The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.
I recently found a great online service that will appeal to anyone who wishes to simplify their financial record keeping. After all, who enjoys handling paperwork?
Bills and financial statements typically arrive in the mail, although many companies these days have "gone green" and offer the same documents electronically. I am a big fan of electronic delivery of all documents. I like to avoid paper. Instead, I prefer to save all documents on my disk's hard drive, along with plenty of backups for security purposes. Since I often spend months in my motor home without seeing the mailman, I find that deliveries of paper documents often are delayed by months. As a result, some paper documents become lost or perhaps were never delivered to me at all.
Another difficulty I run into is, how can I retrieve a year-old statement from an account I closed six months ago?
One problem with electronic delivery is collecting and filing the documents. Many documents are sent in email. If so, the task is easy: save the attached files in an appropriate place on your hard drive. However, not everyone sends documents automatically. In some cases, I find that I have to remember to go fetch the documents manually by logging onto each company's web site individually and then retrieving the documents (if any) and then storing them appropriately. If I have twelve online accounts, I might have to manually log onto twelve different web sites to retrieve documents. Yeah, right, like I am going to do that every month!
A new online service now fetches almost all my documents for me automatically. Best of all, this service even files the documents in a manner that makes any document easy to find within seconds. That's true even if there are tens of thousands of documents filed on my hard drive.
This new online service collects and files monthly bank account statements, monthly credit card statements, cell phone bills, electric company bills, statements from stock brokerage accounts, cable television accounts, orders from Amazon.com, orders shipped by Wal-Mart (but not in-store transactions), insurance company bills, and more.
What I like best is that every statement retrieved is then stored in a folder within either Evernote or Dropbox, all with no effort on my part, other than a one-time effort to inform the service which accounts I want it to retrieve. I decided to use Evernote for storing my files. This way, when I wanted to check for a payment I made six months ago to my dentist, I simply entered his last name into Evernote and, within a second, every check and debit card payment I had ever made to that dentist was displayed in my checking account statements.
This thing should be a God-send at income tax time!
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