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Electronic Statements

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DavidScubadiver
3/9/10 6:03 AM
I have opted for electronic statements for my bank and brokerage accounts, but never download them and rarely even open them, figuring that so long as my moneydance balance matches my online balance there is no need.

I always figured that a year's worth of statements would be available if needed. However, when the FDIC stormtroopers closed Centennial Bank of Ogden, Utah and closed the website without notice, I realized just how foolish it is to rely on the financial institution to maintain my records.

If a website is closed and you must prove your balance to a regulator because you have or believe you have more money than the regulator's records show, life is much easier with bank and brokerage statements than without. When the brokerage firm fails and you have to put in a claim, those who have their last statement get paid before those who do not.
Perhaps it is obvious, but given the rate of bank failures, and the possibility of broker failures, I thought it a good idea to remind others of the need to preserve electronic statements.

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.
WikiPost
3/9/10 6:03 AM
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larrymoencurly
3/9/10 6:26 AM
DavidScubadiver said:

I have opted for electronic statements for my bank and brokerage accounts, but never download them and rarely even open them, figuring that so long as my moneydance balance matches my online balance there is no need.

I always figured that a year's worth of statements would be available if needed. However, when the FDIC stormtroopers closed Centennial Bank of Ogden, Utah and closed the website without notice, I realized just how foolish it is to rely on the financial institution to maintain my records.

If a website is closed and you must prove your balance to a regulator because you have or believe you have more money than the regulator's records show, life is much easier with bank and brokerage statements than without. When the brokerage firm fails and you have to put in a claim, those who have their last statement get paid before those who do not.

And even if your bank doesn't fail, you probably have only 60 days to get any mistakes fixed, so always check bank statements. Several years ago, Wells Fargo was regularly making small surcharges to my account, and one time I was debited a monthly premium payment by an insurance company I had never heard of before.
DavidScubadiver
3/9/10 6:58 AM
That's why I reconcile my account every month to make sure I know if there are any charges that do not belong. I just rarely needed to look at the statement to do that, or if I did, I did not bother keeping a record of the statement. Now I'll just routinely save my statements. Better practice for a host of reasons, but the "convenience" of online statements is somewhat overstated if I have to either print them or save them myself.
gatzdon
3/9/10 11:13 AM
Same story with the Netbank failure. No website, no statements.

I always opt for paper statements unless there's a big enough carrot to switch to e-statements.

Even then, I re-distill the pdf before saving it.

One thing that always concerns me with electronic statements is DRM that Microsoft and everyone else keeps pushing. All I need now is that some bright IT guy at a bank justifying his existence implements the default DRM into the pdfs, then when the DRM server goes down, I can't open my pdf's.

I hadn't heard of anyone getting carried away with DRM and e-statements, but with the big push for greater security, I'm guessing it will happen sooner or later.
lillazyfats81
3/9/10 11:53 AM
this is the exact reason why I sign up for a free Mozy 2gb online backup account..to keep all my statements and tax docs

there is currently a promo going on if you sign up with my link you and I both get an extra 512mb (so 2.5gb total for you as opposed to 2gb)

pm me for the link

PS- not soliciting, just sharing
DavidScubadiver
3/9/10 12:21 PM
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.
DavidScubadiver
3/9/10 12:24 PM
lillazyfats81 said:

this is the exact reason why I sign up for a free Mozy 2gb online backup account..to keep all my statements and tax docs

there is currently a promo going on if you sign up with my link you and I both get an extra 512mb (so 2.5gb total for you as opposed to 2gb)

pm me for the link

PS- not soliciting, just sharing

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.
samiam68
3/9/10 1:01 PM
Saved on my home PC (encrypted), mirrored on a backup drive and thumb drive (both encrypted). Also, print and file paper copies in a locked file cabinet.
DavidScubadiver
3/9/10 1:05 PM
samiam68 said:

Saved on my home PC (encrypted), mirrored on a backup drive and thumb drive (both encrypted). Also, print and file paper copies in a locked file cabinet.

My goodness. You clearly have a lot of time on your hand. Why on earth would you bother to print them out if you have electronic copies everywhere? Are you afraid of an EMP attack?
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