Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

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DocInColo
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Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by DocInColo »

We are in the process of doing some estate planning which has me thinking about record keeping.

I remember back before online account access, you kept a check register and balanced/reconciled your accounts by reviewing the statement each month. Now, all of our accounts are paperless, and I don't download any statements. In fact, I don't even look at the statements - which probably isn't wise. I simply keep an eye on our accounts online by logging in every few days to check recent transactions and make sure bills are paid.

I've always figured if I need statements later I can download them. I was reading through some older threads and a lot of Bogleheads were downloading and saving their account statements as PDFs on their computer. What happens if someone (like an executor) needs to figure out your financial life? They probably won't have your computer password, and even if they did, where to find statements on your computer. Plus, it seems more secure to have a paper statement in a file cabinet in my house than somewhere in the cloud. What happens if your laptop or iPad gets lost or stolen?

My question is, what statements are Bogleheads keeping, for how long, and how are you keeping them?

Is it just investment account year end statements, or bank statements and credit card statements? I even read some threads about people keeping utility bills.
obgraham
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Re: Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by obgraham »

Well I'm one of those who keeps everything. Mostly because I find it occasionally interesting, but also so that I or my family can produce any document should it be required in the future. Since 2005 every single record is on the computer in pdf. (Except titles, birth certify, etc, and notarized stuff.)
I've also got a little binder with a printed out record of accounts, passwords, and a map of my computer files. Updated twice a year. When I croak you will be able to find everything by looking right there.
Yes, I know, if a robber steals that book I'm screwed. So please don't tell anyone.
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JDCarpenter
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Re: Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by JDCarpenter »

Our "if we die on this trip" letter to our kids includes passwords to my computer and to my quicken account. Up to date as of the time we left for the trip....

Also have a separate list of accounts and passwords in hard copy in the " estate documents" binder/folder right by my pc
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BolderBoy
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Re: Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by BolderBoy »

obgraham wrote: Sat Nov 14, 2020 7:31 pm Well I'm one of those who keeps everything. Mostly because I find it occasionally interesting, but also so that I or my family can produce any document should it be required in the future. Since 2005 every single record is on the computer in pdf. (Except titles, birth certify, etc, and notarized stuff.)
I've also got a little binder with a printed out record of accounts, passwords, and a map of my computer files. Updated twice a year. When I croak you will be able to find everything by looking right there.
+1. This is what I do, too. No muss, no fuss. Backup copies of HDDs kept in safe deposit box and swapped out 2-3x/yr.
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grabiner
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Re: Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by grabiner »

Any statement which could be needed to support your taxes should be kept until the statute of limitations expires. Thus, if you sell a stock or mutual fund for a capital gain or loss, you need to save the record of the purchase and sale for at least three years (preferably six) after the due date of the tax return on which you reported the gain or loss. If you use specific identification for non-covered shares, you need to save an acknowledgement from the brokerage of which shares were sold. If you still hold the stock, you need to save the purchase record as long as you live.

Tax forms should be saved forever, both as a record that you have filed them and because you might need an old record, particularly for state taxes. I needed my 1997 W-2 to file my 2011 and 2012 NJ state income taxes correctly.
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Harry Livermore
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Re: Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by Harry Livermore »

obgraham wrote: Sat Nov 14, 2020 7:31 pm Well I'm one of those who keeps everything. Mostly because I find it occasionally interesting, but also so that I or my family can produce any document should it be required in the future. Since 2005 every single record is on the computer in pdf. (Except titles, birth certify, etc, and notarized stuff.)
I've also got a little binder with a printed out record of accounts, passwords, and a map of my computer files. Updated twice a year. When I croak you will be able to find everything by looking right there.
Yes, I know, if a robber steals that book I'm screwed. So please don't tell anyone.
Similar.
Though I am still a fan of paper, and receive paper statements. Each year gets a bankers box with business receipts and forms, 2x rental property receipts, bank statements, etc., paper tax return in a nice binder (though the CPA actually files electronically) all very organized. Separate bankers boxes with "current investments" and others with "inactive/ old investments". A bankers box for each property with copies of the deed, closing papers, binder with capital improvements. I also have annual statements as PDFs on the computer. I back up once a week. Drive is in one of two fire safes at home. Another drive is in my work space in the city. That fire safe also has all important paper records, birth certificates, passports, SS cards, life insurance and title insurance policies. That fire safe also has a large binder with information about all aspects of our financial life, my business property, location of items, favorite brokers to sell business equipment. That binder is for my wife or my brother, so everything can be easily and quickly settled. Another binder in that safe has original copies of our wills, marital trust, health proxies, etc. There is a second drive of a backup of the family computer. I also embarked on a massive project during COVID and transferred all of my parents' and grandparents' Super-8 movie film, my mother's Hi-8 video tapes, and my own (over 100) Mini-DV tapes of my own kids. I also gathered all manner of other video and audio. All of that material is on a third hard drive in the fire safe (there are other copies of that drive scattered around the family)
Fire safes are in a closet, bolted to the floor. Bankers boxes, going back to 1988-ish, easily fit in a small storage nook in the eave of my office. Space for another 12 years. Then I will start destroying records, starting with the oldest, I guess. Though I plan on keeping paper tax returns forever.
Staying organized is not too difficult once you get in the habit.
Oh, and I still keep a checkbook and reconcile. Though I did get shamed for doing this, in another BH thread.
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DocInColo
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Re: Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by DocInColo »

Do you all keep actual bank statements on your computers? What about credit card statements?

If my documents are backed up to the cloud is that generally good enough? I don’t want the hassle of multiple drives in multiple locations and remembering which ones have been backed up. I’d rather just go all paper at that point.
MarkBarb
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Re: Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by MarkBarb »

I also follow the "keep everything forever electronically" philosophy. I store everything in a VeraCrypt folder, so it is highly encrypted. The VeraCrypt file is stored in DropBox, so it is automatically backed up and synchronized across several computers. I also back up my computer using Backblaze, so it is backed up there as well. The only tricky part is managing access to the password that unlocks the VeraCrypt file. My wife and I both have it memorized and the trustee for our children has a copy of it but doesn't have physical access to the VeraCrypt folder. At some point, the children will also get access to the password.
backpacker61
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Re: Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by backpacker61 »

You need to keep cost basis information for any stock you own, that your brokerage does not have the cost information for. Most brokerages have been maintaining your cost basis information for about 20 years or so.

I have a couple stocks I bought in about 1997, that went through 2 other brokerages before arriving at the brokerage they're at now. The current brokerage doesn't have the cost basis information, so I have to keep it. I track my cost basis in a spreadsheet.

