I am 99% paperless in my finances. I don't write personal checks, I don't even own personal checks to any active bank account. I don't get paper bank statements, and I don't get bills. I don't carry cash, and I don't like getting it. I file my taxes online and backup a pdf version of the docs to the cloud.
The 1% of paper we do get is when a company forgets to not send us crap, or it's a credit card offer in the mail. Otherwise, we'd never get mail that wasn't junk - which was the case in my adult single life...the only mail I got was junk, so I checked the box like once every two weeks, if at all. It pissed the mailman off.
So, now, when I'm in the process of buying a house, and they want a paper-trail, personal checks, and bank statements, I come to them with empty hands and an email with pdf attachments. This is mostly ok, except when they want to see the checks for the Earnest Money being withdrawn from the bank account, when it was a cash withdrawal and money orders. And they want to see the w-2 from 2 years ago, when that paper is long gone (misplaced), even though I have all the information that was contained on it.
Going paperless is not a new thing - so I don't know why industries haven't moved forward. It was one of my biggest issues with the Accounting job I had, where we actually printed a 100ish page report, and had a physical "binder" to bind all the pages together into a book...not just 1 book - 12 books, one for every financial institution that needed a copy of the financials...every month. I asked my boss why we couldn't just email them one PDF to multiple people and save the money involved in all of this extra smurf-poo. I got blank looks and excuses.
So, for anyone who is considering going paperless...here's how we do it:
- Use online billpay - even if it is to send a check to a company, and not an ebill
- Pay all your bills through a credit card that you can earn points on.
- PAY OFF THE CREDIT CARD every month! Important! Never carry a balance. You're already going to pay cash for those bills, so you might as well get some points, build credit, and not have liability of using a debit card.
- if you do your taxes online, scan the original documents into a pdf, and save it with the print-to-pdf of the tax forms.
- have your statements and bills sent electronically.
The point of this is I can give financial institutions and other people sending me bills a unique email address. This unique email address cannot be logged into by a hacker because the address does not exist on the server represented by the domain. And as long as I never give anyone my real email, I never have to worry about that. It's a system I've had for a couple years now. It also lets me know who is selling my email, and who is just stumbling on it with a script. if I see something from pizzahut@domain that is not about pizzahut, then they have released my email. Fortunately I have not seen anyone release one of the unique emails yet.