Electronic Statements

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robby69 said: I aggregate everything in YODLEE.. I login once or twice a day and look things over.
I haven't balanced a checkbook or looked at a paper brokerage invoice in years.
Good for you?

edit - nm, didn't realize everyone else had already scolded you

EvilCapitalist said: DavidScubadiver said: I have no idea what you are talking about, or maybe a small idea. Usually if a pdf is created with some sort of restriction on it, you can't re-save it without the restriction, can you? I never heard of a pdf that once opened could be reverted to be unreadable.

Open PDF. Print to office image printer. Open the image in Acrobat. OCR the content. Save PDF

But OCR is not 100% accurate. Proofread everything can be time very consuming; and proofreading don't guaranty catching all errors either.

Paper statements are also an invaluable fall-back should you die and your personal representative or partner/spouse needs to piece together your estate account-by-account.

Yes. I know we all keep impeccable records and have our impeccable processes. But things happen. Been there.

I don't worry about my investments nor accounts at big banks, however; the OP makes a strong point for small institutions such as the ones offering RCA's. I just downloaded all statements and saved them.....of course within a TC volume.

DavidScubadiver said: I use dropbox myself. I will eventually take all of my statements saved on my thumb drive, encrypt them and store them there. I don't like to include unencrypted documents offline because I don't like the idea that someone might access my private information.

One concern I have about dropbox is the ability of it to delete files at will. Although the chances are unlikely, I worry that it may mess up during synchronization and accidentally delete files I don't have any other copies of and leave me SOL. Depending on your OS there are offline synchronization tools such as rsync for linux or DeltaCopy for windows, but then you lose the security of an off-site backup. Using a sync tool on your dropbox directory would solve both problems however.

Regularly download the statement requires significant discipline I do not have, (consistently in time with lots of time and efforts). I got quite a few bank accounts, brokerage accounts and credit card accounts. Each one have different format and some need to be converted. With all the login in, look-up and input password, skip commercials, locate the page, setup download, copy-paste, save as an easy organized name, log-out, file into it own folder and backup. It easily took me several hours to finish all the accounts. If I do them less frequently to save time/efforts, some may no longer be available online beyond the time limits(some shorter than 3 months).

I wish the statements could be email to me automatically so I donít have to remember and put in all the efforts to fetch them. However email is not secured for delivering sensitive information. Most banks I know do not offer email statement not to mention adding password to the statement file. Paper mails are better (but not much) secured and they are sent automatically to me. For now I still keep the paper option until things changed around.

BEEFjerKAY said: Paper statements are also an invaluable fall-back should you die and your personal representative or partner/spouse needs to piece together your estate account-by-account.

Yes. I know we all keep impeccable records and have our impeccable processes. But things happen. Been there.
You were clinically deceased? For how long?

Regarding dropbox deletions, should you accidentally delete a file you can recover it from the deleted files folder.

Ironically, many of us keep our highest balances in the least safe banks because they tend to pay the most interest. I strongly recommend saving brokerage statements or confirmations as they are the only proof of your tax basis and may be necessary in an audit PLUS they speed your SIPC claim up should one be necessary.

I accept e-statements only (without paper statements) for my Reward Checking Accounts because there is no choice if I want to qualify for the higher interest rate. Given a choice though, I prefer paper statements, for the simple reason that paper is the most reliable offline backup media I know of, especially if I need to keep the information for several years. (Keeping that kind of information only on my computer is unacceptable.)

I'm not comfortable backing up my sensitive data over the Internet because, even if it's secure, I've no control over its physical location and ultimately its retrievability. The longer the period of time that I need documents the less comfortable I am with archiving information offline electronically to media such as CDs, DVDs, disks, tape, etc. Standards change, media is subject to becoming obsolete, degradation, and damage.

Now, I love technology. I pay bills online (although I don't accept e-bills only), save images of my payments to PDF files in a structured heirarchy of folders, keep electronic documentation of charitable contributions, etc, etc. But I do all this knowing that if my computer were stolen or damaged irreparably, I still have the best form of backup available: paper.

While standards change, I doubt we'll ever have a pdf reader that is not backwards compatible to the very first PDF that was publicly created. *AND* even if that were to happen one day, you'll have the option not to upgrade your reader or otherwise be able to download an "old" version of the reader to ready your then old electronic statements. Paper surely has its advantages. Its disadvantages are clutter/fire hazard, and easily stolen or viewed if not locked up in a safe. I have to pay for paper statements from my brokerage account, so I opt for electronic statements.

Eventually you may decide to shred your files from 10 years ago because they take up too much storage space in the basement. That is a pain in the rear without a commercial shredder or a wood chipper. I will never have to worry about discarding my statements because they are electronic and take up little space. And I will never have to worry about spontaneous combustion causing me to lose my home.

Some documents I need to keep for longer periods than others and are organized appropriately, making it easy to select what can be shredded at any given time. Fortunately, there are places where you can take boxes of documents to be shredded; in my area, often there are special "shredding events" for which there is no charge.

Reading PDF files requires computer software and hardware. Paper documents require neither. BTW, I am talking about archival offline backup; I don't underestimate the benefits of seeing important financial data on my computer and take advantage of that ability constantly.

