Documents - 3 yr or 7 yr? And WHAT do I need to keep?

jenswrensSeptember 29, 2010

Trying to do some paper decluttering today. I know you're supposed to keep some documents for 7 years (someone else said 3, so now I'm confused).

But WHAT exactly am I supposed to keep for 7 years? Bank statements, electric bills, credit card bills, pay stubs, home depot receipts, any of these, all of these... ??? What else?

Is there a valid resource out there somewhere (book, online) that will outline exactly what I need to keep? And I mean a KISS kind of book.


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"Bank statements, electric bills, credit card bills, pay stubs, home depot receipts, any of these, all of these... ??? What else? "

Bank statements... I don't

electric bills... I do, along with the canceled check as we need those for tax purposes

pay stubs... I don't

home depot receipts... I would IF there are items that are tax deductible and/or affect your cost-basis upon resale

My short answer is that you keep what YOU need to keep. Everyone's situation is different.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 6:50PM
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Here's an excellent article from Consumer Reports.

Here is a link that might be useful: What to keep for how long

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 8:12PM
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Perfect. Thanks!

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 10:11PM
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Yeah, I have the information of what to toss/keep, but have I cleaned out my own files? I hope you're organized and motivated and have a good shredder.

BTW, shred as much as you can, certainly everything with identifying information.

I found a local company that will shred large amounts of paper for a reasonable price. Now I need to get busy and clean out some old files.

Anyone want canceled checks from 22 years ago? Ouch!

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 10:47PM
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One thing I would keep but it is only because I have known several people that had to prove various things for retirement/tax purposes is the final paycheck stub of the year. For different companies this can mean different pay days. This is the one that shows the amount of taxes paid for the year. The next dated one will start over. This meant adding 3 years to an employment record and saved another person problems with SS when digits got transposed somewhere and her record showed she had never worked. This last is why you should check the SS statement that is normally sent out in the next month or so against your own records. The other case was where a company changed hands and records of one company was not kept. The person thanks to his wife was able to prove where he had worked and when.

As far as utilities unless you have a business you can not deduct and if you have not paid your utilities are probably shut off.

Again it depends on your own situation. Standard deduction you don't need anything to prove the amount.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 11:24PM
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