How to spring clean your paperwork

In a digital age, it’s becoming easier to do away with the paperwork that accumulates through a lifetime. Still, the piles seem to grow each time you look away. We can’t tell you how to sort through the adorable artwork you’ve collected from children and grandchildren over the years, but we can help you navigate those ubiquitous stacks of financial forms. We’ve developed a quick-look chart to help sort, preserve and/or discard various financial items. If you don’t want to keep the paper receipts, you could scan them and store them in an external hard drive, or secure on-line file sharing service. Just make sure your passwords are also stored securely but can be accessed by your Power of Attorney should you become indisposed. As an additional convenience and to reduce the paperwork further, we recommend choosing on-line access to your accounts when possible. If you have any questions about how to dispose of your financial paperwork, please feel free to give us a call. We’ll help spring clean your paperwork, but you’re on your own when it comes to washing those windows.   Type of Document How Long to Keep It Where to Store It Bank and brokerage statements; cancelled checks At least 1 year, longer if expenses are deductible Filing cabinet Social security card; birth and marriage certificates; passport Indefinitely Fireproof box or safe-deposit box Current insurance policies Indefinitely (toss outdated policies) Safe-deposit box or fireproof box Stock and bond certificates Indefinitely Safe-deposit box (keep a list of these items in a fireproof box) ATM receipts Until transaction is posted to statement Filing cabinet Tax returns At least seven years Filing cabinet Mortgage paperwork At least until paid off Fireproof box Loan paperwork At least until paid off Filing cabinet Property deeds Indefinitely Safe-deposit box Car titles As long as you own the car Safe-deposit box Credit card statements One year (longer if charges are deductible) Filing cabinet… | Read More »