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I’ve heard people mention that the permanent storage offered by Forever has a big price tag for what you get.  But after yet another hard drive failure, and moving numerous memory vaults in the past few months for both myself and others, here’s how I look at it now:

If I keep all of my photos on a computer, let’s say a laptop, that laptop probably costs between $500 and $1000 when I buy it.  We’ll call it $750 for a decent machine.  It may have 1 Tb of storage on the hard drive, which is room for a lot of photos, right?

Of course, we all know that a hard drive will fail eventually, so I get an external hard drive so I can have a shadow copy or backup.  Just a mid-range drive is probably $100 to $150.  Of course, those fail, too, so I either need a second one, or I need to subscribe to a cloud backup service.  There are some great ones out there, and let’s say I subscribe to a backup service for a year for $59.

So far, I’ve paid $750 for the laptop, $125 for an external backup drive, and $59 for the first year of a cloud backup service.  That’s $934.  Of course, next year I’ll have to pay $59 again to keep up that cloud backup.  (You ALWAYS want to have an offsite backup option.)  And the year after that.  And the year after that.

After this many years, suddenly, the laptop hard drive fails.  I can still sleep easy because I have a shadow copy on my external drive and my cloud backup, so I pick up another laptop for let’s say another $750, and I pay $50 for the computer guys to try to recover my files from the old hard drive.  So this year I’ve tacked on another $859 to my running total, but I still have my photos.

Next year, the external drive quits working.  It’s just a hard drive, too, and they have a limited shelf life.  Now I need to shell out another $125 for another external drive.  And the $59 for your cloud backup service, of course.

Do you see where we’re going?  Just over a five year period, according to this scenario, I’ve already paid $2,095 for the equipment to keep my photo files protected.  And this is just five years.

Let’s look at the Forever alternative:

Forever Permanent Storage is meant to be a permanent digital home for your photos.  The base guarantee for the permanent storage account is your lifetime plus 100 years.  But really, that’s meant to be their minimum guarantee.  They intend to make it last for as long as possible.

Currently, you can store full resolution images in .jpg, .png, .tiff and .pdf formats.  My understanding is that they are hoping to add video and audio files to your permanent storage options in the future.  Plus, part of the Forever Guarantee is future file conversion, meaning that they promise to migrate your digital files to new file formats in the future to keep them compatible with whatever file types are available.

Forever is also concerned with backup.  They make sure that all of your content is triple backed up and encrypted.  Your access always remains private, and you can share access to friends and family as you wish.  Forever will never sell access to your photos or data mine them to sell you something else.

The starter permanent storage account is 10 Gb for $19 a month for one year, or $199 for the one-time payment option.  This initial starter cost mainly goes into Forever’s endowment fund to maintain the permanence of the systems securing your photos over time.  But once you pay for it, you are never charged again for this storage space.  You “own” it.

After that initial starter storage, you can add storage any time you want in 10, 50 or 100 Gb increments.  Or, you can jump to 500 Gb more or even 1 Tb.  Here’s the thing: I currently have 200 Gb of storage that I have accumulated over time that is only 31% full and holds 38,320 files as of today.  I purchased my storage over time, often when there were specials on the one-time payment options, meaning that I saved even more.

At this rate, let’s take this just one step further: if you live another 30 years (which I hope you do), the computer scenario could cost you $12,570 to keep and maintain the computers and equipment necessary to maintain your photos and organization.  And that assumes you don’t accidentally have a digital snafu that wipes everything out and makes it unrecoverable.  You could purchase about 2 Tbs of storage for that.

Ok, I will recognize that most people use their computers for more than just their photos.  But realistically, in my case, the only thing on my computer right now that I would be upset about losing is not just my photos, but the organization and information I have saved with them.  I can do that, too, in my Forever storage account.

After so much time spent recovering photos and vaults for several people in the last few months, including myself, I am hard at work modifying my photo organization plan.  I love Historian, but I am beginning to love my permanent storage more.  And time is not something I have in unlimited supply.  More to come on this soon.

Hope I’ve given you something to think about, if nothing else.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Until the next time, Enjoy!

~ Deb

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