understand your point but the specifics about the European Union countries have changed a little since 2008, meaning nowadays all EU countries banks savings are really saved in any case up to 100k euros. This way, isn't money (up to 100k euros) considered safe in your view?

Inflation is something you still need to keep your eyes on but was there ever a case (say, in the last 10, 20 years) in the EU were inflation was higher than the median savings account interest rates? I honestly have no idea but I know for sure since 2011 interest rates have always been higher than the inflation rate in the UK, for example. If this were a fact of savings accounts in the EU then inflation is not really something to be affraid of.

Obviously I'm using "save" as "making just a bit of a money while taking zero risk".


> This way, isn't money (up to 100k euros) considered safe in your view?

Not if they're in a greek account, for sure. They're better off in an account in a north-western EU country, but the Euro may still fail catastrophically.

Anyway, it's not about weighing risks, the GP was making a rhetorical point about being perfectly safe. Nothing is perfectly safe. For anything less that €100k, a bank account is a very safe place, and you can probably get a savings account that tracks reasonably closely to inflation. But it's not "making just a bit of a money while taking zero risk", it's "possibly breaking even with inflation, while taking microscopic risk". Unless you're only holding the money for a very short period of time, you're almost certainly better off sticking it in an investment vehicle with an acceptable (non-zero) risk profile.


The ECB has a 2% inflation target for the Euro. A regular bank account used to yield something like 0.25%, but for the last few years most have dropped yield altogether, in fact many have started charging for accounts.

So except for the last two-three years of freak financial conditions (low interest / low inflation), holding cash would lose you money rather fast.


Cash is eroded away by inflation. If your currency hits high inflation for years continuously, like we had in Iceland (yes, I'm from there), going up to 25%, your cash isn't worth shit in 5 years time.

I've experienced that. My parents experienced that. They had no "investments", kept their money in low-interest savings accounts, yet somehow their life savings was no longer enough to buy a used Toyota.

Want to get more strange? What about war? How much is your money worth in case WW3 breaks out? Hardly likely? sure. Is it possible? absolutely.

The point is, nothing is "safe", just different levels of risky.


Sure, I do agree that nothing is safe. But an EU law protecting savings up to 100k eur is an order of magnitude safer than a very small (though beautiful) country, completely isolated in the middle of nowhere with it's own currency were banks where marketing saving accounts much much higher than the inflation rates, right? It's not even comparable.

I'm visiting Iceland in March, I'm affraid I might enjoy it a bit too much, enough to make me want to live there. :)


I'm not that overweight (around 77kg for 1.81m). Last week I went for a trial at a gym and tried a treadmill for the first time in my life, I got to 180bpm in around 30secs at 5kph. I don't do much exercise besides walking 5 to 10km almost everyday and the rare (and slow) 10mins run. The bpm were measured by the treadmill itself, not sure how accurate that is.

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Threadmill lies to me pretty much all the time. In most cases it doesn't even work for me. Unless you have a medical condition, it is very unlikely that you'll get 180bpm from 5km/h walk (mine usually don't go above 150 even going uphill with 20 pounds weight vest on my shoulders). 180bpm is 3 hearbeats every second - pretty easy to check with finger on your wrist.

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5kph is walking pace (a shade over 3mph) and I'd guess that 180bpm was inaccurate - may be a doubled 90bpm?

Anecdata: Last summer I was considerably heavier than 77kg, carrying 5kg of stuff, walking 51km in 10 (hot sunny) hours, and averaged 105bpm (max of 119bpm).

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Yeah, maybe the reading was incorrect but I do get a spike in bpms whenever I run or climb stairs. I don't get it when walking or weight training. Might need to check this with some exam...

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I'd say it's to avoid a monopoly.

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"Whomever you think is to blame for the sorry state of Web browsing, content blockers have a kind of ratcheting effect: Once you turn one on, chances are you won't see the kind of high-quality ads that might convince you to turn it off again. It also involves the risk that you'll miss whatever advertisers or publishers come up with to make the Web better again.", said no one ever.

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That "ratcheting effect" is by design.

Similarly, anti-virus software has a "ratcheting effect" in that once you install them, you don't get to see the kind of high-quality viruses and trojans that might convince your computer to encrypt all your files or give up your bank passwords.

Installing an ad blocker has become another one of those "hygiene" steps that you do whenever you set up a new PC: Install Anti-virus, install OS-provided updates, install ad-blocker.

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>install OS-provided updates

Windows is working pretty hard to reverse this. At the very least you now have to scan through the updates to uncheck the telemetric ones.

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I think StackOverflow is the only site I've visited with relevant ads that are not terribly intrusive. In fact that is the only site I've have Ad Block Plus disabled for. There are sites with good ads, but they are rare to the point that they might as well be considered to not exist.

