How Long Do I Keep Important Papers?
Seeing that it is tax time, most people end up going through stacks and stacks of paper. It always begs the question, when can I throw this information out?
The most important papers to keep is any paperwork pertaining to your tax return. The IRS can go back 7 years for audits. Put together a system to where when you finish the tax returns from the current year that you go back and shred the oldest tax return of your 7 years.
I would apply this rule towards medical records, investment statements, expenses, etc. The only added advice I would give is to hang on to your annual statements from your investment accounts. Your annual statements should show the beginning and ending balances as well as activity for the year. If you don't get an annual statement, keep at least the December statements. You never know when you need to go back and access information.
How do you store them? This is personal preference. Personally, I like the idea of electronic storage on a cloud based system such as one drive or google drive. This is where a good scanner comes in. Incidentally, if you are going to get a scanner, get a good one and don't skimp. There is nothing worst than trying to scan on a cheaper scanner.
As a backup, you can always verify that your Financial Advisor or CPA keep electronic copies of your returns and statements.
For the old fashion, you can store in one box per year or a filing system. Bottom line is to create a system that is workable for you.