What to Keep and What to Shred?

Now is the perfect time to organize important documents and financial statements, but where do you start? It’s hard to know what’s okay to shred and what you may need to keep for the future. We’ve made it easy by compiling a list to take out the guesswork.

Keep Forever
  • Birth and death certificates
  • Social Security cards and ID cards
  • Passports (even expired versions)
  • Marriage licenses and divorce decrees
  • Copies of wills, trusts, and powers of attorney
  • Adoption papers
  • Records of paid mortgages
  • Safe-deposit box inventory

These documents are incredibly important and should be kept in a secure location.  Consider purchasing a fire and water safe lockbox, so you never have to worry about damage. In Online Banking, you can also scan and securely store documents digitally in My Virtual StrongBox.

Keep 7 Years
  • Income tax returns
  • Any forms that support income or a deduction on your tax return (receipts, canceled checks, W-2 forms)
  • Records of selling a house or stock (documentation for capital gains tax)
  • Records of paid-off loans
  • Records of sold investments
  • Medical records (including bills, prescriptions, and health insurance information)

The above documents are relative to your income tax returns and should be kept in a safe place for up to three to seven years. Why seven years? This is in case you are subject to an income tax audit by the IRS.

Keep 1 Year
  • Bank statements
  • Pay-stubs

As long as none of your statements are needed for tax purposes, these are typically safe to shred after one year. If you’re enrolled in eStatements, your documents are stored safely in Online Banking for 24 months.

Keep 30 Days
  • Paid credit card statements
  • Bills
  • ATM receipts

Once you have verified that a payment, deposit, or withdrawal has processed, then you are fine to shred the above documents!

Keep as Needed

The following documents should be kept for as long as the service or contracts are active:

  • Warranties
  • Home and mortgage documents
  • Vehicle title and loan documents
  • Insurance documents

Deciding what to keep and what to shred can be difficult, but following this guide can make it easy! For convenient document storage, enroll in eStatements and My Virtual StrongBox in Online Banking.


Source: Federal Trade Commission – Consumer Information

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