When Your Shredder Overheats…

You know you have made a good start in  your secure clean up of your old Financial Records!

I attempted this weekend to find the desktop that my computer sits on and the floor in the room I do most of our personal finance work (and mostly where I write this hallowed piece of literature). Most of this clutter is old bills and old financial statements (although some of the clutter is pictures and other things that I am not sure what to do with), so I started using my shredder to dispose of these old records (NEVER throw out old bills as they can easily be used for identity theft).

I view as “old” anything before 2006 mostly (except for anything to do with my taxes which I keep forever right now). I shredded old check books from old bank accounts (closed ones), old hydro bills, bank statements, etc., and it felt very satisfying.

The shredder did an excellent job until it stopped and I noticed a flashing light on the top (a flashing RED light) which I had never looked at, and in fact I had “overheated” my shredder and it needed to cool off before I did any more work with it. This gave me a feeling of elation knowing that I have disposed of that much financial stuff.

I guess I could try to either buy a bigger shredder or find a place that does secure shredding, so that I don’t burn out my shredder.

Anybody else have any interesting shredder stories? No ties in the shredder stories please.

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Weekend Video: Back to School

The NFB has a very topical back to school video for we parents who are looking forward to the resumption of classes.

Nightmare at School is an interesting view on starting high school (which was traumatic for me at least).

Who hasn’t felt apprehensive at the thought of starting high school? This is the central theme of this short animated film. Playing on imagination and humour, the director offers viewers a thought-provoking piece dealing with the transition that young people between the ages of 10 and 13 experience. Inspired by the work of Escher and Magritte, Catherine Arcand has created a graphically rich film through optical illusions and trompe-l’oeil effects. Her style aptly illustrates the theme of perceptions and is perfectly suited to conveying the dream world into which the film takes us. A film without words.

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Random Thoughts: Crisis? What Crisis?

An interesting week with conflicting data coming out about whether the Recession/Financial Apocalypse is “over”, “nearly over” or we are being fooled and it will come back soon. The stock market certainly seems to have recovered and one good quote I read this week said (and I paraphrase), “Fear has given way to Greed again”, which may mean it’s time to get out of the Market again, because when Greedy people get into the market, things get very unstable. We shall see what this all really means, and whether it is real, or simply created by all the money Government has rammed into the economy (which will have it’s own ramifications later).

Financial Quips for the Week

  • Michael James showed how heartless he is in his article “Nothing is More Important Than Your Family“, where he refuses to protect them from his untimely demise (OK he points out how crappy some insurance policies are, but I had you going there for a little while).
  • Canadian Financial DIY wonders about the Economic Recovery After the Crisis: How Long and Lasting effects, isn’t it great for financial bloggers we can write when the economy goes in the crapper, and we can write about it when it recovers, it’s like we are bookies or something.
  • The Canadian Capitalist wonders about Rogers new Local Television “Fee”, but we all know it is just another grab for cash, Rogers really isn’t making me a happy customer these days. Maybe it’s time to pull out my Rabbit Ears and chuck out cable!
  • Larry MacDonald writes about the new Boy Band New Financial Bloggers on the Block, and their new smash hit… ok, he is just writing about new financial bloggers, but they can still dance!
  • Another one of my favorite boy bands Preet at WhereDoesAllMyMoneyGo showed off his new Video Blog capabilities. He’s no Katy Perry, but it had a good beat and it was easy to dance to (nobody remember rate-a-record from American Bandstand? Guess I am showing my age).
  • Money Smart Life asks, How Money Are You Hiding in Your Swiss Bank Account? I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that it might incriminate me (besides all my money is in Guernsey)
  • Nancy Zimmerman laments the death of a bank with Alas, poor Citizens Bank of Canada! What do you send to a Bank’s funeral?

I’ll be here all week, try the veal, good night!

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How Long Do You Keep Your Bills

I’ve mentioned this before, but the concept of keeping paper copies of your bills is becoming a more and more antiquated idea (in my opinion).

Keep That Paper?

It used to be that you kept your tax returns (hard copy) (and receipts!!) for 10 years (I think that might be less), and you kept your credit card bills for about 3 years and other bills for at least a year as well (if anyone wishes to correct me please feel free). This was in case problems arose or there was a disagreement about a specific bill.

The problem I have now is that I never print out my tax return, because I e-file my return. I do “print” out a copy using Adobe Acrobat, which I can look at (it looks like a regular form), and I do keep my receipts in hard copy, but I never print out my tax return. What happens if I get audited? I guess I print out my return, and find all my receipts, and off I go to see Mr. or Mrs. CRA.

Electronic Copies Take Up Less Space

I now scan all bills that arrive in the mail, so I keep an electronic record of it, but I typically shred the paper bill after it is paid. Some of my bills don’t even arrive in a paper copy anymore (my Bell bill and other bills are offering this option as well). I simply save a copy of the e-bill on my computer (and make sure I make a back up of them as well).

Less storage is needed for the paper, but are these electronic copies “legal”? I think they are, they are simply images of an original, but when would you need a bill for legal reasons? I guess if you are disputing a bill you would. Anyone have any examples of this I’d love to hear about them.

The Paper Less Society?

Are we truly in the paper-less society finally? The paper less society was a term coined in the mid-80′s as computers became more prevalent and there was an idea that Paper copies of things would become a thing of the past and all records would be kept “electronically”. Are we finally living in this utopian ideal of no need for paper records? Not really, but hopefully there is less paper being used for bills and financial tracking.

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Employment Insurance Claimants Up A Lot

Stats Canada published some more worrisome data about the alleged “recovery”, showing that the Employment Insurance  was up 5.1% from last month (almost 39,500 more).

During the second quarter of 2009, the number of beneficiaries increased 18.8%, down from the growth rate (+25.2%) during the first quarter. This trend is similar to that shown by the Labour Force Survey, which recorded a rate of decline in employment in the second quarter that was much reduced from the decline in the first three months of the year.

So the acceleration is lowering, but the numbers still are accelerating.  All these claimants mean no chance of a surplus coming from the EI fund (which in previous years has been used to pay down the deficit and/or the debt).

Claimants on EI up Lots

Claimants on EI up Lots

On the Positive Side

I filled in my last EI claim on line this week, and I am now no longer on this list, even though I wasn’t receiving benefits (due to my severance).  This was a good feeling.

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