What to Shred & What to Keep

You hear advice all the time that you should shred sensitive documents to reduce your risk of identity theft. However, what exactly are “sensitive documents,” and are there some you should keep for a while before destroying them?

You are able to shred any of the following:

  • Account Numbers, Passwords, PINs, Signatures, Social Security number, Date of Birth
  • Tax Returns
    • Retain for at least seven years. Never throw out a 1040, but receipts, W-2 Forms, and 1099 forms can be shredded after seven years. It is also recommended you keep one paper file of your tax return and one digital version.
  • Mortgage Documents
    • Keep these, as well as documents of any improvements, for six years after you sell the property in question.
  • Pay Stubs
    • Retain for one year, or at least until you’ve made sure they agree with your W-2.
  • Medical Records
    • One year is the standard, in case of billing errors or disputes. I’d probably go ahead and make it a little longer.
  • Credit Union/Bank Statements
    • Retain them for one year. Why not go paperless? Talk to your bank about online banking and paperless statements. No shredding needed!
  • Brokerage Statements
    • Maintain year-end statements for 5 years. No need to keep monthly statements at the end of the year.
  • Utility bills
    • After you’ve paid your bill, you can shred these unless they contain tax-deductible expenses. In that case, you’ll need to keep them with your “tax stuff.”

Join Vance Wealth to destroy old documents at our Sip & Shred Event – October 14th 4:00pm -6:00pm at the Vance Wealth Office! Cheers!

All information has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but its accuracy is not guaranteed. There is no representation or warranty as to the current accuracy, reliability or completeness of, nor liability for, decisions based on such information and it should not be relied on as such.