To Save or To Shred?

I know we’re in the digital age, but for me, I like that piece of paper in my hand. I know it’s there and that I have it. I can see it, physically hold it and file it away safely in my cabinet. However, the other day, I went to put my personal 2016 tax documents in my filing cabinet and as I opened the drawer, I couldn’t find an inch of space for it! I sat back in my chair and said to myself, “Wow, I have a lot of ‘stuff’ in here!”

Needless to say, what should’ve been a quick ‘file-some-papers-in-a-drawer’, turned into an hour of decluttering and reorganizing. That’s when I decided I needed to play the game, “Save or Shred?” Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

In hopes of making your paper organizing debacle a little easier than mine, I’ve created a list of items you should save or shred.

The Never Shredders!

• Social Security Card
• Passport
• Birth Certificate
• Any and all Death Certificates
• Marriage License
• Divorce Decree
• Business License
• Home Deed(s)
• Estate Planning Documents
• Trust – any and all types
• Wills – any and all types
• Power of Attorney

The Shred it Laters!

What? Tax Records and Receipts
Save for: 7 years

What? Bank and Brokerage Statements
Save for: 1-7 years after the account is inactive – keep the ending or closing statement for the longest

What? Home Purchase Improvements
Save for: You can throw these away after you’ve sold the house – minimum of 6 years

What? Medical Records and Bills
Save for: 1 year – make sure you have an organized record of doctor visits, prescriptions, treatments, procedures and surgeries before you shred!

What? Warranty Documents and Receipts
Save for: After warranty is up and save copies of your receipts for any items with large value if you ever should need to file an insurance claim.

Although majority have gone paperless, I still like to know that I have a hard copy somewhere if I ever need it. And even more importantly, I’ve scanned and saved all of my “Never Shedders” to a flash-drive that I keep in a safety deposit box. If you haven’t already, I strongly advise that you do the same. Life happens, and most, if not all the time, it’s not in your control. So control what you can and make sure you’ve created a backup plan for all of your sensitive “Never Shedders”.