If you’re like many people, you probably have a desk drawer or file cabinet filled with official paperwork such as tax documents, plans and policies, bank statements, and other certificates. It can be hard to know which ones are worth keeping or which ones are okay to throw away. Before you stuff them all back in the drawer, here are some general guidelines to help you evaluate which ones are worth keeping and which you can toss.
For JNBA clients, we recommend holding on to quarterly financial reports and statements until the end of the year. At that time, you can simply retain the year-end report to bring into the following quarter. Confirmations for buy/sell transactions related to your taxable accounts are important to save as well. The IRS can typically audit up to the previous six years, so we recommend keeping the last seven years of tax returns. You can discuss this with your tax professional as well.
According to USA.gov, “Every household must work out its own records management system, but some general guidelines can help. A good system will provide an overview of what happens to property after a major life event occurs.” The U.S. government offers helpful suggestions as to which documents are important to keep and for how long. Typically proof of ownership, policies, or other assets are good to keep as long as the asset or service is in your name. On the other hand, items like bank statements are only relevant for up to a year.
Download the Saving Financial Documents checklist and recommendations from JNBA, so that you can keep your home or workspace clutter-free from irrelevant documents and have the peace of mind that you have the right information you’ll need.