This year I resolved to focus a little more on being less wasteful. Call it going green. Call it being more efficient. Call it whatever you want.
The bottom line is that everything you do impacts the world in which you live. You will never be aware of most of the impacts. Often the impacts are quite small, individually, and some are good. But many impacts are bad, even in small ways and waste is one thing that is pretty easy to be mindful of and often easy to do something about.
I am one of those kinds of people who actually thumbs through mutual fund prospectuses. Even money market account updates. I don't read them all the way through, but I glance through. So I have never considered it 'wasteful' to get them in the mail.
Truth is, since I have a laptop, it may be more convenient for me to have prospectuses sent to me via email so that I don't have to drag a bunch of paper with me until a good time to read them comes up. And even though I recycle them, it is still a lot of paper that has to be processed for no good reason.
So, I changed my preferences in my Etrade brokerage and IRA accounts. If you use Etrade, you can too and it is easy. I imagine for most brokerages with good online interfaces, it is pretty easy to do. For Etrade, here is exactly how you do it:
In the "Accounts" tab, click the "My Info" subtab:
In the "My Info" area, choose the "Account Preferences: tab:
Scroll all the way down to "Account Features" and click the "Edit" link (not shown) next to the option "Electronic Documents:"
This will bring you to the "Go Paperless..." page. Click on the items you want to receive via email instead of in the mail and then click "Submit" (not shown). you can also change your email address here.
That's all there is to it.
I opted to still receive paper copies of account statements, trade confirmations, and tax documents as I file and save all of these. Read here to find out why.