Christian Financial Advice and Biblical Stewardship
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What Financial Records Should You Keep?

  • Deborah Nayrocker, M.Ed. Contributing Writer
  • 2011 28 Sep
What Financial Records Should You Keep?

Dear Deborah,

My husband and I have accumulated lots of financial statements and records from past years.  We need to get rid of the old paperwork, but I don’t know where to start. Which records do we pitch and which ones do we keep?

Getting organized can seem overwhelming. But it doesn’t need to be. Since you and your husband may have different opinions on what to keep and what not to keep, you can work together to clean out the files.  In addition, you don’t need to do it all at one time.

Set aside a few days or weekends to sort through the papers together. As you organize your papers, sort them into three groups: what you will 1) keep, 2) throw away, and 3) shred. Documents with personal information should be shredded.

Get rid of the following old papers:

1.      Outdated annual reports from mutual funds, stocks and/or retirement accounts

2.      Outdated investment newsletters

3.      Brokerage statements for closed tax years

4.      Bank statements, cancelled checks and credit card statements for closed tax years

(Note: The statute of limitations is three years for income tax returns. Save your tax records for seven years if you are claiming losses from worthless securities).

5.      Insurance policies that have been cancelled

6.      Health insurance policies and cards that have expired

7.      Wills or trusts that are outdated

8.      Warranties that have expired

9.      Outdated instruction manuals

Once you’ve discarded the old and outdated papers, it will be easier to organize the remaining records. Use a filing system where information and documents are easy to find and to store. Get started now and enjoy a more organized home!

Copyright 2011 Deborah Nayrocker. All rights reserved. Permission to reprint required.

Deborah Nayrocker writes on personal money management topics, showing others how to take control of their financial future. An award-winning writer, Deborah is the author of The Art of Debt-Free Living and the Bible study Living a Balanced Financial Life.