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Online Storage of Documents
Old 12-02-2009, 08:17 PM   #1
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Online Storage of Documents

One thing I am working on doing is reducing the number of accounts we have, however with the remaining accounts I want to move totally away from having paper copies of anything. I am talking about bank statements, trading accounts, 401ks etc.

For those of you who don't keep paper copies how do you store the copies of the documents you need to keep? Do you scan everything into your PC and if so what do you use? Is it possible to store these things on line securely so you could acess from anywhere in the world?
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Old 12-02-2009, 09:11 PM   #2
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Scan, encrypt and upload to a service like box.net. Make sure and use tough passwords for tighter security.

You might be able to find a scanning solution that also has online backups. Anyone have suggestions on one easy system to use for this?
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Old 12-02-2009, 09:36 PM   #3
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I have gone 100% digital last year. When online statements are available, I just save them as PDFs. Otherwise I scan the paper statements using a high speed scanner, the Xerox DocuMate 510, which has made scanning my entire file cabinet a breeze. I encrypt everything and save 3 copies. One copy stays on my hard drive, one copy goes on a backup drive and one copy goes in a safe location. I was thinking about backing everything up online, but I have safety/privacy concerns.
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Old 12-02-2009, 09:41 PM   #4
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I scan everything to PDFs and keep it on 3 different computers and on an external drive. I plan to burn it to DVDs periodically and store offsite but haven't done it yet.
I haven't yet saved to online storage but am thinking about doing that.

For statements and stuff I also tend to download as PDF.

For instructions and manuals I look on the internet for a pdf of it and usually find one. I have even found some very obscure old manuals that I then saved as a DPF and then threw away the old manuals. I have some paper files but not a lot (passports, birth certificate, deed, car title, that kind of thing).
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Old 12-02-2009, 09:53 PM   #5
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Regarding archiving photos and documents on DVDs, I was alarmed when reading that some recordable DVDs and CDRs did not last that long. Indeed, I have had some discs going bad on me after only a couple of years. Note that I always do a verify-after-write pass to ensure that the disc was good immediately after it was written.

Search on the Web for "DVD life expectancy" and you will see that it is a real concern. We may not know if a brand or even a production lot is good until after the fact!
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Old 12-02-2009, 10:04 PM   #6
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Convert quarterly and yearly statements to PDF. Store in TrueCrypt volume on my PC.
Backup.
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To those with DVD life expectancy concerns
Old 12-03-2009, 10:51 AM   #7
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To those with DVD life expectancy concerns

I share your concern. I haven't done it yet, but I'm planning to get one of those hard drive "toaster" boxes like these:

Amazon.com: Thermaltake BlacX Duet USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive ST0014U: Electronics

Hard Drive Docks, Hard Drive Caddy at TigerDirect.com

Or just a few more of the small, portable USB drives (more expensive in the long run). In either case, the drive should fit in a small safety deposit box.

I keep backups for the whole family on a number of external hard drives (full clones of the systems, so DVDs are too small). I need to get one of these off-site.

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Old 12-03-2009, 07:14 PM   #8
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I use Data Deposit Box for my storage and have for about 3-4 years. It's an online service that automatically backs up your computer documents and files. It is really great and I wouldn't be without it. A few years ago my computer crashed and it wiped out my computer AND the external hard drive that I had with it so I lost everything.

The computer I bought after that had a separate partition for file storage and back up so I stored my files and documents there, in the regular computer area, and on Data Deposit Box. That computer crashed in October. The hard drive and partition were both fried. The computer wouldn't even turn on. The online storage really saved me. I consider it the equivalent of an online safe deposit box and I wouldn't go without it. If your documents are important I would strongly recommend an online storage service.
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Old 12-03-2009, 07:29 PM   #9
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Out of curiosity, what type of document are you all storing. Other than my bank statements and IRA statements, I can not think of anything I need to save.
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Old 12-03-2009, 07:37 PM   #10
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I store every document that I wouldn't want to lose in case of a crash/fire/theft/etc. - bank statements, tax returns, receipts, photos, contracts, deeds, documents, etc.
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Old 12-03-2009, 07:43 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rustic23 View Post
Out of curiosity, what type of document are you all storing. Other than my bank statements and IRA statements, I can not think of anything I need to save.
Bank, credit card, and brokerage statements
Tax returns
Pay stubs
Online purchase receipts (for proof of state sales tax payment)
Medical records
Copies of important documents (deeds, passports, SS cards...)
Car maintenance records
Household inventory (for insurance purposes) with copies of receipts
etc...
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Old 12-03-2009, 08:57 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rustic23 View Post
Out of curiosity, what type of document are you all storing. Other than my bank statements and IRA statements, I can not think of anything I need to save.
Simple - everything.

