Important Papers-What to Keep and Toss

Tax season is the perfect time to start tackling all of those paper piles. Financial records can be divided into 4 categories:

  • Papers kept for a year or less

  • Papers that can be destroyed when you no longer own the items they cover

  • Tax records, which you should save for seven years

  • Papers to keep indefinitely

Keep these documents at home

Bank deposit slips After you reconcile your statements

Banking statements After a calendar year; store with tax returns

401 K, IRA, other investment statements. Shred monthly and quarterly stmts. as new ones arrive; hold onto annual statements until ready to sell the investment.

Credit-card bills After you check and pay them, unless you need them to support tax filings

Household warranties and receipts After you no longer own the household items

Insurance policies after you renew

Investment purchase confirmations and 1099s. Hold until you sell the securities, then keep with your tax records for an additional seven years.

Pay stubs After you reconcile them with your W-2

Receipts After you reconcile them with your credit-card or bank statement unless needed for a warranty.

Safe-deposit box inventory Never, but review and update annually

Savings bonds Cash them in when they mature

Social Security statements When you get a new statement, then shred the old one

Tax returns and supporting documents After seven years

Keep these Docs in a safe-deposit box or locked-box.

Birth and death certificates Never

Estate-planning documents Never. Also give copies to your attorney and executor

Life-insurance policies Never, or when a term policy has ended

Loan documents After you sell your home, automobile, boat, etc.

Marriage licenses / divorce decrees Never

Military discharge papers Never

Social Security cards Never

Vehicle titles After you sell the car, boat, motorcycle, or other vehicle

Kim's Organizing Solutions

Professional Organizer

Information provided by Consumer Reports Money Adviser.

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