April 20, 2010 in Business

E-statements ease impact on the planet

Sarah Rieger
 

There’s no better time than spring to go green with your financial life.

If you have investments in mutual funds or securities, I bet you are amazed at how much paper your financial institutions send you. In addition to your account summary every month, each mutual fund must send out a prospectus each year spelling out the details of the fund. For your stock holding, you receive an annual statement and voting proxies that, many times, look more like a big directory.

If you’re like me, you might wonder how much paper these companies use.

Well, you can do something about it. You can choose to receive these items via e-mail. Not only will you save paper, but the information is easier to sort through.

It’s easy to reduce paper consumption by having “e-delivery.” Call your financial institution and tell them you would prefer to receive your notices electronically. Many institutions use the same electronic service, Broadridge ( www.icsdelivery.com/live). This site asks you to enter the name of your financial institution, account number and e-mail address, and create a PIN. The site will send you an e-mail asking you to confirm that you want to go electronic with your statements.

Subsequently, you will receive e-mail messages each time a fund prospectus, annual report or proxy statement from positions you hold becomes available online. You can read these at your convenience and print what you want. In addition, your broker dealer will also be able to provide hard copies of this information.

I did this a while ago with all of my family’s accounts and found it very easy. It has significantly cut down on the mounds of paper my household receives. Some companies have not converted to an electronic format, but hopefully they’ll come around. I still receive my monthly statements via snail mail because that is what I want. The option to have them delivered electronically is available, however.

Sarah Rieger is a certified financial planner and member of the local Financial Planning Association chapter. Readers are invited to submit questions on financial planning to be answered in this space each Tuesday. Send questions to askaplanner@spokesman.com.

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