canstockphoto15821602Determining How Long Should You Keep Your Financial Records and other important papers can be quite tricky. On one hand you want to make sure that you have all of your necessary paperwork in case you need it. However, you also shouldn’t clutter up your home with a lot of useless documents lying around.

Some people have trouble throwing away  seemingly important documents such as bills and receipts. It is not unusual to find receipts and bills piling up in their homes dating back ten years. This is unnecessary. I’m not saying that you should just get rid of everything, but you don’t need to keep everything either.

The benefits of getting rid of paper work can’t be underestimated. The mental freedom you get from having a clutter free home is priceless. You will be amazed at how clear you can think when everything is neat and organized in your home.

So the million dollar question is what documents should be kept and what should go? Below are the three time periods your documents should be kept for.


Under seven years

You should keep your bills, receipts, bank and credit card statements and anything else that tracks your spending records until the next statement is received. This will allow you to stay on top of your monthly spending and helps you to make sure you are staying on  budget.

Another thing you can do is to go paperless. Most banks and credit card companies give their customers an option to gain access to their account online. They even give you an option to go paperless. That way you don’t have to deal with papers at all.


Seven years 

Your W-2 and 1099 forms should be kept for seven years. You may also want to keep investment data.



There are some documents that you should not get rid of. These include birth certificates, social security cards, marriage license, Medicaid, your will, insurance,  immigration and death certificates.

Also hang on to your non- deductible IRA contribution documents to show that you paid your taxes on it as well as your financial records.

You should also keep papers that show your immunizations, hospital records and prescriptions. In most cases the doctor’s office will keep these records on file. You should always have your own copy on hand in case something happens.

Make sure you keep your military papers. Although the military will retain their own copy, you want to have your own just in case should there be a disagreement about your service.

You should consider getting a safe for all of these documents to ensure they are not stolen or damaged. It’s important that you hang onto these things for the rest of your life.


How Long Should You Keep Your Financial Records? There are different lengths of time that these documents should be kept for. Follow these guidelines and you will have all of the information that you need while keeping a clear mind and a clutter free home.

For more budgeting tips, sign up for the 10 Part Mini Course.

Tagged with:

Filed under: BudgetingMoneyPersonal Finance

Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!