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Retention Guide

In our paperless society, the question of how long to hold on to important paper documents has been questionable for most people. Financial documents or other items of Personal Identifying are first to come to mind. You don't want anything with financial or personal information to get into the wrong hands but how long do you need to keep other important documents?

You do need to save certain documentation for financial and estate planning purposes and organize these documents for accessibility. Some documents you will keep until you pass. While sometimes it seems easier to hang on to everything, the clutter might make it difficult to locate important papers when the need arises. And, even with digital documents, you can still run out of space.

Read the guidelines below to help determine which documents have their own special circumstances.

Special Circumstances

  • Car Records (keep until the car is sold)
  • Credit Card Receipts (keep until verified on your statement)
  • Insurance Policies (keep for the life of the policy)
  • Mortgages / Deeds / Leases (keep 6 years beyond the agreement)
  • Pay Stubs (keep until reconciled with your W-2)
  • Sales Receipts (keep for the life of the warranty)
  • Stock and Bond Records (keep for 6 years beyond selling)
  • Warranties and Instructions (keep for the life of the product)
  • Other Bills (keep until payment is verified on the next bill)
  • Depreciation Schedules and Other Capital Asset Records (keep for 3 years after the tax life of the asset)