Also, records for improvements made to your house, until you sell the house.

Tax records I've been advised to keep for 7 years.

I'm trying to shred/recycle other papers that I don't need to keep, as I plan to downsize to smaller living quarters in a few years.

I'm a Fidelity client, so I'm planning to use Fidsafe to store electronic records (but haven't started yet).

https://www.fidelity.com/learning-cente ... afe-videos
Last edited by backpacker61 on Sun Nov 15, 2020 9:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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PaunchyPirate
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Re: Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by PaunchyPirate »

I download monthly statement PDFs of my current brokerage company (Vanguard) accounts and have since I started using Vanguard in 2015. I also have PDFs from my previous broker (TD Ameritrade) back to 2007. I have paper confirmations of ALL trade transactions from both all the way back to 2007 kept in binders in the closet. I do not keep PDFs of trade confirmations, since I figure that detail is in the monthly statement PDFs.

My computer is backed up continuously to a cloud backup server.

I do not download or keep paper form of any other financial statements -- i.e. bank accounts, credit cards, etc. I monitor the accounts online on a daily basis, but see no reason to keep the statements. The last few years are always available via the company's website.

I keep a notebook of estate planning documents which includes details for all my financial accounts. This is for my niece, who will serve as my executor should I pass. I'm single with no kids. The account details include account numbers and phone numbers to call the companies but does not include online usernames and passwords. I figure she can call these companies with my account number and they will tell her where to send the death certificate to start the process of moving the money to my beneficiaries. If she processes through everything in my notebook, she will have dealt with all the stuff she needs to upon my death. I don't think she needs access to my computer upon my death.
lstone19
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Re: Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by lstone19 »

backpacker61 wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 9:17 am You need to keep cost basis information for any stock you own, that your brokerage does not have the cost information for. Most brokerages have been maintaining your cost basis information for about 20 years or so.
This. My wife will be executor and trustee for her mother (who probably does not have long to live). In reviewing her financial affairs, she discovered that basis information is missing for most of the older stocks in her taxable portfolio (so for this purpose, her passing will solve many problems thanks to the step-up (or step-down) of the basis).

As near as she can figure, her father, who died about 10 years ago, kept meticulous records. All were lost when mother's eldest daughter, who worked for the bank whose investment side these stocks were held, said she could throw them away as part of downsizing as the brokerage had all the basis information (uh, no they didn't as they had been held too long to be covered securities and many had been transferred there from other brokerages as banks merged and that changed the partner brokerage). The really sad thing is that this daughter spent the last few years of her career as an in-branch investment counselor and yet every time I heard her talk about investments, her knowledge was either years out of date (recommending HH Savings Bonds years after Treasury had discontinued then) or, as in this case, was just flat out wrong.

Moral of the story is keep your own records and don't rely on anyone else to have the records you will need.
illumination
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Re: Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by illumination »

DocInColo wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 8:30 am Do you all keep actual bank statements on your computers? What about credit card statements?

If my documents are backed up to the cloud is that generally good enough? I don’t want the hassle of multiple drives in multiple locations and remembering which ones have been backed up. I’d rather just go all paper at that point.
No, I don't keep things like personal expenses. And banks have to store that information for a while if I felt I needed to review something.

I try to keep things I think could possibly be in dispute of the IRS. And almost all the commentary I've read is it's almost impossible for them to go fishing past 6 years (and even 3 years is a difficult threshold) unless there's something like you just haven't been filing a return at all.

I do keep my completed tax returns and probably will forever, and I would also be careful keeping all records regarding real estate investments like property taxes as it can effect your cost basis when you sell. Same with any sort of cost basis regarding long held securities.

I tend to keep more that I need to, but I just had a family member that was essentially a hoarder with this stuff and was probably a mental disorder. Banker boxes full of things like home gas bill receipts, every monthly statement from like 30+ accounts, electric bills, water bills etc. It was almost like a warehouse full of useless documents. Made me be more vigilant about throwing things away.
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Re: Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by midareff »

I've had some of those same estate dissolution thoughts myself. Wife has many wonderful traits but freezes up when it comes to numbers or accounts so things are a bit more difficult. My executor is a very long time friend and has been doing my taxes for about two decades so he has an idea of what is where.

I use my home PC (retired) for reading on the internet, financial record keeping, portfolio management and photography. Everything is backed up 3X or more. I have pdf or excel records of every investment transaction and tax filing from 1996 forward. ... bank and credit card records generally from account inception in pdf format. On the photography side I have digital images taken from 1999 and now digitized family photographs from as far back as the late 1890's.

I think organization and naming is key to anyone who would have to follow you. As an example, click the desktop icon that says "Financial Records". It opens to folders for Accounts, Banks, Credit Cards, Fidelity, Vanguard, IRS and so forth. From there whatever you open is account by account, then year by year, and then pdf month by month statements as applicable. The computer and all online accessible accounts are secured with long alpha/numeric/symbol passwords in a password manager. I know the password for the password manager, my wife has it written down and locked in a safe.

As far as credit cards and banks.. I look at least once a week to verify transactions and I look at all incoming statements. I worked long and hard to get to 8 years retired and there are lots of folks out there that would love to take it away so I keep a good eye on it. I have a friend who a few years ago noticed some various unauthorized small charges on his credit card. Going back in his records he noticed it had been going on to the tune of $100 to $250 a month for years. He was only able to go back 6 months for fraud claims so he had been beat out of a significant sum over time. I'd recommend you look at all your statements when they come in.
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Re: Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by backpacker61 »

lstone19 wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 9:46 am This. My wife will be executor and trustee for her mother (who probably does not have long to live). In reviewing her financial affairs, she discovered that basis information is missing for most of the older stocks in her taxable portfolio (so for this purpose, her passing will solve many problems thanks to the step-up (or step-down) of the basis).
Yes, not only stocks. My father held some mutual funds that he began accumulating in the mid-1980's.

There was no cost basis information for those in the associated online accounts, only the paper records he had saved.
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HomeStretch
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Re: Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by HomeStretch »

+1 to retaining cost basis records until sold for home improvements and stock holdings. Also, retain records per IRS Instructions for Form 8606 for all Roth contributions/conversions until withdrawn.
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Taylor Larimore
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"IRS: How Long Should I Keep Records?"