I too have community shredding days. But I can't stand the thought of spending a moment's time on a saturday standing in line with my papers. In any case, I am far more concerned about the loss of my digital photos than I am with the loss of my digital bank statements.

40 posts and no one has mentioned that in Quicken (every version since 2006) you can attach your statements to the corresponding account. I've been doing this since 2006.

I just don't recall if the attachments are part of the Quicken file or if they are separately viewable once you attach them. I abandoned Quicken in 2007, and wonder what would have happened to all of my attached statements. I also wonder what happens when Intuit decides to screw you and not support attachments any longer unless you upgrade.

confused200 said: EvilCapitalist said: DavidScubadiver said: I have no idea what you are talking about, or maybe a small idea. Usually if a pdf is created with some sort of restriction on it, you can't re-save it without the restriction, can you? I never heard of a pdf that once opened could be reverted to be unreadable.

Open PDF. Print to office image printer. Open the image in Acrobat. OCR the content. Save PDF

But OCR is not 100% accurate. Proofread everything can be time very consuming; and proofreading don't guaranty catching all errors either.


It is about minimizing risk - OCR of a distilled version of a PDF -statement- has a very high accuracy rate.

DavidScubadiver said:
I just created a folder with subfolders for each account, and am adding my most recent statements for all of my accounts with more than $10 in them. I name the files "Etrade 2010-2" for my February statement, putting the year first because it sorts better when multiple years are saved. I will probably sownload them all over time but that will take a while.


Suggest you use 2 month designators, if you really want the "best" sorting capability... otherwise, you end up with:

2010-1
2010-10
2010-11
2010-12
2010-2
2010-3... etc

HTH!

Technologist said: DavidScubadiver said:
I just created a folder with subfolders for each account, and am adding my most recent statements for all of my accounts with more than $10 in them. I name the files "Etrade 2010-2" for my February statement, putting the year first because it sorts better when multiple years are saved. I will probably sownload them all over time but that will take a while.


Suggest you use 2 month designators, if you really want the "best" sorting capability... otherwise, you end up with:

2010-1
2010-10
2010-11
2010-12
2010-2
2010-3... etc

HTH!
That just does not happen though. My files sort out fine with 2009_1, 2009_2 ... 2009_10. Maybe the - changes it over the _?

DavidScubadiver said: Technologist said: DavidScubadiver said:
I just created a folder with subfolders for each account, and am adding my most recent statements for all of my accounts with more than $10 in them. I name the files "Etrade 2010-2" for my February statement, putting the year first because it sorts better when multiple years are saved. I will probably sownload them all over time but that will take a while.


Suggest you use 2 month designators, if you really want the "best" sorting capability... otherwise, you end up with:

2010-1
2010-10
2010-11
2010-12
2010-2
2010-3... etc

HTH!
That just does not happen though. My files sort out fine with 2009_1, 2009_2 ... 2009_10. Maybe the - changes it over the _?


If you sort by "Date" or "modifed" (which infers date, some software is smart enough to recognize single digit dates. but if you sort "alphabetically" you may run into the problem I mentioned.

I am a long time computer user, and memories of the use of 99 vs 1999 still make me cringe... so I do the same with months (01, 02, 13...11,12 vs 1, 2, 3...11, 12).

Also, if you ever want to list the filesnames inside a spreadsheet, long dates are a must.

Back on topic. I hate electronic statements for most of the reasons mentioned. But for those that I HAVE to receive electronically, I do similar things (to included folders within email programs).

I was sorting alphabetically and had no problems! Anyway, much of the pain in the ass nature of this would be resolved if companies emailed us the statements instead of making us download them ourselves. That way they would already be dated and easy to sort, based on the e-mail headers!

qcumber98 said: BEEFjerKAY said: Paper statements are also an invaluable fall-back should you die and your personal representative or partner/spouse needs to piece together your estate account-by-account.

Yes. I know we all keep impeccable records and have our impeccable processes. But things happen. Been there.
You were clinically deceased? For how long?


No. I was personal representative (executor) for the estate of someone who was. Took months to figure out the what/where of the assets. Still not sure I found everything. Deceased kept meticulous financial records, but was paranoid someone might find them. So finding them was one barrel of fun and deciphering them was the other.

Green for the levity, tho.

DavidScubadiver said: I just don't recall if the attachments are part of the Quicken file or if they are separately viewable once you attach them.


They become part of the Quicken. They seem to have randomly assigned filenames in randomly named folders. You have to open Q to see them.

DavidScubadiver said: I was sorting alphabetically and had no problems! Anyway, much of the pain in the ass nature of this would be resolved if companies emailed us the statements instead of making us download them ourselves. That way they would already be dated and easy to sort, based on the e-mail headers!

isn't this extremely insecure?

I always get paper statements.

Unless they are going to reward me significantly for saving them paper, printing and mailing costs, then I want a hard copy. Most of them collect dust but I keep them. I have been relying for things on line forever now, but I still want that hard copy just in case there is a problem or an issue.

It is certainly easier than me having to print out documents every month. I am very lazy.

