Tame Clutter of Financial Records

You might feel like pitching those invoices and statements piling up on the counter. Before the paper shredder goes to work, check this list on how long to keep financial records. Then, consider opting for electronic statements from banks and brokers who offer them.

Keep these records for the calendar year:
  • Bank statements

    Pay stubs (consider autopay direct to your bank account)
    Social Security benefits statements
    Investment/broker statements, including 401(k) plans

Keep these for 7 years:
  • Tax returns and supporting documents
    Bank statements needed to prove a deduction on a tax return

Keep these forever:
  • Employer-defined benefit plan communications
    Brokerage statements (document gains/losses until sale)
    Life insurance policies (most recent copy)
    Loan documents (until paid and you have title)
    Home improvement records/receipts (keep 7 years after you sell)
    Savings bonds (you can convert paper bonds to electronic)
    Safe deposit box inventory

Keep until you’ve reconciled your statement:
  • Bank deposit slips
    Credit card receipts
    Monthly bills and credit card statements
    Keep statements and receipts you may need to prove tax deductions.