Broker Check

Spring Cleaning: Organizing Your Financial Documents

May 15, 2024

The weather is getting warmer; the days are getting longer and now is a good time for some spring cleaning! Tax filing season is behind (most of) us, so now is the time to get your financial documents stored and properly organized. Whether you prefer paper or electronic documents, being able to quickly and easily locate your financial records is important!

The first step to organization is deciding 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. Consider leaving instructions with a trusted party 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.1 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 and 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.

1 Topic No. 305, Recordkeeping | Internal Revenue Service (

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