Perhaps if they came up with a free service/software that would send your statements to you every month and somehow automatically print out on your computer and/or store them in pdf format, I would be for that. Otherwise why mess with it. I don't want to forget to do it myself or anything else when they can just send it to me.

Plus if they don't use the Post Office who will?

I will say though that some places might be able to send you a monthly statement, but since I opt of that stuff I am not sure.

I would be comfortable with getting sent copies of my statements in my email every month and archiving them that way. Although there are probably some security issues inherent there.

Honestly, until they just stop doing it, or they bribe me more than the measly $5 that some try to use, I will stick with letting them mail it out.

jetsfan92588 said: DavidScubadiver said: Anyway, much of the pain in the ass nature of this would be resolved if companies emailed us the statements instead of making us download them ourselves.
isn't this extremely insecure?

It could be secure. There are several ways to send encrypted emails. I like Enigmail which makes using GnuPG in Thunderbird extremely easy. I would love to be able to login to my account at a bank, upload my gnupg public key, and get statements emailed to me monthly encrypted with that key. The technology to do all that exists, and is really quite usable.

Sadly "public key" and plug-in will make it so the vast majority of people have no idea what the bank is offering and would cause a headache to implement because of questions. Banks love to keep things simple. "Thunderbird" aint exactly maintstream, nor is PGP, or secure email.

EvilCapitalist said: DavidScubadiver said: I have no idea what you are talking about, or maybe a small idea. Usually if a pdf is created with some sort of restriction on it, you can't re-save it without the restriction, can you? I never heard of a pdf that once opened could be reverted to be unreadable.

Open PDF. Print to office image printer. Open the image in Acrobat. OCR the content. Save PDF


Better yet, use CutePDF writer (windows) - mac osx and linux already have print to pdf enabled. Then you just select CutePDF as the printer and it skips the file size gain from scanning plus the paper and hassle.

Mac lets you print to pdf straight from the print menu. I wonder if this does anything different. Fortunately my office has the full version of Adobe Acrobat so I have no difficulty with that sort of thing on the p.c. end.

Ciidane said: DavidScubadiver said: I use dropbox myself. I will eventually take all of my statements saved on my thumb drive, encrypt them and store them there. I don't like to include unencrypted documents offline because I don't like the idea that someone might access my private information.

One concern I have about dropbox is the ability of it to delete files at will. Although the chances are unlikely, I worry that it may mess up during synchronization and accidentally delete files I don't have any other copies of and leave me SOL. Depending on your OS there are offline synchronization tools such as rsync for linux or DeltaCopy for windows, but then you lose the security of an off-site backup. Using a sync tool on your dropbox directory would solve both problems however.


Dropbox actually uses a versioning file system so you can restore any previous version within the last 30 days as well as any changes in files in the last 30 days(free version). The paid version has a longer retention time. Its incredibly useful if you have more than one computer as it syncs the same directory structure across all computers. If you need a similar product - spider oak does all of the above (is also free for up to 2gb) and dosen't restrict you to a given directory structure like dropbox.

I have opted for e-statements at all banks that have that option and the occasional paper notices I receive I scan. It doesn't take me long to save the files and make a backup but it gives me peace of mind.

I've been hoping Yodlee would implement a statement grabber and aggregator. They're in a good position to do so, they have the information to do it...but for now they are just doing balances and transactions (and I'm sure other stuff...this is simplified)..

But yodlee probably will get this going finally and I'd love to see that.

For now I save mine to PDFs once about every 2.6 years whenever i think about it...and then it's halfassed and disorganized... in otherwords i dont have myself covered...it's too much damned work.

edit: I keep everything in truecrypt archives so it's not unencrypted wide open..

Just start now, glenatuf. Save you most current statements for each acccount as you sign into them and you'll have a base to build on. Pain in the ass, yes, but not as big a pain in the ass as it could be if your bank is shut down and you need to prove your balance for some reason...

Lazyman option:
Reminder set for January 15th every year to download all 12 previous year statements for all accounts. All files manually uploaded to bank undelated storage site for easy reference. Copy stored in encryped usb at bank safe deposit box. Possibly unwise to depend on banks to store same year statements but I can only go thru this process once a year.

Saving all of mine using TrueCrypt.

DavidScubadiver said:

I just created a folder with subfolders for each account, and am adding my most recent statements for all of my accounts with more than $10 in them. I name the files "Etrade 2010-2" for my February statement, putting the year first because it sorts better when multiple years are saved. I will probably sownload them all over time but that will take a while.


I do something similar with a different naming convention...I also throw all the T&C's and disclosures that usually come with a new account, and screenshots of completed bonus requirements/offer pages/etc...Since storage is so cheap and it only takes a couple seconds every month to download all the statements I figure it doesn't hurt to have those kinds of records even if none of your banks closes.

Good point. I also started adding my T&C's to the file.

DWooley said: Lazyman option:
Reminder set for January 15th every year to download all 12 previous year statements for all accounts. All files manually uploaded to bank undelated storage site for easy reference. Copy stored in encryped usb at bank safe deposit box. Possibly unwise to depend on banks to store same year statements but I can only go thru this process once a year.


That's what online backups are for.



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