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I actually think the ads on Facebook are done in a transparent and un-annoying way. Unfortunately, they only show me two things:

1. Geeky shirts with "clever" sayings on them (since they know I'm a programmer, I guess).

2. Things I've already recently bought on Amazon (or elsewhere).

In the first case, what they know about me leads to a severely mistaken impression regarding something else about me. In the second case, what they know about me is already outdated.

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What a high quality ad is supposed to be? If the product is any good I'll get to know it anyway.

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There are ads that can be enjoyable. It is just short entertainment. My wife and I both thought of a commercial from Target where Santa was running to the store in the middle of the night in a partially empty parking lot. https://vimeo.com/55792604

I looked up to watch that one when it would come on. It was fun. I mute the TV when I get too many drug and insurance commercials.

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I don't mind ads inside my content, as long as it's not too obvious.

My family has been watching The Amazing Race. It's an enjoyable reality show with not much drama. Ford and Travelocity are all over the show, but it fits with the theme and isn't overly intrusive.

Now, Nissan's Rogue ad in Heroes? Good god, I hated that.

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My "favorites" were the Bing searches in Hawaii Five-o: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfHuZ5qrYX4

I guess it worked, since I remember the ads (even though I didn't follow the show). I still don't use Bing, though.

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Yeah. I'd attach many adjectives to the ads I've seen over the years, but "high-quality" is not one of them.

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Eh. I noticed web ads got a lot worse exactly when Mozilla started shipping Firefox with a pop-up blocker enabled by default. Not saying it justifies anything, just that the immediate effect is real.

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I'm sure it wouldn't take long to find someone willing to work for that salary so you wouldn't pay income tax but someone else would (and that someone else would also take another step on the social mobility ladder, etc). If you were to quit, you would have some money invested, you would continue helping the economy by buying things, and someone else would take your job and eventually be better off. Sounds like a win-win for the society/economy.

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I think both of you are wrong -- he wouldn't quit his well paying job just because he got a basic income of 800 euros, BUT, SHOULD he quit, it would not be so easy to replace him. Sure there would be people willing to work for that salary, but would they be able to? If he would be so easily replaceable, would he still earn a high salary?

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We are not talking about Cristiano Ronaldo here. This person does seem to have a very good salary but it doesn't mean he isn't replaceable. About it being easy, I'd say it depends on a lot of different things but based on his salary, I would say there are more people qualified for those tasks.

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"More than half the cost will be offset by Price's pay cut."

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I believe that's the US proposed FairTax, isn't it?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FairTax

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Can you cite "many" examples? Some people might think that, others might be trying to reach a country speaking a language they can understand, trying to reach their family, etc, etc. Data would help when claiming something like that.

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But luck does play a bigger role than most would think as one can work as hard as possible and not be lucky enough to succeed. It's hard to define luck though so it might be highly subjective.

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Agree. You can have all the skills in the world, but sometimes you need fate (or whatever you want to call it) to fall in your favour.

A small example, not related to this, but when I started DJing about 15 years ago, I put on a party that was a warm-up party for a bigger night. I told John Digweed (who was running the bigger party) about it. John Digweed was one of the worlds biggest DJs at that point, and as 'luck' would have it he was releasing a new mix CD. So the world's music press was there to interview him.

He came down to my party with the world's press and suddenly my first ever party was in magazines across the globe. I started getting offers of gigs all over the world after that. There were much better DJs around (I was pretty average back then), but I'd had the stroke of luck which ended up in a pretty successful 'career' (I put it in quotes because I always treated it as a hobby, but by most people's measurements it was pretty successful).

Knowledge and skill is obviously important, but luck definitely plays a role, especially when it comes to areas of life that very few succeed in.

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"You make your own luck." There were a sequence of events that lead to you getting the opportunity to be in the right place at the right time.

Random luck happens for sure, but how did you get to put on a warm-up for one of the biggest DJs in the world? I'd guess because of some conscious work you did, not because he picked a phone number in the book at random.

You told him about your party after getting the gig. He probably wouldn't have gone if you had not. That kind of networking and effort is a skill just as much as selecting the right music.

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I did it independently in a different venue around the corner from the main night. I saw it as a courtesy to tell him what I was doing, and the rest is history. Clearly I had to spend time learning how to DJ, buying the right records, promoting it, etc. So there was definitely an aspect of making my own luck, but that is also what many wannabe DJs do without success.

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Meh. This is just a silly semantics game. I think it's very wise and empathetic to just accept that sometimes you just get lucky, instead of trying to coop credit for it by saying "well I put the effort to be there to receive that luck in the first place!".

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