Me: I've been trying for an hour to find my original "buy" transaction for my Pfizer stock, but I can't find it. I am very frustrated.
Etrade Phone Rep: Hmmm. When did you buy the stock?
Me: I'm not sure ... somewhere between 1995 and 2000, but I am not sure.
Etrade Phone Rep: Oh, that's the issue. We only keep transaction history for 7 years.
Me: You .. WHAT?
Etrade Phone Rep: Yes, you would have needed to keep paper records if you were intending on keeping your stock for over 7 years
Me: But, but, BUT ... you're "E"-trade. I should have been keeping paper records to back up a totally electronic trading site? What am I supposed to do about Cost basis for my Taxes?
Etrade Phone Rep: Well, you can ... [babbles about some form that can be used to tell IRS that you were too STUPID to write down your cost basis, but I can't hear her because my newborn -- who is clearly upset by Etrade's unbelievable deletion policy -- is shrieking at the top of his lungs.]
Me: I'LL BE SELLING ALL OF MY STOCK IN THE NEXT 24 HOURS AND CLOSING OUT MY ACCOUNT [I Hang up Phone and toss it unceremoniously across the room while I retrieve the baby]
So ... I'll be doing some selling today. I was tired of playing the stock market, anyways. It's one step away from gambling, sigh. In the meantime, I'll start rooting through some of the printouts I made in the early days and HOPEFULLY, I kept the transaction date and amount. Sigh.
The moral of the story:
If you aren't going to be doing FAST trading, Etrade is NOT for you.