At the start of every new year, I have a ritual:  cleaning out my filing cabinet of all the paperwork that I’ve accumulated over the past year.  It’s really an effort to begin gathering the things I’ll need for my taxes.  Now, I admit I’m a bit overzealous when it comes to purging things.  I hate clutter and tend to rid my home of any excess whenever I can, but there are some things that I need to keep.

Different records need to be kept for varying lengths of time, and there are no hard and fast rules on how long you must save most things.  It’s best to use your own judgment.  That said, we’ve outlined a few general guidelines to help you.

Keep for up to 1 year:

  • Paystubs
  • Utility bills
  • Credit card statements

Keep for 1 year or longer:

  • Financial statements
  • Medical bills
  • Investment purchase confirmations (keep until you sell the investment)
  • Major purchase receipts or sale records

Keep for 7 years:

  • Tax returns & supporting documentation
    • W-2 forms & 1099 forms
    • Charitable contribution documents
    • Receipts or logs pertaining to tax returns

These items should never be destroyed:

  • Legal documents
  • Vital records (birth / marriage / divorce / death / adoption / etc.)
  • Military discharge paperwork

Start your new year off right by organizing your files.  When it comes to managing your investments, reach out to Hovis & Associates to schedule a review of your accounts.  We are here to help guide you down your financial path.