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How long should I keep financial records?
Old 05-10-2011, 03:58 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2007
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How long should I keep financial records?

I am doing a major cleanup in my file cabinet and trying to go 100% paperless. I have been scanning old bills and statements and was wondering how far back I should go.

I plan on keeping tax returns forever.

What about:
checking/savings account statements?
taxable investment account statements?
retirement account statements?
credit card statements?
contracts (insurance, mortgages, etc...)?
utility bills?
medical billing?
mortgage statements?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 05-11-2011, 11:31 AM   #2
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 739
I am doing exactly the same thing at the moment. I have no idea why, but I chose to limit mine as follows:
Taxes = 10 yrs
checking/savings account statements = 6 months
taxable investment account statements = none, they are available online
retirement account statements = none, they are available online
credit card statements = none, they are available online
contracts (insurance, mortgages, etc...) = all
utility bills = 1 year, just for comparison sake
medical billing = kept all
mortgage statements = kept all
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Old 05-12-2011, 12:02 AM   #3
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For my routine, monthly bills such as phone, cable, electric, bank statements, and credit cards, I keep one full calendar year plus the year in progress. This limits me to 2 years at which time I get rid of the previous complete calendar year. Same for mutual fund transaction statements. I save any special correspondence, especially anything related to disputes of bills.

I keep all my tax returns and mutual fund statements. When I was working, I kept all my quarterly 401(k) statements until I realized I could get rid of all of those from the previous plan administrators except for the last one before a switch was made. I kept all the relevant info from the statements in a spreadsheet so the data was never lost. For mutual fund statements, once I get the annual statement I can get rid of the quarterly ones, of course.

I keep all the medical bills and home/health/auto insurance reimbursement statements as well as the auto insurance premium notices for the current car I own. I don't have a mortgage any more and I don't recall what I kept there other than tax-related info.

I have all my canceled checks and old checkbook registers, too.
Retired in late 2008 at age 45. Cashed in company stock, bought a lot of shares in a big bond fund and am living nicely off its dividends. IRA, SS, and a pension await me at age 60 and later. No kids, no debts.

"I want my money working for me instead of me working for my money!"
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Old 05-12-2011, 06:12 AM   #4
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Fair Lawn
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Keepers: Tax returns [all]. Insurance policies [3 years]. Insurance statements relative to medical bills [1 year]. Cashed check images [all]. I don't have a mortgage anymore, but the cancelled mortgage proof is in my Safe Deposit Box.
Straight to the shredder:
Checking statements.
Utility bills.
Investment statements.
Basically, anything that I can get online. I have a tendency to be a pack rat so I do what I can to limit that obsession.
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