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Old 05-12-2016, 07:47 AM   #21
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Organize? What's that?
+1 , however I do toss everything in a box "per year". Once a box is a year old, it's tossed. (shredded) Except for tax returns. Those I keep in individual folders for 5 years. I do keep a couple of spreadsheets for stock trades and total net worth but that's it.
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Old 05-12-2016, 08:23 AM   #22
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I think one of my biggest challenges right now is that we have a lot of investment / banking accounts, even after consolidation. It just generates an unholy amount of paper every month and then every quarter.
I don't understand this at all. I haven't received paper statements from anything in years -- I just get an email when a new statement is ready, and I download the pdf.

A dozen different financial institutions (banks and brokerages), and they all do the same thing --no paper.

Scanning the few documents that do come by mail is easy, because there are so few.
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Old 05-12-2016, 08:26 AM   #23
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OK. This all sounds similar to what I had in mind.

I think one of my biggest challenges right now is that we have a lot of investment / banking accounts, even after consolidation. It just generates an unholy amount of paper every month and then every quarter.

How much time per month does everyone spend with the scanning / file management? We're in the accumulation phase, so I assume the time budget will go up once we're actually drawing down these accounts and have to pay attention to the order of acquisition, etc.
Most banks and investment companies offer electronic statements that can be downloaded from their website. That would save scanning and disposing of the paper statements. Consider asking the banks you have accounts with if they offer this service.
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Old 05-12-2016, 09:03 AM   #24
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For me, a combination of paper and electronic. I must admit that I keep too much stuff and need to get rid of stuff I don't need anymore like very old bank paper copies of bank statements or blank checks where the accounts are closed.
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Old 05-12-2016, 09:53 AM   #25
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Organize? What's that?
+3

I don't think what I do would be called organizing though things that aren't electronic from source do eventually find there way into a pile and then a file cabinet (usually) eventually. This is yet another reason that I am a KISS principle advocate and adherent.
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Old 05-12-2016, 10:03 AM   #26
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In my defense, I track major expenses in a spreadsheet, but "incidentals" are poorly tracked, if at all. I still have checks, so I can't possibly be broke...
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Old 05-12-2016, 10:18 AM   #27
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I have just done a transaction, and the tax folks wanted copies of ALL my tax statements on that item going back to when I first included this item in my tax returns.

So much for the 7 year rule, I'm glad I didn't throw any tax stuff out.
After all its not hard to keep a box of folders tucked in a corner.
I've heard of this before. For that reason tax returns are forever. Tax returns stay in a hanging file for 7 years - then are put into a manila envelope and put in the "older records" box in the bottom of the spare room closet.

Other records are kept electronically in quicken and turbotax... I take a copy of these files on a thumb drive to the safe deposit box every 6 months or so. Quicken is backed up weekly to an external hard drive.
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Old 05-12-2016, 10:19 AM   #28
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Like others here, we opted out of paper copies wherever possible. They few things we still get on paper are scanned in as pdf's and/or just shredded. And our old paper records were all scanned and pitched years ago. All on my hard drive and backed up to an external hard drive, so plenty safe. And some can be accessed online if we ever lose anything.

I efile taxes, so there's no printed copy of returns. I do keep paper copies of last seven years of W-2's, 1099's etc.

DW keeps all CC receipts.

The only other paper records we still have that I can think of are SS cards, passports, car/boat titles, birth certs, jewelry appraisals, current insurance, marriage license, wills/etc. - all in a fireproof safe.
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Old 05-12-2016, 10:37 AM   #29
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My accountant told me to keep tax documents for 3 years. If the IRS finds income not disclosed, a substantial mistake or fraud they can go back up to 6 years.

From the IRS website:

How far back can the IRS go to audit my return?

Generally, the IRS can include returns filed within the last three years in an audit. Additional years can be added if a substantial error is identified. Generally, if a substantial error is identified, the IRS will not go back more than the last six years.
The IRS tries to audit tax returns as soon as possible after they are filed. Accordingly most audits will be of returns filed within the last two years.
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Old 05-12-2016, 11:01 AM   #30
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Tax forms are saved in PDF form and my computer is backed up regularly. I also have paper copies (plus other documentation) that I keep in the safety deposit (only keep 7 years worth). I used to keep statements from the brokerage firms to keep track of cost basis, but they all do that for you now. Other than that I have a queue of 3 months for bills. After 3 months, they go to the shredders.
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Old 05-12-2016, 11:52 AM   #31
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Thank you for this thread. I am surprised a lot of people still get paper statements. For folks who are paperless and download their statements, where do you keep the downloaded statements? I feel like putting them on google drive (currently on my laptop) but I worry about security of putting them on the cloud. But then, my mind argues that I have my taxes on Turbotax online and miscellaneous important documents online and I don't worry about them at all...

