Today, we are taking a deeper dive into what you should keep and for how long. We’ll also give you suggestions on where to store documents, and when they are no longer needed, how to get rid of them.
The most important documents are those we should keep forever. You may wish to keep more, but generally, these are the types of things we should hang onto forever;
- Birth certificate
- Death certificate
- Marriage license
- Drivers license
- Adoption paperwork
- Military paperwork
- Diplomas, transcripts
- Estate planning documents such as Will and Advance Directives
- Paid Mortgage records
Make sure that you store these documents and records in a safe place so they are accessible when you need them. Experts recommend keeping a digital copy in the event originals are lost or destroyed.
Other documents (such as receipts, pay stubs, financial statements etc.) can be destroyed after a certain period of time. For a comprehensive list, check out the attached article by Suze Orman>>
Jean Chatzky also published a helpful guide by document type. You can reference that by clicking here>>
With this information, you can determine what records you need to hang on to and for how long. But what do you do with the documents you want to get rid of? That depends on what information is included on the documents you want to destroy.
As a general rule, shred any document that has account numbers, passwords or pins. Also, shred anything with personal information such as your name and date of birth or social security number.
Some examples of documents that should be shredded;
- Bank statements
- Canceled and voided checks
- Credit card bills
- Expired Driver’s licenses
- Employment documents that have any identifying information
- Expired passports and visas
- Legal documents
- Investment, stock, and property transactions
- Medical and dental records
- Pay stubs
- Receipts with checking account numbers, credit card numbers, or any other identifying information
- Utility bills
If you don’t want to invest in a good shredding machine there are other options available to you. Look for special events in your area that offer free shredding services. Many businesses offer shredding for a fee. The cost is based on a certain dollar amount per bag or by weight.
So lets unclutter! Keep only those pieces of paper that we need, shred the ones we don’t. Keep those forever documents in a safe place and keep digital copies as a back up.
A great solution to digitally store all your important documents and information is My Life and Wishes digital platform. With 24/7 access, this may be the solution for you! Check it out here!>>