Most of us get a ton of junk in the mail–whether it’s charge card applications, insurance documents, or even a 60-page retirement fund report from a job you had 10 years back. Luckily, deciding what to keep is straightforward, and once you do you are able to shred everything else.
The Important Documents You Want to Maintain
Depending what type of documents you’re dealing with, you need to store a few of them for specific time periods, others you may digitize, and others you may shred with us. Let us start with the documents you should keep copies of:
Birth and death certificates
Social security cards
Pension plan documents
Identity document and passports
Any insurance contract (great to keep even when they’ve an electronic copy in case issues come up)
Wills, living wills, and powers of attorney
Vehicle titles and loan documents
House deeds and mortgage documents
Generally, you would like to keep copies of anything related to state or national matters, including certifications, permits, or deeds. The reason is twofold: you wish to get easy access to these in case you want them, plus they’re also a pain to substitute because you generally will need to make a request to the government agency, which takes a long time.
In case you’re unsure what exactly to do these important documents, we recommend keeping an”in case of emergency kit” so you know where they are.
The 2nd subset of documents to carry onto relates to documents you should keep for a short while. With these you scan them in if you like, or just store these documents in a safe place:
Tax documents and receipts (continue for seven years)
Pay stubs and bank statements (keep for a year)
Home purchase, sale, or improvement documents (continue for at least six years after you market )
Medical records and invoices (keep at least a year following payment in case of disputes)
Warranty documents and receipts (keep so long as you own them)
Lastly, the last subset is the documents you should keep the latest version of:
Social security statements
Insurance contract claims
Retirement plan statements (401(k), 529, IRA, etc)
That’s pretty much it.
Once you know what to keep, arrange them in a filing cabinet and you’re all set. A good guideline to think about whenever you’re deciding what to keep is to think about how difficult that document would be to substitute. If you need to see some government office, wait in line at a hospital, or sit on the telephone for one hour, then it’s best to hold onto it. If you pop on-line and see a document, then you don’t need to keep a physical copy.
Come see us to properly and securely shred your documents you no longer need.