If it was worth saving to my hard drive, or bookmarking, it gets backed up. Including emails.

Every once in a while, I sort emails by sender and delete the news reports or ads/announcements I've signed up for. Outside of that it is easier to save it than sort it and delete the ones I might not want.

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Old 12-03-2009, 10:47 PM   #13
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You know how it goes...those who make backups are ones who have been burned before and know better. Others who don't backup think data loss won't happen to them
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Old 12-04-2009, 06:08 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rustic23 View Post
Out of curiosity, what type of document are you all storing. Other than my bank statements and IRA statements, I can not think of anything I need to save.
I have a database with contact information for many items (accounts, family data, passwords) stored in an encrypted volume, and also have summaries of our financial data going back 20 years.

PDF's of our taxes, and also for family members are stored there.

How many are storing data in encrypted volumes?
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Old 12-04-2009, 08:24 AM   #15
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Look into mozy.com for online backup of your data. The drawback is that your scanned data needs to reside on your computer (or attached drive) to get backed up. The advantage is that it is automatic and backups can be scheduled to happen daily or even whenever your computer is idle.

Their service is free for up to 2GB of data. I used that for a few years before switching to a paid service. They charge about $5/mo to back up an unlimited amount of data from one computer, and have discounts for longer commitments. I've read about them in the popular press, and they have been around for at least 3 years.
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Old 12-04-2009, 09:15 AM   #16
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OK,
I will rephrase. Id do backup computer data, data bases, bookmarks, and for sure pictures. I save my most current bank statement, and IRA statements. I keep 10 years of tax returns and the backup data. I never thought of scanning all those and savinging them online or on disk. I now use Gmail to save some emails I consider important. However, no where near all email.

Other than digital data I have deleted, I don't ever remember needing or using paper data I have saved. That's why I was curious as to what others were saving. Thanks.
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Old 12-04-2009, 09:54 AM   #17
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OK,

I keep 10 years of tax returns and the backup data. I never thought of scanning all those and savinging them online or on disk.
I've been using TurboTax and now TaxAct for many years. I always "print to pdf" all the output, so I have all that electronically and it gets backed up. I never went through the effort to scan paper receipts and such.

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Old 12-04-2009, 10:28 AM   #18
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I started digitizing everything about 8 years ago and went thru every method possible and I finally came to the conclusion. DO NOT USE ONLINE BACKUP.

I've now had two online backup companies go out of business with nothing more than a weeks notice. One sold out to another company and since my account was FREE, they deleted it. So, other than the control you have with encryption and passwords, you are subject to whatever they decide to do business wise.

Now, I use a basic scanner that is quick (no need for hi-resolution) and just scan once per month to a single PDF with multiple pages. So each year I end up with 12 labeled Jan-Dec 2008 or whatever and about 6 that are special, like taxes, will, etc.

I keep one copy on a 4GB Flash Card in my wallet, one copy on a 8GB USB thumb drive on my keys and one 120GB Mini Hard Drive kept in a safe. Here are the items and cost.
4GB Flash
4 GB Mini USB
120GB Mini HD (by the way, this is a marvel, about the size of 6-8 stacked credit cards)

So for just over $100 I have 3 secure/encrypted copies and all very accessible.
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Old 12-04-2009, 10:41 AM   #19
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This setup works for me as of now:

I use a combination of CDs, and hard drives and free syncing software.

Computer: C-drive with data on it (sensitive data encrypted)
D-drive (backup of data)

Portable usb drive: used for laptop to "access" my data when I travel

SyncBack software: use to sync my data between my C to D drive and vice versa, and c to portable hd

For stuff like taxes, I also burn a copy to a CD and put that with my printout.

Also, as an extra measure of safety, I use rollback software that "undos" changes to my main HD when my finger slips and I get delete crazy and inadvertantly delete files or install stuff that messes up my system.
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Old 12-04-2009, 10:51 AM   #20
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A timely topic, thanks DangerMouse. I started the first steps to keeping backups just a week ago. Backed up my entire hard drive to Time Capsule and plan to keep that up; that backup system includes my simple version of financial spreadsheets and photos from the last two years. I am gradually scanning old favorite photos to the computer system for viewing and backup.

My situation is not very complex. I keep a locked file cabinet for papers like the backup info. for tax returns which did actually come in handy for a couple of audits; that info. is shredded after seven years. Just yesterday I started putting photo albums on an iPod Touch so if the house burns down while I’m out, at least I would have that. All of my financial records can be accessed online, if necessary. If I lose my papers for 2009 tax returns to a disaster, c’est la vie, I would just use the standard deduction. Setting up a backup system is my 2010 resolution.
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