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March 12, 2024

Documents to Keep

Financial Planning Committee

As spring emerges, it’s not just our homes that could use a thorough cleaning – our financial spaces could benefit from a tidy-up, too. This month, consider dedicating time to organizing and streamlining your financial and tax-related documents. You can start by identifying what financial documents are crucial to retain and which ones you can bid farewell to by using the guidelines below.

Documents to keep for one year:

  • Retain all JNBA quarterly reports throughout the year, and at year-end you can preserve the Dec. 31st year-end report while shredding the rest. JNBA statements can be used to check the accuracy of custodian statements.
  • Similarly, for Schwab statements, keep monthly statements until the year-end, holding on to the Dec. 31st year-end report and disposing of the remaining monthly statements. Most custodians will retain year-end statements for seven years on their systems.
  • For Schwab trade confirmations, it is advisable to retain all buy/sell transaction confirmations related to taxable accounts. For IRA accounts, the retention of trade confirmations is optional.
  • Consider retaining bank statements for one year unless they are necessary for supporting tax filings.

Documents to keep for seven years:

  • When it comes to tax returns, it’s crucial to note that the IRS can audit the last three years without cause and up to the last six years if 25% of gross income is omitted. Therefore, it is widely recommended to keep the last seven years of returns and supporting documents.

Documents to keep until otherwise updated:

  • Retain certain legal contracts and estate documents like wills and trusts.
  • Insurance statements should be maintained until you receive an updated policy statement.
    • Original policy documents should be maintained until the policy is canceled.
  • Social Security statements should be held until you receive an updated statement. You can obtain updated statements online at

Documents to keep related to property:

  • Property-related documents, such as home purchase and improvement records, as well as real estate deeds, should be held as long as you own the property.
  • Loan documents should be retained until the item is sold.
  • Vehicle titles should be retained until the item is sold.
  • Any investment certificates should be held until you cash or sell them.

Documents to keep permanently:

  • This includes documents such as birth certificates, marriage licenses, divorce decrees, passports, education records, military service records, life insurance policies, social security cards, and household inventory (updating as needed).

If you are disposing of documents you no longer need, be sure to take steps to protect your personal information. It’s always a good idea to shred any unnecessary documents that contain identifying or financial information. If you have any questions, talk to your JNBA Advisory Team.

Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from JNBA Financial Advisors, LLC.

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