How long do you keep personal records paperwork for?

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by Mem, Jun 3, 2008.

  1. Mem

    Mem
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    I keep mine for too long and I have to learn to throw things out. They say you should keep things for about 7 years or so. I find that I keep things that I don't need such as old paid utility/phone/cable statements. I'm gonna try to stick to only keeping bank and credit card statements.
     
  2. FuzzyKen

    FuzzyKen New Member

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    There is no way to do this and give a simple rule that applies to everyone.

    Even utility bills can have circumstances where proof of the exact amounts could be necessary in an audit.

    The easiest and best way is to simply sort everything first by year and secondly by month. Place everything for each month in a large manilla envelope and then clearly mark the year and month on the exterior of that envelope. Surprisingly if placed in plastic totes and then stored in a decent environment ten years worth of records takes relatively little space for the average person.

    There are other reasons for doing this. There are times that saving paperwork from the past can save your rear. A friend of mine had problems when a roofer filed a mechanics lein against a home and began to take legal action for roofing repairs that had been performed several years before his parents had died. The parents had saved everything and this included the cancelled cheque showing that this crook had been paid in full. The paperwork that the parents had saved showed up the attempt at fraud very quickly. The crooked roofer was depending on people in the family after the deaths to have purged all the records.

    Utility bills can be relevant to show problems.

    Example: You have been at a residence for 10 years. All of a sudden you see a water bill that is climbing higher and higher. The old records could begin to show if you would be dealing with simple rate increases, a slab leak (under the slab foundation of the home) or a utility company employee that does not want to exit his vehicle and is "guestimating" his/her reads.

    My family encountered this on an electric bill from Southern California Edison and a "reader" had been falsifying records over a long period of time. The escalating electric bill, and the reads in the family members hands disproved the charges when the meter and the reads did not even come close to matching each other when checked.

    To know what you need to keep and throw for you specifically, you need to talk to a good qualified accountant. (That does not mean a tax preparer)
     
  3. dickman45885

    dickman45885 New Member

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    Another idea.....lots of us now have all-in-ones...scanners, printers, copiers, and faxes. Scan it and file it and then trash the paper copy. If it is a reciept then scan the paid receipt.
     
  4. Principessa

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    Too long, way too long. :redface: My worst fear is that the IRS will audit me and I won't have everything I need to prove my innocence. I just threw away check stubs from Great Adventure circa 1982, when my parents moved in 2004.

    Though to be fair, my mom is the same way; so I think it's one of those negative hereditary things.
     
  5. submit452

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    I say when in doubt and its to do with the Gov or money keep it indefinitely and have a file cabinet or fire proof box, just in case someone at the dept. goofs your file or you get audited at a future time.
     
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