With all the junk mail we get these days it becomes hard to know what you need to keep and what can be shredded and thrown away. So let’s go over some of the important financial documents you need to keep.
We recommend getting a filing box and putting a few tabbed folders in there to make things easy to find. For the majorly important stuff, we also recommend making a digital copy and storing things online. Sorting through the various paperwork of your financial life is an excellent first step in taking control of your money situation.
Folder 1: Certificates
Birth Certificates for self, spouse, kids etc.
Death certificates of relevant family members
Passports/ ID Cards
Folder 2: Social Security
Keep your social security cards here (or in a safety deposit box)
You don’t have to keep the annual social security summary that comes in the mail.
Folder 3: Wallet Back-ups
Make a copy of everything in your wallet…both sides of each item. This is particularly helpful if you travel a lot.
Folder 4: Insurance
Save the original document and each year keep the newest statement.
-shred the previous year’s statement
Folder 5: Property
Mortgage document (original)
You don’t have to keep each months statement as those are available online if needed.
Receipts from home improvements made – keep for 6 years after property is sold.
Folder 6: Medical
Medical records & bills
Living Will/Healthcare proxy
Folder: 7 Warranty
If you have any special warranty plans, file the original document here
Folder 8: Tax Records & Receipts
This is a folder to hold receipts and proof of charitable contributions for the current tax year. If you use mint.com or a similar cashflow management system, you’ll be able to refer back there as well at tax time.
We suggest filing the previous year’s tax documents in another location because it can be a lot to fit into one file folder. You need to keep a copy of your filed taxes and supporting documentation (like all those receipts you deducted) for 7 years.
Folder 9: Banking
You don’t need to keep each bank statement or account opening docs.
If you have any disputes with your bank, you should keep proof of those in email or in this file.
Folder 10: Investment Accounts
Account opening docs
Copy of contract with investment advisor
You don’t need to save your annual or monthly statements here but a copy of your year-end tax statement should be saved with your taxes.
Organizing your financial documents is a gift to yourself. It’ll help when you need to do taxes, buy a house, or simply want to understand where you stand financially.
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