My de-cluttering saga continues. (You can see my other blogs on this theme by clicking on “Clutter” in the TAG CLOUD).
This time I am onto bank paperwork. It merits special attention because there is so much of it and of course it is highly confidential. It is also essential to keep it secure at all times. For this reason all the banks mentioned in my blog have had their names jumbled up, encoded and encrypted.
Bank papers always arrive in the post in plain A4 white envelopes, which look like letters from banks. That’s not exactly secure — Oops! They usually contain at least 5 pages, only 1 of which has any useful information. The other four pages are incomprehensible, legalistic jargon and list all the things the bank is not responsible for —- including how they calculate their interest rates. I think they put two fingers in the air and just think of a number 🙂
We have lots of banks and lots of bank accounts to spread the risk of losing all our disappearing savings in one go if one of our banks goes bust ! The problem with this approach is that we get lots of letters from banks. In my office each bank has a separate box file and by the end of each year they are full of statements, financial reports and promotional literature — 90% of which I have not read. Don’t let this mislead any burglar reading this blog into thinking we have loads of money, there is no money to be had —— just paper.
Here s a typical example, from let’s call it — the Worthless Paper Bank :-
- an opening page with sort codes, which I can’t sort out 😟 ; International account numbers with 16 digits which I will never be able to copy down correctly if I ever need it. What’s more I did not know I had an international account. And then the one thing that would be useful to see is a date but —– no date, definitely no date.
- a second page with all ONE of my transactions last month, plus on the back a list of disclaimers designed to absolve the bank from any responsibility for anything.
- the final page is a summary of the fist two pages, just in case I didn’t read it, plus another copy of the disclaimers.
- at one time I used to get two copies of all of this, but fortunately the bank ran out of trees and discontinued the extra copy some time ago.
All my other banks have similar variations of the above format but since there is not standardisation, you invariably struggle each time another set of paperwork turns up. I now have a wall full of bulging box files. All of this to look after my old age pension. Seems a bit over the top, don’t you think?
It is all supposed to be kept for 7 years, so the tax man says, which makes storing it even more of a challenge. The obvious solution is on-line banking, but with my computer skills that is about as secure as putting all my money under the mattress. One wrong press of a key and I could be bankrupt !
Since this paperwork is all so hyper confidential, what the heck do I do with it ? I could shred it but that would take days. I could burn it but that would upset all my neighbours. I could eat it like James Bond with a secret file, but that doesn’t sound like a very good Christmas dinner.
Has anybody got any good ideas on what to do with it all ?
There will be a copy of Walt Hopkins’ book — “Seven Ways to Lighten Your Life Before You Kick the Bucket” –— for the best ideas on de-cluttering.
Rain forests have been sacrificed, my office is clogged up, no interest is shown or paid !
I did all this on Christmas Eve and it was an incredibly boring and frustrating couple of hours. I’m done with bank statements for now.