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How long do you keep paper records?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

I just recycled a ton of paperwork. My house is full of paper - it's everywhere. How long to you keep your paper records such as bills, check stubs, insurance information, rent/mortgage information, bank statements, etc?

post #2 of 3

To stop the inflow to begin with, I would recommend setting up auto-pay for as many bills/insurance as possible, which comes with the perk of no paper.  Even if you still want to manually pay each month, most bills can now be paperless.. just look for fine print on your bills or on their website.

With that, I don't keep any paper monthly bills or bank statements.  I keep the current year's insurance policy statements.. one per policy, since that seems to be the only thing I occasionally need to show physical proof of. Taxes are 7 years.  If there's a one-time paper bill like for a doctor visit or the license plate,  I'll keep the stub till I see the payment has cleared at the bank, but again, many of those kinds of bills can now be paid online too.

post #3 of 3

I keep them for one year, if they are not part of my tax return information.  The statements from banks, etc. get ditched at that same time, except the end-of-year tax statements .  Tax paperwork, excluding 1040, get worm-binned after 3 years.  1040 forms get kept indefinitely.  Property tax info we keep indefinitely as well.

 

Warranties, etc. get kept until they are defunct.  Receipts get chucked as well at that time.

 

I keep one copy of the rundown of our house insurance benefits, which they send once a year or so.  

 

As for paperless stuff, if it involves yet one more password to memorize, online account to set up, etc., forget it.  I hate that.  We end up printing the statements anyway because I don't store stuff on the computer, and that is a serious drain on printer ink.  I would much rather have them pay to send me a paper bill/statement.

 

I've started just to divide stuff into piles: stuff that gets chucked next year, stuff for taxes, then a pile for more or less permanent stuff that gets sorted every few years.  Anything more specific just hasn't seemed necessary.  Then again, we don't have a lot and haven't had much need to go mining for a specific piece of paper.

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