Even as businesses, credit card companies and banks continue to push most of their correspondence onto the Internet, the truth is that we still get a lot of paper mail piling up at home. If you’ve been a good citizen, then you’ve been dutifully keeping track of all of those credit card statements, bank statements and other similar financial documents. If you haven’t, then you ought to start. Not only is the information contained in those financial documents important to you, it’s also high value information for someone that might seek to steal or use your identity.
For this reason, it’s important to keep track of all of these documents, so make sure that you’re filing them away properly. However, as the weeks, months and years go by, you’ll probably notice that your files will fill up pretty quickly. So it’s important to also know when you’re safe to trim the herd and shred that information. And we do mean shred, by the way, because you wouldn’t want all of that information to fall into the wrong hands, would you?
But, how long should you wait before turning all of that financial information into confetti? Easy to answer! For your monthly bills, say, for example, your electric bill or credit card bills, you really only need to keep this information for one month. After that, you’re free to shred away! You’ll want to hang onto more important financial documents like monthly bank statements and cancelled checks for one year. Once a year’s up, shred away! Finally, for anything super important like annual tax return information, mortgage statements or information on your retirement accounts, you’ll want to hang onto this stuff for at least five to seven years. That may seem like a long time, but you’ll be glad you have it handy if you ever need it.