Post by Taylor Larimore »

Bogleheads:

What the IRS says:

How Long Should I Keep Records

Best wishes.
Taylor
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Re: Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by tj »

DocInColo wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 8:30 am Do you all keep actual bank statements on your computers? What about credit card statements?
I honestly don't even look at most of them other than the payment due date and amount to pay in full

If a balance seems unusually high, I'll look into the detail.
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Re: Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by abuss368 »

IRS rules are simple:

* 3 years for no reason
* 6 years if 25% or greater difference in income
* Unlimited if fraud

Taxpayer must also take into context. No itemized deductions changes the ENTIRE ballgame. If income is all MATCHED that is also huge.
John C. Bogle: “Simplicity is the master key to financial success."
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Re: Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by abuss368 »

I went completely the other way over th years. Used to print, organize, and save everything to a binder. At 4 cinders I realized that was crazy.

Then started to save investment statements to computer and cloud. Realize that was not smart as computer can be hacked.

Came to the conclusion that everything is available online for 6-7 years or even more.

No longer itemize deductions.

Income all matched.

Keep 3 years of tax returns.

Someday I am not even going to prepare my taxes or save records. I will let the accountant do it!

I focused on totally simplifying financial life. Less accounts. Less complexity. One bank. One credit card. No itemized. That rippled to simplifying the taxes.

I NEVER had a need ONCE for any prior year tax return or document. I questioned WHY I was saving all this.
John C. Bogle: “Simplicity is the master key to financial success."
lstone19
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Re: Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by lstone19 »

abuss368 wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 3:00 pm I NEVER had a need ONCE for any prior year tax return or document. I questioned WHY I was saving all this.
Of course, that does not mean you'll never need them in the future. Better to have them and not need them than not have them but need them.

I make regular backups of my computers. Never needed to do a full system restore (I have on occasion restored a specific file after messing it up). I still do my backups because if the computer dies and I don't have the backups, I will be in a world of hurt.
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DocInColo
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Re: Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by DocInColo »

Interesting insights! How many people still get paper statements? My bank offers them for free still.
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FIREchief
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Re: Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by FIREchief »

IMHO, all that is needed is:

Up to date listing of custodians, account numbers and beneficiary designations (hard copy and electronic) at home and in safety deposit box.
All heirs access to safety deposit box.
Up to date estate plan with living trust and DPOA for incapacitation, executor and successor trustee identification for point of death.

It scares me how many keep a hard copy list of financial account passwords. Properly identified successor trustees, DPOA and executor will not need these. They can legally obtain access as needed. Simple (and robust) is very useful in this area.

I do keep minimum required tax records both hard copy and electronic.
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.
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8foot7
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Re: Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by 8foot7 »

I keep tax related stuff for six years from date of filing and then destroy it. I have no situations that would require documents from outside of that time period that I can foresee. If something for some reason does come up, I will cross that bridge at that time. Not particularly interested in maintaining records for decades old stuff no one cares about anymore and with four kids I have zero desire to spend waking hours scanning documents.
Last edited by 8foot7 on Sun Nov 15, 2020 4:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by abuss368 »

DocInColo wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 4:06 pm Interesting insights! How many people still get paper statements? My bank offers them for free still.
We have not had one paper statement placed in our mailbox for any type of account in years.
John C. Bogle: “Simplicity is the master key to financial success."
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LilyFleur
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Re: Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by LilyFleur »

FIREchief wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 4:34 pm IMHO, all that is needed is:

Up to date listing of custodians, account numbers and beneficiary designations (hard copy and electronic) at home and in safety deposit box.
All heirs access to safety deposit box.
Up to date estate plan with living trust and DPOA for incapacitation, executor and successor trustee identification for point of death.

It scares me how many keep a hard copy list of financial account passwords. Properly identified successor trustees, DPOA and executor will not need these. They can legally obtain access as needed. Simple (and robust) is very useful in this area.

I do keep minimum required tax records both hard copy and electronic.
I agree with your approach. However, to facilitate things short-term, I made my son co-owner of my checking account, and I leave enough money in there to cover ongoing bills and a cremation/funeral. He has the username and password for this account. (I'm single.)
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Matahari
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Re: Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by Matahari »

DocInColo wrote: Sat Nov 14, 2020 7:18 pm We are in the process of doing some estate planning which has me thinking about record keeping.

I remember back before online account access, you kept a check register and balanced/reconciled your accounts by reviewing the statement each month. Now, all of our accounts are paperless, and I don't download any statements. In fact, I don't even look at the statements - which probably isn't wise. I simply keep an eye on our accounts online by logging in every few days to check recent transactions and make sure bills are paid.

I've always figured if I need statements later I can download them. I was reading through some older threads and a lot of Bogleheads were downloading and saving their account statements as PDFs on their computer. What happens if someone (like an executor) needs to figure out your financial life? They probably won't have your computer password, and even if they did, where to find statements on your computer. Plus, it seems more secure to have a paper statement in a file cabinet in my house than somewhere in the cloud. What happens if your laptop or iPad gets lost or stolen?

My question is, what statements are Bogleheads keeping, for how long, and how are you keeping them?

Is it just investment account year end statements, or bank statements and credit card statements? I even read some threads about people keeping utility bills.
Perhaps this is so obvious as to not require its statement, but the primary thing that you should consider as you establish your permanent record keeping is how much work you want your survivors to do to find and understand your records. Be it your surviving spouse -- who would, presumably, be more aged -- or your children -- who would, presumably, not necessarily know or understand your record-keeping methodology. *

Whatever you do to comply with IRS and financial record-keeping guidelines, you ought to set up a system that allows your loved ones to sort out (not just to access) your financial records.

* I speak from experience in having to weed through decades of a deceased family members' paper records when that time came.
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Re: Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

I keep all our Vanguard end of year household statements, and 3-4 years of tax returns. No other documents.

We have no issues with capital gains and such, as our investments are in tax-deferred accounts. We take the standard deductions, so very simple returns consisting of SS and TIRA distributions. Very rarely do we have interest in any taxable accounts.

Very boring, all in all.

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Re: Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by FIREchief »

LilyFleur wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 4:47 pm
FIREchief wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 4:34 pm IMHO, all that is needed is:

Up to date listing of custodians, account numbers and beneficiary designations (hard copy and electronic) at home and in safety deposit box.
All heirs access to safety deposit box.
Up to date estate plan with living trust and DPOA for incapacitation, executor and successor trustee identification for point of death.

It scares me how many keep a hard copy list of financial account passwords. Properly identified successor trustees, DPOA and executor will not need these. They can legally obtain access as needed. Simple (and robust) is very useful in this area.

