How Long Should You Keep Documents?

We all have different types of documents that are important. They take up space and can be a pain to organize. Now that technology has advanced with electronic pay, it can be even more confusing knowing what to keep and what to discard. Many people wonder how long they should keep certain documents. Use this as a guide to keeping and discarding documents that you may not know what to do with or how long to keep.

1 Year or Less

  • Bank statements – unless you need them to support tax filings
  • Credit Card Records – unless needed to support tax filings
  • Investment statements – shred monthly statements; keep annual statements until the investment is sold
  • Social Security Statement – when you get your new statement online, shred the old one

7 Years

  • Tax Records

Forever

  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage Liscenses
  • Divorice Decrees
  • Passports
  • Education Records
  • Military Service Records
  • Household inventory
  • Life Insurance
  • Social Security Card
  • Will

Until Updated or Changed

  • Contracts
  • Home purchase or improvement records – as long as property is owned
  • Home/Car/etc Insurance – until policy is renewed
  • Investment statements – shred monthly statements; keep annual statements until the investment is sold
  • Investment certificates
  • Loan Documents
  • Real Estate Deeds – as long as property is owned
  • Receipts for large purchases – until item is discarded
  • Service contracts and warranties – until you sell or discard the item
  • Will – until updated
  • Vehicle Titles – Until you sell or dispose of your car

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