Keep What for How Long?

Organizing Important Documents

Keep for 1–3 Months

  • Utility bills
  • Sales receipts for minor purchases
  • ATM and bank deposit slips

Keep for 1 Year

  • Checkbook ledgers
  • Paycheck stubs
  • Monthly mortgage statements
  • Expired insurance records

Keep for 7 Years

  • Bank statements
  • W-2 and 1099 forms
  • Receipts for tax purposes
  • Cancelled checks
  • Disability records
  • Unemployment income stubs
  • Medical bills/claims

Keep Indefinitely

  • Annual tax returns
  • Deeds, mortgages and bills of sale
  • Year-end statements for investments
  • Legal documents (birth certificates, marriage license, divorce papers, passports)
  • Home improvement documentation and receipts
  • Receipts for major purchases—for warranty and insurance purposes
  • Wills
  • Living wills
  • Power of attorney designation
  • Medical and burial instructions
  • Beneficiary directions
  • Real estate certificates
  • Automobile titles
  • Current insurance policies
  • Medical records
  • Education records
  • Pension plan records
  • Retirement plan records

Next, file each category into a filing cabinet drawer or box. Clearly label what each file contains. Shred any papers that you don’t keep. It may take a little while to go through all your documents, but it’s worth it.

From daveramsey.com

 

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