What To Do With All Those Important Documents.

You know you have piles of them – tax returns, insurance documents, old bills, receipts, and bank statements. But what can you do with them other than throw them in a box to deal with later? Do you even need to save any of them any longer? Lucky for you, I just read an article in my T. Rowe Price newsletter that has some answers for you:

How Long To Keep Tax Documents

Keep copies of your tax return (and related docs) for seven years. After seven years, you can keep just an electronic copy of your return and shred your supporting documents.

What To Do With Investment Documents

You should keep all these documents until you sell the security themselves. File away documentation showing gains & losses, at least until you toss that years’ tax return info.

What To Do With Monthly Bills

Shred monthly bills as soon as A. you verify it is correct and B. your payment has been processed. File any bills that you need for your tax return (utility bills, etc) with your tax documents.

Bank, Investment, Retirement Statements

Hold on to those quarterly statements until you get the year-end versions; then you can shred the quarterly ones. Keep the year-end statements for 6 years.

Where To Keep Personal Documents

I have talked before about how we keep important documents at our house, but the gist of it is that we keep copies of our birth & marriage certificates, passports, Social Security cards, insurance docs and medical records in several places. We keep a paper version and copies on a USB key in a safe in the house, and copies on a CD stored outside of the house in case of fire/emergency. Be sure your spouse or significant other knows where they are stored.

So, what else could be added to this list? What kinds of things do you do at your house with your important documents? Let us all know in the comments!

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Comments (4)

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  1. fern says:

    You should also keep a CD containing photos you’ve taken of every room in the house, perhaps several photos per room, to document the existence of your possessions in case you need to file an insurance claim after a fire or whatever.

    Personally, i recently decided to keep all my important documents in a rather plain looking black bag which i could quickly grab in case i had to get out of the house in a hurry. It’s not likely burglars would bother looking in it, otherwise a please-take-me-looking safe which would also be heavy and difficult to grab in case of an emergency.

  2. david says:

    We do, and we have copies of everything in one of our emergency kits as well.

  3. Ken says:

    We have copies of car deeds and our will in a fireproof safe in our home. Insurance papers are in there as well.

  4. Horlic says:

    Yes, how you keep your document is important. But for me it is more important that you acknowledge your next close person.