What Financial Documents to Keep and For How Long

May 5th, 2021 by
how long to keep financial documents for

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Keeping documents is an important part of financial health. But what do you do need to keep and how long do you keep it?

Financial expert Suze Orman has created a list of when to dispose of documents. Here are a few recommendations.

Keep for 1 Month

  • ATM Receipts – check with your account to make sure there are no inaccuracies before disposal 

Keep for 1 Year

The following can be disposed of after one year unless needed for tax reasons, where they should be kept for three years:

  • Bank Statements
  • Credit Card Statements
  • Cancelled Checks
  • Utility Bills

Related: How to Stay Organized With Your Finances

Keep for 3 Years

The following should be kept for three years, especially if needed for tax preparation:

  • Receipts
  • Cancelled Checks
  • Documents that support a deduction to your tax return
  • Documents that support an income to your tax return
  • Income Tax Return
  • Medical Bills
  • Cancelled Insurance Policies

Keep for 7 years

  • Record of satisfied loans

Keep While Active

  • Insurance Documents
  • Stock Certificates
  • Pension and Retirement Plan Records
  • Contracts 
  • Stock Records

Related: How to Build Your Credit From Scratch

Keep Until Warranty Expires

  • Sales Receipts

Keep Forever

  • Birth Certificates
  • Adoption Papers
  • Marriage Licences
  • Paid Mortgage Receipts 
  • Wills
  • Death Certificates

“You can be audited by the IRS for no reason up to three years after you file a tax return,” Orman says. “If you omit 25% of your gross income that goes up to six years and if you don’t file a tax return at all, there is no statute of limitation.

 


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