Is paper clutter taking over your home? Is it difficult to find important paperwork? Are you wondering just how long to hold on to financial records?
If so, you’re not alone. Many people have a problem with paper clutter. But just how long do you really need to hold on to it all?
Below is a list that you can use when dealing with all of the papers in your home.
- Bank withdrawal and deposit slips: Check your bank statement to make sure the amounts match up and then shred.
- Receipts: Enter them into your monthly budget and then shred, unless you paid with a credit card. In that case, wait until your monthly statement arrives and double check that the amounts are correct. Then you can shred the receipt. Keep your receipt if you purchased something with a warranty (keep it until your warranty expires or you no longer own the item).
- Internet, Telephone & Utility Bills: Keep these for one month and then shred. If you own your own business and can write off these expenses, then you should keep the bills for 6 years.
- Monthly Bank Statements: Keep these for 1 year, unless you have your own business, in which case you should hold on to them for 6 years.
- Monthly Brokerage/Mutual Fund Statements: Reconcile with your annual statement and then shred.
- Monthly Credit Card Statements: Keep these for 1 year, unless you have your own business and have purchased items with your credit card, then you would keep the statement for 6 years.
- Monthly Mortgage Statements: Reconcile with your annual statement and then shred.
- Pay Stubs: Reconcile with your T4 and then shred.
- Tax Returns: Starting from the end of the tax year relating to the records.
- All T4 Forms: Starting from the end of the tax year relating to the records.
- Annual Mortgage Statements
- Receipts & Statements for Tax Returns, including: donations, RRSP contributions, child care receipts, mortgage interest, medical expenses, property tax payments, alimony/child support paid or received, etc. (Starting from the end of the tax year relating to the records.)
- Adoption Records
- Auto/Home/Life Insurance Policy Information: Keep as long as the policy is still active and then shred.
- Auto Records: Keep as long as you own the vehicle.
- Birth Certificate
- Death Certificate(s)
- Divorce Agreement/Child Custody Orders
- Investment Records
- Marriage Certificate
- Medical Records
- Military Records
- Pension Plan Records
- Receipts for major home improvements: Keep until you no longer own the home.
- Will and/or Power of Attorney
Store all of your financial paperwork in a cool, dry place.
We keep all of our monthly and forever files in a filing cabinet in our office. The paperwork that we need to hold on to for 6 years is in storage totes in our basement (it’s very dry down there and they are up off the ground). Extra important papers are locked in a safe.
Remember that if you do own your own business, you need to keep your business paperwork separate from your personal paperwork, to avoid hassles if you are audited.