When you sign up to a broadband plan with a new internet provider, they inevitably either ask if you’d like an email address, or they nonchalantly ‘provide’ one for you to use. This is one of the provider’s little tricks, because if you use their email account, you’ll have a much harder time leaving their business in the future.

You’ll inevitably end up with questions like, ‘What will happen to my old messages?’ or ‘Will I lose my list of contacts?’ You could even fear no one will know how to contact you once you leave the email address you’ve used for so long, and with which people know how to reach you. Don’t be fooled!

Your best bet is to keep your future internet options open by creating a generic, third party email account with a company like Gmail, YahooMail, or Hotmail. These email accounts will stay with you for the rest of your life, no matter how many different times you move house, change internet providers, or which country you live in! These are large corporations, so they won’t disappear overnight like some smaller internet providers. They’re also provided for free, and only take around five minutes of your time to set up.

Let’s imagine a couple different scenarios:

1. You currently live in Sydney and get your broadband internet through TPG, but you have decided to move to Hobart to start a new life and business. TPG currently don’t provide ADSL broadband in Tasmania, so you decide to hook up internet through iiNet, iPrimus, Netspace, or Exetel. Don’t even think of transferring your email over to one of these new companies. If you have to move house again, wouldn’t you hate to go through the same experience? Open up a Gmail account before the TPG one expires and forward over any important emails, as well as your complete contact list.

2. Next scenario: For whatever reason you decide to leave your current internet provider (it could be because you’re simply looking for a better/cheaper deal, or sadly you may have had a negative experience with your current service provider). As with the previous situation, instead of finishing off your old email account and starting a fresh one at your new ISP, your best bet is to start an email account at one of the major third party services.

These generic email accounts are independent and FREE! If you are unhappy with your new service provider, have to suddenly move, or find a better deal elsewhere in the future, you will never have to worry about transferring over your contact list, losing valuable messages, or having to inform everyone you know you’ve changed email addresses again.