What to Keep? What to Toss? Tips to Help You De-Clutter

04/28/2016

What to Keep? What to Toss? Tips to Help You De-Clutter

Everybody has a paper trail – everything from utility bills and financial statements to tax records and receipts. With so many records it may be difficult to determine which items you should keep (and for how long).

Filing and organizing records is critical to maintaining healthy finances. Not only will tax time be easier, but your spouse and other family members will be able to locate important information should the unexpected happen to you.

Following these guidelines may help you organize your records.

Bank statements: Okay to destroy after one year, unless you need them for tax purposes. Signing up for free services like Online Banking and eStatements is easy, and reduces paper. You can view account history, see when checks have cleared, and pay your bills from anywhere, 24/7.

Utility bills: Throw out (unless you need them for tax purposes).

Tax records: Most experts recommend destroying these after six years.

Insurance records: Keep for the life of your policy.

Life documents (birth certificate, marriage certificate, diplomas, divorce decrees and military records): Store in a safe deposit box indefinitely.

Homeowner records (deed and title to your house): Do not throw away.

Life- and estate-planning documents: keep the most current copy.

Receipts for major purchases, such as furniture and electronics: Keep as long as you own the item. Any papers you’re throwing away with personal information, like a Social Security number, should be shredded to avoid identity theft.


Stay Organized

It’s important to keep a list detailing where your records are and how to access them. Store this in a safe place or with a trusted family member or friend (be sure to keep a copy). List each type of account, where it’s located and the contact information of the appropriate agent. Update your list periodically.
Plus consider your electronic record-keeping options. Free services like Bill Pay, eStatements and Online Banking can help you stay organized, simplify managing your money, and save you time. Visit northshorebank.com to learn more about these and other convenient electronic services.


We Can Help

Safe deposit boxes at North Shore Bank are a secure way to keep original copies of your most important documents. We offer a variety of sizes to fit your unique needs.
Also, remember that you can securely shred your old documents for free at North Shore Bank's annual Community Shredding Day. Check for the most up-to-date event information at shredIt.northshorebank.com

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