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How Long Should You Keep Your Files?

Make sure your filing is up to dateNow that we’ve done our taxes for 2010, we should probably think about what to do with all that paperwork we’ve got lying around.  If you are packing up and getting ready to move to a new house, now is a great time to start cleaning out that filing cabinet.  If you can get rid of some extra stuff before you move, we suggest you do so and make the packing easier!

  • Tax Documents – Keep these for at least 7 years.  So, if you are moving, take these with you.  If you have tax papers older than 7 years old, feel free to shred them.  However, keep your W-2s until you retire.
  • Investment Records – Hang onto these for as long as you own the securities plus an additional 7 years
  • Bank Statements – You only need these for about a month.  Keep them at least 7 years if they are the only record of a tax-related transaction.  Your bank will have these online for you.
  • Credit Card Statements – Again, you need these for about a month.  Just make sure that all the transactions are correct and then shred.  No need to move to a
    new house with a ton of paperwork!
  • Retirement Statements – You’ll want to keep IRA statements until you retire.
  • Household Bills – You probably will only need these for about a year, for tax
    purposes.
  • Paychecks – You’ll want to keep your stubs for a year, until you get the W-2.

Now that you know which papers you need to keep and for how long, you can start cleaning up.  Why move with a bunch of paperwork you don’t need?  Just remember to shred everything that has personal information or account numbers on it.

Katie Steil

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