If you are getting your financial house in order to kick off 2018, here’s one more thing to consider: how long should you keep financial documents?
“Actually, many people hold on to documents for much longer than they need to,” says PNC senior wealth strategist Jim Benedict, who is based in Charlotte, N.C. “It’s good to be careful with your documents, but that doesn’t mean you need to keep all of them forever.”
To be sure, keeping your documents on file can save you a lot of hassle if a lender, retailer or government disputes your financial information. Benedict points out that documents can confirm charitable donations if you are audited by the IRS or help you confirm that you have paid off a debt. And some documents, such as estate-planning documents, should be kept forever.
“Not all financial documents are created equal, so you have to take care with what you keep and what you dispose of,” he says.
You should talk with your financial expert for specific questions or concerns, but here’s a quick guideline of whether you should save or shred your documents:
“It’s wise to know what you should keep and what you should shred,” Benedict says. “Given that we have issues with our identities being stolen, you don’t want to make it any easier for scammers or cyber criminals to cause trouble for you.”
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It is no fun trying to get documents when you’ve lost the originals. Make the effort to keep them safe and secure from the beginning so you don’t have to worry in case something terrible happens, such as a fire or flood.
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