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bank statements
Posted by: wurm
Date: October 24, 2022 11:10AM
Since my first checking account more than 50 years ago, I have been routinely reconciling my checkbook with my monthly bank statements. Once in a great while I'll discover a discrepancy between the two, but invariably it's a math error on my part which I discover after painstakingly going through each line item. Fast forward to 2022 and I'm realizing what a waste of time it seems to be.

When I go to my online bank account, I can see the last few month's transactions right there on my account summary. If the items and totals match my checkbook register (they always do), what the hell am I reconciling a monthly statement for? If they don't match, I can pretty much follow the running total and see what I missed or what hasn't cleared yet.

And speaking of checkbook registers, I'm realizing that's kind of a waste of time, too, as I have everything in Quicken. The only real reason I can see for the paper checkbook register is having it handy for a quick glance if I don't want to open up Quicken.

Has anyone else here totally given up on monthly statement reconciliation? If you still do it, is there a compelling reason other than force of habit? Just curious.
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Re: bank statements
Posted by: Spiff
Date: October 24, 2022 11:25AM
I gave it up years ago. I now go online, look at the transactions, make sure there is nothing bogus, and I'm done.

My mom is proud of the fact that she has gotten 53 cents back from the bank over the 50+ years of her adulthood and balancing the checkbook. Not worth my time.
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Re: bank statements
Posted by: N-OS X-tasy!
Date: October 24, 2022 11:42AM
Yep, I've been utilizing this method for years now. Never ran into a problem.

I do still download and archive the PDF version of my statements for my records - same for my credit cards.



It is what it is.
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Re: bank statements
Posted by: S. Pupp
Date: October 24, 2022 11:44AM
My wife spends hours every month entering everything into Quicken. She says it's so she can see how much we're spending on groceries, entertainment, etc, but in the 17 years we've been a couple, I've never seen her actually do that.

Like Spiff, I just look at the transactions online to be sure all is as it should be. I don't miss Quicken, and I certainly don't miss the checkbook register.
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Re: bank statements
Posted by: Robert M
Date: October 24, 2022 11:45AM
Wurm,

I keep a monthly reconciliation to ensure the information account is accurate and to catch any payments that haven't cleared and/or were sent with the incorrect amount. I only print reports as necessary. I no longer keep paper copies of statements. They're all digital. I print them as necessary when someone needs a copy. I do not keep a paper checkbook for my personal accounts. They're all handled in Moneydance.

I keep a paper checkbook for my companies accounts. Some of my staff aren't comfortable with digital only record keeping and it makes for an easy glance if I want to get an idea of my current balance. Again, documents are digital and printed as necessary.

I see no reason not to keep digital copies of statements and reports for all of my accounts both personal and business. It isn't like they take up much space on a drive and they don't take up any space physically.

Robert
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Re: bank statements
Posted by: wurm
Date: October 24, 2022 12:02PM
Good answers, all. I realized how seemingly unimportant it was for me when I received an email from my bank that my latest statement was available and I went to reconcile and saw that I was already a few months behind. Again, since I check the running balances every time I log onto my account, I knew it was fine.

Not sure if I'm quite ready to give up the paper checkbook register yet, but no more monthly reconciliation for me.

Thanks.
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Re: bank statements
Posted by: raz
Date: October 24, 2022 12:23PM
My wife almost never enters her checks (or credit card payments for that matter), so there’s always stuff to enter on the first of the month.



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Re: bank statements
Posted by: N-OS X-tasy!
Date: October 24, 2022 12:34PM
Quote
wurm
Not sure if I'm quite ready to give up the paper checkbook register yet, but no more monthly reconciliation for me.

I do still use my checkbook register to document the physical checks that I've written... which, these days, is usually only one or two a year.



It is what it is.
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Re: bank statements
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: October 24, 2022 12:40PM
I can reconcile in my bank program in 5-10 minutes, it makes me feel better doing so. I'm not sure if my son has ever reconciled his account. My mother insisted that it be done in her checkbook.



“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.” -- François de La Rochefoucauld

"Those who cannot accept the past are condemned to revise it." -- Geo. Mathias

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Re: bank statements
Posted by: Tiangou
Date: October 24, 2022 12:57PM
Quote
wurm
When I go to my online bank account, I can see the last few month's transactions right there on my account summary. If the items and totals match my checkbook register (they always do), what the hell am I reconciling a monthly statement for? If they don't match, I can pretty much follow the running total and see what I missed or what hasn't cleared yet.

Blink and you miss it?

I think you're reconciling.

...I've started doing it that way instead of duplicating my register in Quicken to use its reconcile tool.