Where do you keep yours?


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Old 05-12-2016, 11:55 AM   #32
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PDFs are stored locally, in encrypted drive. Backing up to google drive or other place sounds reasonable. I would make an encrypted archive and upload that rather than 1000 files.
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Old 05-12-2016, 12:34 PM   #33
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I don't keep downloaded statements; in fact, I don't typically download them. If bank statement or credit card, I'll open on screen, reconcile the account in quicken and close them. Only if reconciling is proving difficult, or DW wants to see the past month do I download and print for quick review before shredding.

If I need statements for some reason, they are accessible through our online accounts.
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Old 05-12-2016, 12:39 PM   #34
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My organization is divided into two areas, current receipts/statements and historical records such as tax filings, associated receipts, calculations etc.

For current receipts/statements, I scan paper copies of bank, Vanguard, Fidelity, etc. statements to dated titled pdfs. Download broker statements & dated title. Download credit card statements & date title. Scan credit card receipts to date title store id'd pdf files. Store all on small external HD under organizational & sub-folder year. After putting on small external HD, I disconnect it from computer. Put all paper copies into shred box and wait for yearly local shredding event (typically sponsored by local RE office). Watch shredding truck load multiple boxes of papers to be shredded and watch them shredded.

Once a month I do a differential copy of small external HD files to larger external encrypted HD to aggregate all new & old files. I copy larger encrypted HD file to flash drive and swap it out with prior months flash drive in bank safe deposit box.

Hope this helps you.
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Old 05-12-2016, 01:01 PM   #35
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The only paper I have are tax returns sitting in the basement.

All my other financial records are kept at the bank, brokerage, etc. They let me log on and view anytime I want and is nicely organized.
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Old 05-12-2016, 01:15 PM   #36
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I don't keep downloaded statements; in fact, I don't typically download them. If bank statement or credit card, I'll open on screen, reconcile the account in quicken and close them. Only if reconciling is proving difficult, or DW wants to see the past month do I download and print for quick review before shredding.

If I need statements for some reason, they are accessible through our online accounts.
Yes, right, but from what I can tell, the records online only go back about 3 years. Do you see it (3 years worth of info) good enough? (Same thing with my HSA account) From what people stated here, IRS usually only cares about 3 years worth of data, so maybe it is good enough..?
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Old 05-12-2016, 01:39 PM   #37
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Yes, right, but from what I can tell, the records online only go back about 3 years. Do you see it (3 years worth of info) good enough? (Same thing with my HSA account) From what people stated here, IRS usually only cares about 3 years worth of data, so maybe it is good enough..?
Since everything other than cash pocket-money purchases is detailed and categorized in quicken, I can't think of any reason I'd need a hard copy from three years ago for the bulk of financial transactions.... (In any event, just checked online and I can request a copy back to May 2009 statement for my BoA credit card and checking accounts with no charge.)

Agree on the HSA--those receipts, which are not part of a financial statement, are in a folder and pdf'd on my hard drive and backups; but once we apply them to draw money out, they'll go into the pertinent tax folder/scan. Similarly, receipts and contracts for additions to house basis are scanned in, as they provide details not present on the financial institution statements.
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Old 05-12-2016, 04:10 PM   #38
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I don't keep downloaded statements; in fact, I don't typically download them. If bank statement or credit card, I'll open on screen, reconcile the account in quicken and close them. Only if reconciling is proving difficult, or DW wants to see the past month do I download and print for quick review before shredding.

If I need statements for some reason, they are accessible through our online accounts.


I am bad....When I received financial statements in mail, I filed them all away. When I went paperless several years ago, I printed off everything. In past year or two, I haven't kept a copy of anything. I just look on my online account. I need to print quarterly statements just to do something to prove I own something, I suppose.
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Old 05-12-2016, 04:22 PM   #39
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I am bad....When I received financial statements in mail, I filed them all away. When I went paperless several years ago, I printed off everything. In past year or two, I haven't kept a copy of anything. I just look on my online account. I need to print quarterly statements just to do something to prove I own something, I suppose.
Then again, if we have an EMP or another Carrington Event, you may be better situated than those of us who are all electronic!
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Old 05-12-2016, 04:42 PM   #40
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For taxes I use Turbotax and can download almost everything. The main thing that needs to go in manually is charitable. I don't have any rentals though.
all investments are at SCHWAB and available online for 10 yrs. I had a minor business for over a decade (never really took off) so I keep that for 3+ yrs.
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