How Long Should I Keep My Financial Documents?

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how long keep financial documentsAlthough decluttering is all the rage these days (who hasn’t attempted to KonMari their closet?), it’s easy to lose the will to get organized when you’re facing a mountainous pile of financial paperwork that’s just been collecting dust in your junk drawer.

In fact, you probably can’t even muster the energy to tackle all those statements, bills and other fine-print-loaded documents until you have no choice, like when it’s tax time or you’re applying for a mortgage. But getting your paperwork in order doesn’t have to be this stressful. Start making things easier for yourself by knowing what’s important to keep and what you can get rid of—and when—using our paperwork purging guidelines below.

Trash in a Few Days:

  • ATM receipts, once you record the transaction
  • Bank deposit slips, once the funds appear in your account

Trash After 1 Month:

  • Receipts for things you bought on a credit card, once you get your statement, unless you need it for a return or a warranty
  • Credit card statement, unless it has a tax-related expense on it

RELATED: 5 Easy Steps to Life Without Paper

  • Kim “Kimmay” Caldwell

    This is awesome! This came at the perfect time for me. I’m getting rid of giant bags of paperwork and totally redoing my little home office to make way for my brand new business :D I am so nervous to let go of old Student Loan statements and pay stubs, but now I’m ready to shred or recycle it all and make room for the life that I want. Thanks! Kim Caldwell (Hurray Media LLC)

  • http://Www.debtfreeindubai.com desertscrooge

    Timely read. I have 5 huge files of documents dating back to as far as 2007. Yikes! I save everything and it’s taking over my space. I was considering buying a cabinet this week but after reading this, I think I’ll just schedule a day to power through and shred whatever isn’t absolutely necessary to have.

  • Lmc

    Trash with in 1 month credit card receipt..UNLESS ITS A TAX DEDUCTION!!! I just read this from one of your other articles!!! If you purchase something for business use, say from Amazon, you will need to keep the receipt!

  • kendalinwonderland

    Aaaggggh I just want to live a paper-free life. I want my life to be me, my pets, and the things I use on a daily (or maybe weekly) basis. I’m tired of storing things. And I don’t like going through receipts every year wondering how many I can throw away. I hate carrying all this crap along with me every time I move….

  • muffiewrites

    Demorrow is correct about hard drives; but in a completely misleading way. The probabilities of recovering overwritten data (overwritten by 1 and 0 at least 3 times) is astronomical when using an electron microscope and knowing precisely what the data on the drive is and precisely how that data was written to the drive. Forensic scientist report:
    http://digital-forensics.sans.org/blog/2009/01/15/overwriting-hard-drive-data/