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Re: bank statements
Posted by: Dennis S
Date: October 24, 2022 12:57PM
I worked at a bank in the 70’s and 80’s and we determined about 99% of the outages were the customers’ errors.
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Re: bank statements
Posted by: Michael
Date: October 24, 2022 01:21PM
I keep a general sense of what I'm doing with my bank account. They send me a balance every. As long as it seems ok I don't worry about it. I scan down the list of checks every couple of months before I get past the 60 day dispute time frame. I can't remember any time when they made a mistake that I caught. I do the same with credit card statements that come in the mail-scan to be sure that it looks ok. Once in a while I'll ask my wife, "What did we spend X dollars at Y store for?" and between us we've always been able to come up with the charge.
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Re: bank statements
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: October 24, 2022 01:22PM
….samesies….. used to reconcile every month but now just look at transactions….


….think it depends on number of transactions….. if you have a lot, you may still want to reconcile but if you only have a hand full might not be worth the time….



_____________________________________

I reject your reality and substitute my own!
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Re: bank statements
Posted by: STL
Date: October 24, 2022 01:52PM
Once long ago, when I felt I had to reconcile a checkbook, I fell many months behind. I devoted 1 weekend to reconcilation Sunday evening I concluded an overdraft was highly likely due to a large check beating its covering deposit to the bank.
I braced for an overdraft call from the bank on Monday, but no such call ever came. When the monthly statement arrived, I discovered the reason for no notice of an overdraft - a deposit of roughly $200k had been made into my account about the time I was reconciling.
Next day, I fully informed the bank. Much to my surprise they laughed at me and blew it off contending over and over that I’d made a mistake. I let it ride but my next monthly statement showed the $200k removed. Of the many mistakes discovered during my reconciliation years that is the only time it was a bank error.
Once itemized bank statements with running balances were available on line i stopped reconciling my checkbook.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/24/2022 01:54PM by STL.
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Re: bank statements
Posted by: rz
Date: October 24, 2022 01:55PM
Used to keep a spreadsheet, but gave up on it a couple of years ago.
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Re: bank statements
Posted by: Acer
Date: October 24, 2022 02:00PM
I fell behind with reconciling 25 years ago and never caught up. I used to log all receipts in a paper journal, but gave up on that when the kids were born and the mountain of receipts outstripped energy and time.
I log into Mint to scan for unusual activity about once a week. I go to the bank or CC website if there's something in Mint I don't understand.
I have alerts set up for transactions large enough to justify verification.
I don't keep PDF or paper copies of any statements, relying on pulling them from the websites if wanted.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/24/2022 02:02PM by Acer.
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Re: bank statements
Posted by: Dennis S
Date: October 24, 2022 03:17PM
I DO check my credit card charges (but don’t balance them.)
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Re: bank statements
Posted by: DavidS
Date: October 24, 2022 03:49PM
I used to keep paper credit card receipts and reconcile them with the monthly statement, then discard them. I now simply review my bank statements (online) and credit card charges (online or monthly paper statements). That said, beyond reviewing the charges, I have not actually balanced the accounts in years.
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Re: bank statements
Posted by: N-OS X-tasy!
Date: October 24, 2022 08:17PM
Quote
STL
Once long ago, when I felt I had to reconcile a checkbook, I fell many months behind. I devoted 1 weekend to reconcilation Sunday evening I concluded an overdraft was highly likely due to a large check beating its covering deposit to the bank.
I braced for an overdraft call from the bank on Monday, but no such call ever came. When the monthly statement arrived, I discovered the reason for no notice of an overdraft - a deposit of roughly $200k had been made into my account about the time I was reconciling.
Next day, I fully informed the bank. Much to my surprise they laughed at me and blew it off contending over and over that I’d made a mistake. I let it ride but my next monthly statement showed the $200k removed. Of the many mistakes discovered during my reconciliation years that is the only time it was a bank error.
Once itemized bank statements with running balances were available on line i stopped reconciling my checkbook.





It is what it is.
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Re: bank statements
Posted by: JoeH
Date: October 25, 2022 01:53AM
Only found 2 or 3 errors over the decades that were due to a bank error. The last one was where the data entry person who handled a check transposed two numbers from the amount the check was written for. Fortunately it was in the cents field, so less than a dollar too much was take out of the account. I forget the exact amount, but it changed something like 39 cents into 93 cents.
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Re: bank statements
Posted by: davester
Date: October 25, 2022 09:52AM
Quote
S. Pupp
My wife spends hours every month entering everything into Quicken. She says it's so she can see how much we're spending on groceries, entertainment, etc, but in the 17 years we've been a couple, I've never seen her actually do that.

I'm wondering why she doesn't just download the transactions directly from the bank into Quicken. I do that about once every three months and it only takes about 10 minutes for all my accounts. Also, most of them are auto categorized upon download.

I have had two uses for doing this: 1) It has helped at tax time since we have a rental property so need to identify items related to that; 2) categorizing deductible expenses; 3) it's been very helpful now that we have just retired in developing budgets to assess how to access our retirement savings and also to use as retirement model inputs to see if we will run out of money.



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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