Spring is in the air! Flowers are blooming, the sun is shining and it is time to get our financial documents in order. Whether you maintain paper files or save all of your documents electronically, being able to locate your financial records is important!
The first step to organization is finding out where to store your financial documents. Your financial documents should be located in a safe, secure place that is not easily accessible by others. If you prefer to keep paper files, consider putting them in a fire-resistant file cabinet, safe, or safe-deposit box. If you keep electronic files, consider backing up copies onto a portable storage device or even in a cloud storage service. You may want to leave instructions to a loved one on how to locate your documents in the event of an emergency.
Maintaining the most up-to-date records is essential but for some important documents, keeping a history is necessary. The IRS generally recommends keeping tax records for 3 to 7 years depending on certain criteria. For easily duplicated records such as bank statements, credit statements or certain bills, you might hold on to them long enough to reconcile or pay them then replace them with the new statement. Shred your files when you’re ready to dispose of them especially if they contain Social Security numbers, account numbers, or other personal information.
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