How Long Should I Actually 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.
Social Security Cards
Pension Plan documents
ID Cards and Passports
Wills and Power of Attorney
Vehicle Titles and Loan
House Deeds and Mortgage Documents
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.
|Credit Card Statements|
|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||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||Keep for however long you own the securities plus another 7 years to show your gains and losses.|
|Retirement Statements||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||Once you receive your W-2, you can shred these.|