One of the most difficult parts of moving is changing the address on your mail. The junk mail seems to magically find you but the important stuff seems to require an act of Congress to find its way to the new address. I have moved four times in the last four years so I have unwittingly become a change of address expert. One piece of mail that didn’t get changed during one of those moves was the annual automobile registration from the State of Tennessee. The City of Dalton, Georgia Police Department was kind enough to bring it to my attention with a citation for an expired license plate. After a morning in traffic court and a late penalty by the State of Tennessee, I calculated that small oversight cost me over $250, not counting my time and travel.
Since moving from Macon to Chattanooga I have remained on my old neighborhood’s group email distribution list. It keeps me informed about important information like whose dog or cat is lost. Lately, the emails have focused on a rash of mail being stolen from mailboxes. The fact that interfering or tampering with the U.S. mail is a federal offense punishable by fines of up to $250,000 and five years in prison doesn’t seem to deter the thieves. The potential payoff makes the low risk of being caught worthwhile. These professional mail thieves sift through mail looking for identifying numbers (social security numbers or dates of birth, as examples), passwords and any other information that might help them steal your identity. They also chemically alter checks, create databases with information about you or your family they can sell on the black market, and apply for credit.
Through my moving experiences and the experiences of my former neighbors I have become a big believer in electronic delivery of mail whenever possible. For our clients that use Fidelity or Schwab as their custodian, electronic delivery not only offers better security; they will pay you to take delivery electronically. Yes, that’s right; they reward clients who opt for electronic delivery by discounting their trading costs and the discount is meaningful. A trade that is normally $17.95 is discounted to $4.95 (an eye-popping 72% discount!).
For those of you who already enjoy the discount you need to know there is a caveat; you must log-in to your Fidelity or Schwab account on a periodic basis. If you don’t meet that requirement the login credentials go stale, the statements revert to physical delivery, and the discount is forfeited. They require periodic login as a security measure to keep your account safe.
We highly recommend our clients use electronic delivery for their statements. It provides security, convenience, less paper, and you always know where they are which comes in handy at tax preparation time. If you would like to take advantage of electronic delivery of your statements, please call your relationship manager.
Posted on Jun 10 2017
by Tim Hipps