I do keep minimum required tax records both hard copy and electronic.
I agree with your approach. However, to facilitate things short-term, I made my son co-owner of my checking account, and I leave enough money in there to cover ongoing bills and a cremation/funeral. He has the username and password for this account. (I'm single.)
If he is a joint owner, doesn’t he have his own username, password for this account? If a person’s checking is owned by their living trust, than quick access “should” be possible.
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.
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Re: Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by iamblessed »

I just keep a copy of the end of the year one. To make it super simple. I don't know if that is enough?
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Re: Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by grabiner »

iamblessed wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 7:08 pm I just keep a copy of the end of the year one. To make it super simple. I don't know if that is enough?
Does the end-of-year statement show all your purchases during the year? (At Vanguard, it does for mutual fund accounts, but not for brokerage accounts). If you bought a mutual fund in 2009, and sold it in 2020, you need to be able to prove in an IRS audit that you purchased it for the cost you claimed on your 2020 tax form. Therefore, you need to keep the purchase record until the statute of limitations for the 2020 tax form expires.
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Re: Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by UpperNwGuy »

DocInColo wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 4:06 pm Interesting insights! How many people still get paper statements? My bank offers them for free still.
I turned off paper bank statements, paper credit card statements, and paper bills of all types about ten years ago.
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Re: Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by UpperNwGuy »

backpacker61 wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 9:17 am You need to keep cost basis information for any stock you own, that your brokerage does not have the cost information for. Most brokerages have been maintaining your cost basis information for about 20 years or so.

I have a couple stocks I bought in about 1997, that went through 2 other brokerages before arriving at the brokerage they're at now. The current brokerage doesn't have the cost basis information, so I have to keep it. I track my cost basis in a spreadsheet.

Also, records for improvements made to your house, until you sell the house.

Tax records I've been advised to keep for 7 years.

I'm trying to shred/recycle other papers that I don't need to keep, as I plan to downsize to smaller living quarters in a few years.

I'm a Fidelity client, so I'm planning to use Fidsafe to store electronic records (but haven't started yet).

https://www.fidelity.com/learning-cente ... afe-videos
Does Fidsafe cost extra?
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Re: Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by backpacker61 »

UpperNwGuy wrote: Mon Nov 16, 2020 12:36 am
backpacker61 wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 9:17 am I'm trying to shred/recycle other papers that I don't need to keep, as I plan to downsize to smaller living quarters in a few years.

I'm a Fidelity client, so I'm planning to use Fidsafe to store electronic records (but haven't started yet).

https://www.fidelity.com/learning-cente ... afe-videos
Does Fidsafe cost extra?
No.
“Now shall I walk or shall I ride? | 'Ride,' Pleasure said; | 'Walk,' Joy replied.” | | ― W.H. Davies
MikeG62
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Re: Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by MikeG62 »

DocInColo wrote: Sat Nov 14, 2020 7:18 pm

I've always figured if I need statements later I can download them. I was reading through some older threads and a lot of Bogleheads were downloading and saving their account statements as PDFs on their computer. What happens if someone (like an executor) needs to figure out your financial life? They probably won't have your computer password, and even if they did, where to find statements on your computer. Plus, it seems more secure to have a paper statement in a file cabinet in my house than somewhere in the cloud. What happens if your laptop or iPad gets lost or stolen?

My question is, what statements are Bogleheads keeping, for how long, and how are you keeping them?

Is it just investment account year end statements, or bank statements and credit card statements? I even read some threads about people keeping utility bills.
I stopped keeping paper statements at least 5 years ago. Instead, I download a copy of every account statement (bank accounts, credit union accounts, brokerage statements, credit card accounts, etc...) to the cloud (iCloud drive) every month. I currently have years and years and years of old account statements with no plans to purge them.

I long ago prepared a word document (which I update periodically) to assist my DW should I predecease her. Among many other things, that memo indicates precisely where those statements are located and how she can access them. So, she would have no problem getting to them should she desire to do so. Same for one of my adult daughters should both my DW and I pass and my two daughters need to take things over. They all know the password to my computer.

I would add as well that should you end your relationship with a financial institution, your access to old account statements may end with it. Also, it is possible that older (from years ago) statements may be difficult to access even with a financial institution that you continue to do business with. So the notion that you can always access old statements later may not necessarily always be the case.

I see no good reason not to download and retain copies of account statements when it is so easy to do so. If you are going to look them over (which is a sensible thing to do) it's very little additional effort to download them once done.
midareff wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 10:35 am
...I think organization and naming is key to anyone who would have to follow you. As an example, click the desktop icon that says "Financial Records". It opens to folders for Accounts, Banks, Credit Cards, Fidelity, Vanguard, IRS and so forth. From there whatever you open is account by account, then year by year, and then pdf month by month statements as applicable. The computer and all online accessible accounts are secured with long alpha/numeric/symbol passwords in a password manager. I know the password for the password manager, my wife has it written down and locked in a safe.
Eerily identical to my process.
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Re: Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by midareff »

MikeG62 wrote: Mon Nov 16, 2020 7:23 am
DocInColo wrote: Sat Nov 14, 2020 7:18 pm

I've always figured if I need statements later I can download them. I was reading through some older threads and a lot of Bogleheads were downloading and saving their account statements as PDFs on their computer. What happens if someone (like an executor) needs to figure out your financial life? They probably won't have your computer password, and even if they did, where to find statements on your computer. Plus, it seems more secure to have a paper statement in a file cabinet in my house than somewhere in the cloud. What happens if your laptop or iPad gets lost or stolen?

My question is, what statements are Bogleheads keeping, for how long, and how are you keeping them?

Is it just investment account year end statements, or bank statements and credit card statements? I even read some threads about people keeping utility bills.
I stopped keeping paper statements at least 5 years ago. Instead, I download a copy of every account statement (bank accounts, credit union accounts, brokerage statements, credit card accounts, etc...) to the cloud (iCloud drive) every month. I currently have years and years and years of old account statements with no plans to purge them.

I long ago prepared a word document (which I update periodically) to assist my DW should I predecease her. Among many other things, that memo indicates precisely where those statements are located and how she can access them. So, she would have no problem getting to them should she desire to do so. Same for one of my adult daughters should both my DW and I pass and my two daughters need to take things over. They all know the password to my computer.

I would add as well that should you end your relationship with a financial institution, your access to old account statements may end with it. Also, it is possible that older (from years ago) statements may be difficult to access even with a financial institution that you continue to do business with. So the notion that you can always access old statements later may not necessarily always be the case.

