Cheryl and I got a head start this week clearing out some of the clutter in our loft. We started with the premise that we need more filing cabinets to store household paperwork and looked to place an on-line order, but did we? We pay all of our bills on-line, stack the invoices away and print many of the confirmations probably like most people do. But when it comes to financial record keeping and retention of paperwork, what do you really need to keep?
From a practical standpoint anything you can access electronically, it probably safe to shred. This would include bank statements, credit card bills, utility and phone bills as well as quarterly investment statements. You should keep tax paperwork up to 7 years, estate planning or health care documents and any paperwork relating to pensions or Social Security, as these are usually more difficult to reproduce. Some documents that are extremely difficult to reproduce like passports, wills and deeds should be kept in a safe deposit box but keep copies at home for convenience. It’s also a good idea to inventory and copy the contents of a safe deposit box for easy reference.
Figuring out what to keep or save goes a long way cutting down clutter and reduces the chance of personal documents falling into the hands of an identity thief.
Not sure what you should keep, and what can go?
Check out this special article from USA Today.