Episode 87 – Organizing Your Investment Paperwork

Episode 87 - Organizing Your Investment Paperwork by Astra Financial

Those investment records of yours?

They need to be organized—for security and for ease.

Of course it can be so much easier said than done.

So where’s the best place to start? Well, when it comes to getting your paperwork in order, it helps to create a streamlined, secure system for storing your records.

All the details you need are in this podcast episode.

Show Notes:

Welcome to Heart of Your Money, the Retirement Prep podcast for busy professionals wanting Real Money talk. Hosted by Zena Amundson, author, certified financial planner, and founder of Astra Financial. In every episode, you’ll get exclusive access to Juicy money details to get you retirement ready and feeling confident about your next money move.

Hey there. Welcome back to the Heart of Your Money podcast. 

I’m guessing some of the only paper mail you are getting in your old-school mailbox is from flyers or your investments. I know you’re asking, why am I getting so much paper from my investment accounts? 

The rules and regulations made it that every individual fund company had to send you a statement for any transaction. That includes a monthly contribution, a biweekly contribution. That means it’s actually generating every two weeks a statement or your transparent advisor fee coming off your account. You’re gonna see it. Imagine a computer-generated printout mailed every single time. Even if you had online access, the rules stated that a printout had to be mailed. The reason being that you could compare and look for any fraudulent activity. I think that is truly in your best interest and it allows you to double-check and have everyone send you a confirmation and you can sit there and make sure and feel good and safe and confident that everyone’s doing what they’re supposed to be doing. So I understand the rationale behind it. 

Your investment companies are finally moving into the 21st century and should now have the option for online email password-protected statements. Hallelujah. Everybody say it with me. No more paper. Make it online. 

You can set up online access with your financial advisor’s company, and you can set up online access with your investment individual funds. Each one of those companies you can set up online as well. This will stop the paper madness. 

So questions I’m asked, what are the rules for what I should keep? How long to keep? 

So in case of personal audit with CRA, did you just go into a cold sweat at that thought? Yep, me too. In that case, you should keep tax papers for six years for CRA tax papers, meaning copy of your return and all the individual slips that went with it. Even the medical receipts, dental, you name it, statements and receipts that pertain to that tax return. Keep it for six years. 

For all other investment statements, this is more of personal preference, and here is my personal suggestion. Keep previous year’s info on hand and each year purge the year before that. Your investments sends you quarterly statements. Keep those on hand, then purge and just keep the annual end of December statement for the previous year. So you’ll always have one year that you can look at behind. And that doesn’t mean you don’t go through it before you purge it. Like you can take a look, you can record on your own. I do have, and I know some clients that actually have a spreadsheet and they just put values in there at the end of each year so they can track over the years. 

Now don’t forget that’s something as an advisor that I also can do for them and will do and that we have statements. So just think, keep one year’s statements for your investment accounts and the next thing you can do is go paperless. If you don’t- try the scanning app out there, it’s called Shoeboxed and it’s free. You can scan, record and manage your documents that way so if you wanted to move to digital, but you still had paper that you wanted. But I recommend you set up your online access for these investments. 

Then when you get notification of your statements, you get an email saying your statement’s ready. You can log in, save a copy on your computer. 

Now, the downside to keeping important documents on your computer or in your email inbox is that it could open up to being lost or stolen by hackers. So you need to save it somewhere with password or encryption, emails can get hacked, so don’t save it in your email. And remember, a file on your computer needs to have that password or encryption in case of a computer theft. 

Keeping all of your documents in email isn’t very efficient and can bog down your system. Other digital storage options include external hard drives or a flash drive. Now, flash drives are also easier though to misplace or damage. So if you go the digital route, it may be a good idea to create multiple copies then if you’re using a flash drive in case one of them does fail or is damaged. I have been known to somehow pull it out before exiting when it says it’s safe to remove your device, and I have lost things. So you wanna have a backup. Digital backups take up much less space than having multiple paper copies for years of your important documents. Make sure that flash drive is stored somewhere safe and locked. 

Now another option is to go with cloud-based storage, which is encrypted. This method stores files online through third-party cloud servers, freeing up all the space on your computer. Cloud servers are encrypted. Now, some of the options out there that we know is, Microsoft OneDrive, the Google one and Dropbox. Now some of those are free actually, depending on what you have with your computer. And if you needed extra storage, then there is a fee after that. 

So the best way to store your financial records. Number one is by scanning important documents and encrypting them. By that method, I said either you’re saving it in Dropbox or Google one, or you’ve got your flash drive and your password protected it and you’ve got multiple copies, but digital is the way to go. Then you can store any of those hard copies and a fireproof safe or a safe deposit box, and you wanna put it with your other important documents. All the things you gather in the binder that we have in our office, you can include it in that. 

So final words, keep tax stuff for six years for CRA and keep your investment statements. Ideally, the quarter reports for one year, and then replace each year. Remember, your advisor can also replicate statements for you going back to inception with a company, if you ever need it.

That’s it. Send me a note at [email protected] with any questions. Take care.

Want even more information about how to start preparing for retirement? Head on over to astrafinancianal.ca where you’ll find show notes, free downloads, and even more resources on how to get retirement ready. And if you’ve enjoyed this week’s episode, let us know by subscribing and leaving a review.

Thank you so much for listening, and have a great day.