I see no good reason not to download and retain copies of account statements when it is so easy to do so. If you are going to look them over (which is a sensible thing to do) it's very little additional effort to download them once done.
midareff wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 10:35 am
...I think organization and naming is key to anyone who would have to follow you. As an example, click the desktop icon that says "Financial Records". It opens to folders for Accounts, Banks, Credit Cards, Fidelity, Vanguard, IRS and so forth. From there whatever you open is account by account, then year by year, and then pdf month by month statements as applicable. The computer and all online accessible accounts are secured with long alpha/numeric/symbol passwords in a password manager. I know the password for the password manager, my wife has it written down and locked in a safe.
Eerily identical to my process.

I could say great minds think alike but it's just logical document organization.
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Re: Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by MikeG62 »

midareff wrote: Mon Nov 16, 2020 7:52 am
MikeG62 wrote: Mon Nov 16, 2020 7:23 am
midareff wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 10:35 am
...I think organization and naming is key to anyone who would have to follow you. As an example, click the desktop icon that says "Financial Records". It opens to folders for Accounts, Banks, Credit Cards, Fidelity, Vanguard, IRS and so forth. From there whatever you open is account by account, then year by year, and then pdf month by month statements as applicable. The computer and all online accessible accounts are secured with long alpha/numeric/symbol passwords in a password manager. I know the password for the password manager, my wife has it written down and locked in a safe.
Eerily identical to my process.

I could say great minds think alike but it's just logical document organization.
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Re: Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by midareff »

:sharebeer
MikeG62 wrote: Mon Nov 16, 2020 7:57 am
midareff wrote: Mon Nov 16, 2020 7:52 am
MikeG62 wrote: Mon Nov 16, 2020 7:23 am
midareff wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 10:35 am
...I think organization and naming is key to anyone who would have to follow you. As an example, click the desktop icon that says "Financial Records". It opens to folders for Accounts, Banks, Credit Cards, Fidelity, Vanguard, IRS and so forth. From there whatever you open is account by account, then year by year, and then pdf month by month statements as applicable. The computer and all online accessible accounts are secured with long alpha/numeric/symbol passwords in a password manager. I know the password for the password manager, my wife has it written down and locked in a safe.
Eerily identical to my process.

I could say great minds think alike but it's just logical document organization.
:sharebeer
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Re: Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by Eagle33 »

midareff wrote: Mon Nov 16, 2020 7:52 am
MikeG62 wrote: Mon Nov 16, 2020 7:23 am
DocInColo wrote: Sat Nov 14, 2020 7:18 pm

I've always figured if I need statements later I can download them. I was reading through some older threads and a lot of Bogleheads were downloading and saving their account statements as PDFs on their computer. What happens if someone (like an executor) needs to figure out your financial life? They probably won't have your computer password, and even if they did, where to find statements on your computer. Plus, it seems more secure to have a paper statement in a file cabinet in my house than somewhere in the cloud. What happens if your laptop or iPad gets lost or stolen?

My question is, what statements are Bogleheads keeping, for how long, and how are you keeping them?

Is it just investment account year end statements, or bank statements and credit card statements? I even read some threads about people keeping utility bills.
I stopped keeping paper statements at least 5 years ago. Instead, I download a copy of every account statement (bank accounts, credit union accounts, brokerage statements, credit card accounts, etc...) to the cloud (iCloud drive) every month. I currently have years and years and years of old account statements with no plans to purge them.

I long ago prepared a word document (which I update periodically) to assist my DW should I predecease her. Among many other things, that memo indicates precisely where those statements are located and how she can access them. So, she would have no problem getting to them should she desire to do so. Same for one of my adult daughters should both my DW and I pass and my two daughters need to take things over. They all know the password to my computer.

I would add as well that should you end your relationship with a financial institution, your access to old account statements may end with it. Also, it is possible that older (from years ago) statements may be difficult to access even with a financial institution that you continue to do business with. So the notion that you can always access old statements later may not necessarily always be the case.

I see no good reason not to download and retain copies of account statements when it is so easy to do so. If you are going to look them over (which is a sensible thing to do) it's very little additional effort to download them once done.
midareff wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 10:35 am
...I think organization and naming is key to anyone who would have to follow you. As an example, click the desktop icon that says "Financial Records". It opens to folders for Accounts, Banks, Credit Cards, Fidelity, Vanguard, IRS and so forth. From there whatever you open is account by account, then year by year, and then pdf month by month statements as applicable. The computer and all online accessible accounts are secured with long alpha/numeric/symbol passwords in a password manager. I know the password for the password manager, my wife has it written down and locked in a safe.
Eerily identical to my process.

I could say great minds think alike but it's just logical document organization.
I know some illogical thinking people. Is this similar as common sense not being very common?
Rocket science is not “rocket science” to a rocket scientist, just as personal finance is not “rocket science” to a Boglehead.
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Re: Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by midareff »

Eagle33 wrote: Mon Nov 16, 2020 6:08 pm
midareff wrote: Mon Nov 16, 2020 7:52 am
MikeG62 wrote: Mon Nov 16, 2020 7:23 am
DocInColo wrote: Sat Nov 14, 2020 7:18 pm

I've always figured if I need statements later I can download them. I was reading through some older threads and a lot of Bogleheads were downloading and saving their account statements as PDFs on their computer. What happens if someone (like an executor) needs to figure out your financial life? They probably won't have your computer password, and even if they did, where to find statements on your computer. Plus, it seems more secure to have a paper statement in a file cabinet in my house than somewhere in the cloud. What happens if your laptop or iPad gets lost or stolen?

My question is, what statements are Bogleheads keeping, for how long, and how are you keeping them?

Is it just investment account year end statements, or bank statements and credit card statements? I even read some threads about people keeping utility bills.
I stopped keeping paper statements at least 5 years ago. Instead, I download a copy of every account statement (bank accounts, credit union accounts, brokerage statements, credit card accounts, etc...) to the cloud (iCloud drive) every month. I currently have years and years and years of old account statements with no plans to purge them.

I long ago prepared a word document (which I update periodically) to assist my DW should I predecease her. Among many other things, that memo indicates precisely where those statements are located and how she can access them. So, she would have no problem getting to them should she desire to do so. Same for one of my adult daughters should both my DW and I pass and my two daughters need to take things over. They all know the password to my computer.

I would add as well that should you end your relationship with a financial institution, your access to old account statements may end with it. Also, it is possible that older (from years ago) statements may be difficult to access even with a financial institution that you continue to do business with. So the notion that you can always access old statements later may not necessarily always be the case.

