How Long Should I Actually Keep Important Documents?

how long should i keep important documents
Keeping important documents in a safe place will not only save you time when you need them, it’ll help you avoid the gut wrenching feeling of not being able to find them.

It can become increasingly difficult to keep your paperwork organized when you’re constantly receiving it. Here’s how long you should keep those pesky papers, be it physical or digital, and why.

What Should I Save?
How Long?
Why Keep It?
Personal
Birth Certificates
 
Social Security Cards

Pension Plan documents

ID Cards and Passports

Marriage License

Business License

Wills and Power of Attorney

Vehicle Titles and Loan

House Deeds and Mortgage Documents

Insurance Policies
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Physical copies - Indefinitely
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
You’re going to want to keep physical copies of anything related to state or federal matters. First of all, you want to maintain access to these in case of emergency, and they are also more burdensome to replace since you have to make a direct request to the government agency to replace it.
Financial
Credit Card Statements

Bank Records

Receipts
1 month
You need your statements just long enough to check the accuracy of the transactions. Keep any you need for tax purposes though. You’ll have access to most of these records digitally as well.
Tax records
7+ years
The IRS can audit you within 3 years if it suspects good-faith errors; 6 years if they think you underreported your income by at least 25%; and unlimited time if you didn’t file a return at all.
Investment Records
7 + years
Keep for however long you own the securities plus another 7 years to show your gains and losses.
Retirement Statements
1 + years
Keep the quarterly statements just until you receive the annual statement. If it matches up, you can shred the others and keep the annual.
Pay Stubs
1 year
Once you receive your W-2, you can shred these.

How do you keep important documents organized?


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