How Long to Keep Financial Documents — Some Guidelines by Rani Jarkas

 

Most of us have trouble keeping up with the influx of paper into our homes. From mortgage and loan documents to insurance policies and medical records, it’s important to keep some paperwork around. But how long should you hang on to them?

 

Rani Jarkas, a highly experienced financial services executive, offers some guidelines on how long to keep financial documents. Rani Jarkas has over 20 years of international banking experience and will surely give you some great tips.

 

Seven years or longer

The documents that fall under this category are your tax returns and other important financial records. Your tax returns contain vital information regarding your financial history, which is why you should keep a secure digital or physical copy of each year’s return, as well as any notable payments made to the government. Furthermore, it would be sensible to retain records of essential money-related events, for example, insurance claims, court papers, or inheritances.

 

One year or more

Some documents that would fall into this category are non-tax-related bank and credit card statements, investment statements, pay stubs, and receipts for big purchases. Keep these records available for a year in case you need them to verify your current-year tax preparation or as proof of income during a large purchase.

 

Less than a year

There are also documents that you only need to hang on to for a short while and can then safely recycle or shred. For instance, utility bills, most ATM receipts, and pay stubs can be thrown away after you’ve verified them. The same goes for minor credit card statements and grocery store receipts. Toss these shortly after you check them for accuracy.

 

As a general rule of thumb, if you have any doubts about whether to keep a document or not, it’s best to hang on to it for at least a year before recycling or shredding it. With these tips from Rani Jarkas, you’ll be able to keep your financial documents organized and tidy.