I see no good reason not to download and retain copies of account statements when it is so easy to do so. If you are going to look them over (which is a sensible thing to do) it's very little additional effort to download them once done.
midareff wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 10:35 am
...I think organization and naming is key to anyone who would have to follow you. As an example, click the desktop icon that says "Financial Records". It opens to folders for Accounts, Banks, Credit Cards, Fidelity, Vanguard, IRS and so forth. From there whatever you open is account by account, then year by year, and then pdf month by month statements as applicable. The computer and all online accessible accounts are secured with long alpha/numeric/symbol passwords in a password manager. I know the password for the password manager, my wife has it written down and locked in a safe.
Eerily identical to my process.

I could say great minds think alike but it's just logical document organization.
I know some illogical thinking people. Is this similar as common sense not being very common?
I just would not want to prognosticate on that Eagle..... I'd rather let your common sense be your guide. :oops: LOL :wink:
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Re: Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by iamblessed »

grabiner wrote: Mon Nov 16, 2020 12:15 am
iamblessed wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 7:08 pm I just keep a copy of the end of the year one. To make it super simple. I don't know if that is enough?
Does the end-of-year statement show all your purchases during the year? (At Vanguard, it does for mutual fund accounts, but not for brokerage accounts). If you bought a mutual fund in 2009, and sold it in 2020, you need to be able to prove in an IRS audit that you purchased it for the cost you claimed on your 2020 tax form. Therefore, you need to keep the purchase record until the statute of limitations for the 2020 tax form expires.
Sounds like I should go monthly.
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Re: Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by LilyFleur »

FIREchief wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 5:20 pm
LilyFleur wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 4:47 pm
FIREchief wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 4:34 pm IMHO, all that is needed is:

Up to date listing of custodians, account numbers and beneficiary designations (hard copy and electronic) at home and in safety deposit box.
All heirs access to safety deposit box.
Up to date estate plan with living trust and DPOA for incapacitation, executor and successor trustee identification for point of death.

It scares me how many keep a hard copy list of financial account passwords. Properly identified successor trustees, DPOA and executor will not need these. They can legally obtain access as needed. Simple (and robust) is very useful in this area.

I do keep minimum required tax records both hard copy and electronic.
I agree with your approach. However, to facilitate things short-term, I made my son co-owner of my checking account, and I leave enough money in there to cover ongoing bills and a cremation/funeral. He has the username and password for this account. (I'm single.)
If he is a joint owner, doesn’t he have his own username, password for this account? If a person’s checking is owned by their living trust, than quick access “should” be possible.
No trust is necessary as I have TOD on everything, including my car and condo. but, good idea for him to get a username and password for the account.
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Re: Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by celia »

abuss368 wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 4:40 pm
DocInColo wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 4:06 pm Interesting insights! How many people still get paper statements? My bank offers them for free still.
We have not had one paper statement placed in our mailbox for any type of account in years.
I was just talking to Vanguard the other day. At the end, I asked them to confirm/reset paper statements as the end of year is coming up. (Will turn them off in Jan. or Feb.). We also get paper statements from the bank, credit union and credit cards. Why should I make the effort to retrieve them when the bank can send them to me? In “normal” times, we’re busy traveling or doing hobbies.

If I should die before this year’s taxes are done, my executor/trustee will have a good idea of where our assets are. I also have a checklist of what tax documents to expect each year. Any tax return completed without having all the documents should not yet be submitted. (I learned this the hard way.)

I have been running a spreadsheet (paper chart) since before Excel existed. Each row is for an account or income source. And there is a new column each year showing the year-end balance for each account/income stream.

That worked nicely for a few years until one day I looked back 5 years or so. Why did this account jump so much or why so low? Eventually it occurred that we had bought 2 cars. Or we did Roth conversions, or...
So I started a second year end column to record how much new money went in or came out of the account. Some years, it was as simple as seeing $12,345 come out of a tIRA and $12,345 going into a Roth. It is like seeing the history of your assets moving around.
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Re: Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by abuss368 »

celia wrote: Mon Nov 16, 2020 10:01 pm
abuss368 wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 4:40 pm
DocInColo wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 4:06 pm Interesting insights! How many people still get paper statements? My bank offers them for free still.
We have not had one paper statement placed in our mailbox for any type of account in years.
I was just talking to Vanguard the other day. At the end, I asked them to confirm/reset paper statements as the end of year is coming up. (Will turn them off in Jan. or Feb.). We also get paper statements from the bank, credit union and credit cards. Why should I make the effort to retrieve them when the bank can send them to me? In “normal” times, we’re busy traveling or doing hobbies.

If I should die before this year’s taxes are done, my executor/trustee will have a good idea of where our assets are. I also have a checklist of what tax documents to expect each year. Any tax return completed without having all the documents should not yet be submitted. (I learned this the hard way.)

I have been running a spreadsheet (paper chart) since before Excel existed. Each row is for an account or income source. And there is a new column each year showing the year-end balance for each account/income stream.

That worked nicely for a few years until one day I looked back 5 years or so. Why did this account jump so much or why so low? Eventually it occurred that we had bought 2 cars. Or we did Roth conversions, or...
So I started a second year end column to record how much new money went in or came out of the account. Some years, it was as simple as seeing $12,345 come out of a tIRA and $12,345 going into a Roth. It is like seeing the history of your assets moving around.
I have none of that. We focused on simplicity over th years and now I can see it really paid off.

Everything is with one bank. Spouse is aware of being able to log into one bank or Vanguard.

Three years of tax returns are kept paper wise. No more. All supporting documents are there and streamlined.

Preference has been not to have any sensitive account statements laying in our mailbox thus all paperless.

We don’t have any need for a spreadsheet.
John C. Bogle: “Simplicity is the master key to financial success."
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DocInColo
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Re: Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by DocInColo »

MikeG62 wrote: Mon Nov 16, 2020 7:23 am
DocInColo wrote: Sat Nov 14, 2020 7:18 pm

I've always figured if I need statements later I can download them. I was reading through some older threads and a lot of Bogleheads were downloading and saving their account statements as PDFs on their computer. What happens if someone (like an executor) needs to figure out your financial life? They probably won't have your computer password, and even if they did, where to find statements on your computer. Plus, it seems more secure to have a paper statement in a file cabinet in my house than somewhere in the cloud. What happens if your laptop or iPad gets lost or stolen?

My question is, what statements are Bogleheads keeping, for how long, and how are you keeping them?

Is it just investment account year end statements, or bank statements and credit card statements? I even read some threads about people keeping utility bills.
I stopped keeping paper statements at least 5 years ago. Instead, I download a copy of every account statement (bank accounts, credit union accounts, brokerage statements, credit card accounts, etc...) to the cloud (iCloud drive) every month. I currently have years and years and years of old account statements with no plans to purge them.

