Record Retention Guidelines



Does your desk look like this? A lot of the time I feel like mine does! A lot of my problem is that I don’t know how long to keep records. I know that there are guidelines out there, but do you really follow them? Here’s what I generally do for record retention:

Utility Bills: I shred as soon as I pay the bill if I receive a paper bill. I used to hold onto the bills but then I realized that I had proof of payment once it posted to my checking account. If there ever was a discrepancy, I could provide the bank statement as proof.

Bank statements: Even though I am a pretty self proclaimed “greenie”, I still receive paper bank statements on our main checking account. I know that if I ever needed a bank statement and I didn’t have it, I can get it (usually it costs $5). I’ve been keeping bank statements for 7 years. This is one of the things I’d like to shred. It’s a lot of papers to keep!

Investment Account (ROTH IRA) statements: Both Mr. Money and I have small Roth IRAs that we receive monthly statements on. These are about 4 pages each. I honestly don’t know how long we should keep these. I’ve just been hanging onto them each month.

Insurance Policies: When I switched car and homeowners insurance a few months ago, I shredded our old insurance policy because it was no longer valid. I just kept the new policies and all the paperwork that came with it.

Tax Returns:
I’ve kept these for all the years I’ve filed tax returns. I guess I’m a little paranoid. I figure these are probably the most important!

How do you deal with record retention? What do you keep, and what do you shred?

image from elisasizzle

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