I long ago prepared a word document (which I update periodically) to assist my DW should I predecease her. Among many other things, that memo indicates precisely where those statements are located and how she can access them. So, she would have no problem getting to them should she desire to do so. Same for one of my adult daughters should both my DW and I pass and my two daughters need to take things over. They all know the password to my computer.

I would add as well that should you end your relationship with a financial institution, your access to old account statements may end with it. Also, it is possible that older (from years ago) statements may be difficult to access even with a financial institution that you continue to do business with. So the notion that you can always access old statements later may not necessarily always be the case.

I see no good reason not to download and retain copies of account statements when it is so easy to do so. If you are going to look them over (which is a sensible thing to do) it's very little additional effort to download them once done.
midareff wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 10:35 am
...I think organization and naming is key to anyone who would have to follow you. As an example, click the desktop icon that says "Financial Records". It opens to folders for Accounts, Banks, Credit Cards, Fidelity, Vanguard, IRS and so forth. From there whatever you open is account by account, then year by year, and then pdf month by month statements as applicable. The computer and all online accessible accounts are secured with long alpha/numeric/symbol passwords in a password manager. I know the password for the password manager, my wife has it written down and locked in a safe.
Eerily identical to my process.
Are cloud storage services secure? I currently have iCloud Drive. All of our tax returns and bank info is saved on there. I'm not so concerned about someone hacking Apple, but if I lost my laptop (which is encrypted) while traveling or going to a work meeting and a hacker cracked my password, they have access to ALL of that information. Same if you lose an iDevice. If someone got into an IPhone or iPad and enables iCloud Drive they could download all of that data.

I suppose you can remotely wipe an iPhone, but you can't with a laptop. That seems way less secure.
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Re: Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by MikeG62 »

DocInColo wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 7:39 am
MikeG62 wrote: Mon Nov 16, 2020 7:23 am
midareff wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 10:35 am
...I think organization and naming is key to anyone who would have to follow you. As an example, click the desktop icon that says "Financial Records". It opens to folders for Accounts, Banks, Credit Cards, Fidelity, Vanguard, IRS and so forth. From there whatever you open is account by account, then year by year, and then pdf month by month statements as applicable. The computer and all online accessible accounts are secured with long alpha/numeric/symbol passwords in a password manager. I know the password for the password manager, my wife has it written down and locked in a safe.
Eerily identical to my process.
Are cloud storage services secure? I currently have iCloud Drive. All of our tax returns and bank info is saved on there. I'm not so concerned about someone hacking Apple, but if I lost my laptop (which is encrypted) while traveling or going to a work meeting and a hacker cracked my password, they have access to ALL of that information. Same if you lose an iDevice. If someone got into an IPhone or iPad and enables iCloud Drive they could download all of that data.

I suppose you can remotely wipe an iPhone, but you can't with a laptop. That seems way less secure.
Looks like there are a number of options to lock down your iCloud drive. See here:

If your Mac is lost or stolen
https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204756
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MDfan
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Re: Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by MDfan »

tj wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 1:07 pm
DocInColo wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 8:30 am Do you all keep actual bank statements on your computers? What about credit card statements?
I honestly don't even look at most of them other than the payment due date and amount to pay in full

If a balance seems unusually high, I'll look into the detail.

I keep bank statements for one month. Until I get a new one. The only other documents I keep are related to my taxes and I keep those for the minimum period and then get rid of them. I don't keep any other financial statements. I figure I can just go to the institution's website if I ever need anything.
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Re: Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by DocInColo »

MikeG62 wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 8:18 am
DocInColo wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 7:39 am
MikeG62 wrote: Mon Nov 16, 2020 7:23 am
midareff wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 10:35 am
...I think organization and naming is key to anyone who would have to follow you. As an example, click the desktop icon that says "Financial Records". It opens to folders for Accounts, Banks, Credit Cards, Fidelity, Vanguard, IRS and so forth. From there whatever you open is account by account, then year by year, and then pdf month by month statements as applicable. The computer and all online accessible accounts are secured with long alpha/numeric/symbol passwords in a password manager. I know the password for the password manager, my wife has it written down and locked in a safe.
Eerily identical to my process.
Are cloud storage services secure? I currently have iCloud Drive. All of our tax returns and bank info is saved on there. I'm not so concerned about someone hacking Apple, but if I lost my laptop (which is encrypted) while traveling or going to a work meeting and a hacker cracked my password, they have access to ALL of that information. Same if you lose an iDevice. If someone got into an IPhone or iPad and enables iCloud Drive they could download all of that data.

I suppose you can remotely wipe an iPhone, but you can't with a laptop. That seems way less secure.
Looks like there are a number of options to lock down your iCloud drive. See here:

If your Mac is lost or stolen
https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204756
That's helpful! The only problem with a Mac (or any laptop for that matter) is that it isn't constantly connected to the internet, so you have no way to track it, wipe it, or reset the \password if it remains offline. The concern would be you are traveling, going to a work meeting, etc. and your laptop gets lost or stolen. Someone could crack your log-in password, never connect it to the internet, and still have access to all of your files. The tips in that link would only work if the hacker/thief reconnected to the internet long enough for you to track it and wipe it.

It also brings up the concern about how many people are working from home now. Companies have given their employees access to all of their work files on either their personal laptops or company issued laptops they are allowed to take home. You wonder how many of them enforce good security policies.

Finally, for people who are going through all of this trouble encrypting files with Veracrypt, and then uploading them to the cloud and rotating them through safes and safe deposit boxes, how is anyone ever going to find those and/or access them if you get hit by a bus? For me it seems like you want easy access to those documents for your executor, power of attorney, etc.
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Re: Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by MikeG62 »

DocInColo wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 8:54 am
MikeG62 wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 8:18 am
DocInColo wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 7:39 am
MikeG62 wrote: Mon Nov 16, 2020 7:23 am
midareff wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 10:35 am
...I think organization and naming is key to anyone who would have to follow you. As an example, click the desktop icon that says "Financial Records". It opens to folders for Accounts, Banks, Credit Cards, Fidelity, Vanguard, IRS and so forth. From there whatever you open is account by account, then year by year, and then pdf month by month statements as applicable. The computer and all online accessible accounts are secured with long alpha/numeric/symbol passwords in a password manager. I know the password for the password manager, my wife has it written down and locked in a safe.
Eerily identical to my process.
Are cloud storage services secure? I currently have iCloud Drive. All of our tax returns and bank info is saved on there. I'm not so concerned about someone hacking Apple, but if I lost my laptop (which is encrypted) while traveling or going to a work meeting and a hacker cracked my password, they have access to ALL of that information. Same if you lose an iDevice. If someone got into an IPhone or iPad and enables iCloud Drive they could download all of that data.

I suppose you can remotely wipe an iPhone, but you can't with a laptop. That seems way less secure.
Looks like there are a number of options to lock down your iCloud drive. See here:

If your Mac is lost or stolen
https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204756
That's helpful! The only problem with a Mac (or any laptop for that matter) is that it isn't constantly connected to the internet, so you have no way to track it, wipe it, or reset the \password if it remains offline. The concern would be you are traveling, going to a work meeting, etc. and your laptop gets lost or stolen. Someone could crack your log-in password, never connect it to the internet, and still have access to all of your files. The tips in that link would only work if the hacker/thief reconnected to the internet long enough for you to track it and wipe it.

It also brings up the concern about how many people are working from home now. Companies have given their employees access to all of their work files on either their personal laptops or company issued laptops they are allowed to take home. You wonder how many of them enforce good security policies.

Finally, for people who are going through all of this trouble encrypting files with Veracrypt, and then uploading them to the cloud and rotating them through safes and safe deposit boxes, how is anyone ever going to find those and/or access them if you get hit by a bus? For me it seems like you want easy access to those documents for your executor, power of attorney, etc.
First, I am no computer security expert. Having said that, while you can't track or wipe it, there is nothing preventing you from changing your iCloud password. Once you do that, access to iCloud drive should end for the person who made off with your computer. From the bottom of that article,

"If you can't find your Mac

Find My Mac is the only Apple service that can help track or locate a lost Mac. If you didn’t set up Find My Mac before your Mac was lost, or you can’t locate it, these steps might help you protect your data:

Change your Apple ID password to prevent anyone from accessing your iCloud data or using other services (such as iMessage or iTunes) from your Mac.

Change your passwords for other accounts you use with your Mac, including email, banking, and social sites like Facebook or Twitter
."
Real Knowledge Comes Only From Experience
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celia
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Re: Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by celia »

abuss368 wrote: Mon Nov 16, 2020 10:12 pm
celia wrote: Mon Nov 16, 2020 10:01 pm
abuss368 wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 4:40 pm
DocInColo wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 4:06 pm Interesting insights! How many people still get paper statements? My bank offers them for free still.
We have not had one paper statement placed in our mailbox for any type of account in years.
I was just talking to Vanguard the other day. At the end, I asked them to confirm/reset paper statements as the end of year is coming up. (Will turn them off in Jan. or Feb.). We also get paper statements from the bank, credit union and credit cards. Why should I make the effort to retrieve them when the bank can send them to me? In “normal” times, we’re busy traveling or doing hobbies.

If I should die before this year’s taxes are done, my executor/trustee will have a good idea of where our assets are. I also have a checklist of what tax documents to expect each year. Any tax return completed without having all the documents should not yet be submitted. (I learned this the hard way.)

I have been running a spreadsheet (paper chart) since before Excel existed. Each row is for an account or income source. And there is a new column each year showing the year-end balance for each account/income stream.

That worked nicely for a few years until one day I looked back 5 years or so. Why did this account jump so much or why so low? Eventually it occurred that we had bought 2 cars. Or we did Roth conversions, or...
So I started a second year end column to record how much new money went in or came out of the account. Some years, it was as simple as seeing $12,345 come out of a tIRA and $12,345 going into a Roth. It is like seeing the history of your assets moving around.
I have none of that. We focused on simplicity over th years and now I can see it really paid off.

Everything is with one bank. Spouse is aware of being able to log into one bank or Vanguard.

Three years of tax returns are kept paper wise. No more. All supporting documents are there and streamlined.

Preference has been not to have any sensitive account statements laying in our mailbox thus all paperless.

We don’t have any need for a spreadsheet.
Our lives are very different, and we each need to do what makes sense for us. I am in the process of simplifying things some more, but I am trustee for several trusts (aged/ handicapped relatives) and do taxes for multiple relatives. I also have to set things up so others can continue should something happen to me. That is part of why multiple paper trails are needed.
A dollar in Roth is worth more than a dollar in a taxable account. A dollar in taxable is worth more than a dollar in a tax-deferred account.
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abuss368
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Re: Record Keeping and Financial Statements - what to keep and how

Post by abuss368 »

celia wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 1:16 pm
abuss368 wrote: Mon Nov 16, 2020 10:12 pm
celia wrote: Mon Nov 16, 2020 10:01 pm
abuss368 wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 4:40 pm
DocInColo wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 4:06 pm Interesting insights! How many people still get paper statements? My bank offers them for free still.
We have not had one paper statement placed in our mailbox for any type of account in years.
I was just talking to Vanguard the other day. At the end, I asked them to confirm/reset paper statements as the end of year is coming up. (Will turn them off in Jan. or Feb.). We also get paper statements from the bank, credit union and credit cards. Why should I make the effort to retrieve them when the bank can send them to me? In “normal” times, we’re busy traveling or doing hobbies.

If I should die before this year’s taxes are done, my executor/trustee will have a good idea of where our assets are. I also have a checklist of what tax documents to expect each year. Any tax return completed without having all the documents should not yet be submitted. (I learned this the hard way.)

I have been running a spreadsheet (paper chart) since before Excel existed. Each row is for an account or income source. And there is a new column each year showing the year-end balance for each account/income stream.

That worked nicely for a few years until one day I looked back 5 years or so. Why did this account jump so much or why so low? Eventually it occurred that we had bought 2 cars. Or we did Roth conversions, or...
So I started a second year end column to record how much new money went in or came out of the account. Some years, it was as simple as seeing $12,345 come out of a tIRA and $12,345 going into a Roth. It is like seeing the history of your assets moving around.
I have none of that. We focused on simplicity over th years and now I can see it really paid off.

Everything is with one bank. Spouse is aware of being able to log into one bank or Vanguard.

Three years of tax returns are kept paper wise. No more. All supporting documents are there and streamlined.

Preference has been not to have any sensitive account statements laying in our mailbox thus all paperless.

We don’t have any need for a spreadsheet.
Our lives are very different, and we each need to do what makes sense for us. I am in the process of simplifying things some more, but I am trustee for several trusts (aged/ handicapped relatives) and do taxes for multiple relatives. I also have to set things up so others can continue should something happen to me. That is part of why multiple paper trails are needed.
Excellent points! All folks must find a system that works best for them based on individual needs and circumstances.
John C. Bogle: “Simplicity is the master key to financial success."
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