Managing Household Records

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
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helix
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2014 6:57 pm

Managing Household Records

Post by helix » Thu Jan 01, 2015 10:44 pm

I stumbled upon an article with recommendations regarding how long to keep various records. Thought that it might be worth sharing...

http://www.usa.gov/Topics/Money/Persona ... ords.shtml

Some highlights:
  • Bank statements: 1 year, unless needed to support tax filings
  • Credit card records: Until paid, unless needed to support tax filings
  • Investment statements: Shred your monthly statements; keep annual statements until you sell the investments
  • Tax records: 7 years from the filing date

island
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Re: Managing Household Records

Post by island » Thu Jan 01, 2015 11:05 pm

Thanks!

Bill M
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Re: Managing Household Records

Post by Bill M » Thu Jan 01, 2015 11:32 pm

Such record keeping articles were useful back when records were on paper and the file boxes were always full; with paperless records now they are less so.

Consider that 10 years of full household records take less space on my hard drive than last summer's vacation photos. It hardly makes it worth the effort to delete the ones that can be deleted.

LeeMKE
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Re: Managing Household Records

Post by LeeMKE » Thu Jan 01, 2015 11:39 pm

Anyone here a pack Rat?

My first CPA gave me a list like that and explained why I should avoid keeping records longer than recommended. If you get called for an audit on fraud (which can happen long after the usual review dates, and for most of us would be triggered by someone with whom we've done business or are related to having been involved in something fraudulent) and you have documents, you'll be required to answer questions about the documents. I don't know about you, but I'm pretty fuzzy on the reason for some receipts a few years after the end of the tax year. I'd hate to have to defend the documentation with a weak recollection, especially if the circumstances could be dire.

Ergo, I have a banker's box for each year (should go down to 1/3 box when we close DH's business) and rotate them, shredding the contents of the oldest box each year. I used to keep everything, but once I got the hang of what to keep permanently, and what is kept a few years, the volume really shrank.
The mightiest Oak is just a nut who stayed the course.

carolinaman
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Location: North Carolina

Re: Managing Household Records

Post by carolinaman » Fri Jan 02, 2015 7:51 am

Our attorney at work always said that we should keep our business records as long as the law required, but not one day longer. Sounds like good advice for personal records too.

crg11
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Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2014 8:16 am

Re: Managing Household Records

Post by crg11 » Fri Jan 02, 2015 8:33 am

I now save every statement as a PDF of my computer. Takes up almost nothing in terms of hard drive space and ensures I can find something if I ever need to.

nordsteve
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Re: Managing Household Records

Post by nordsteve » Fri Jan 02, 2015 9:34 am

Record type-Retention period-Where retained
Backups of computer financial documents-7 years-Financial backup file, OneDrive
Bills-1 year-Scan
Car accident reports -7 years-Car file
Insurance policies-7 years-Insurer file
Loan records-3 years after payoff-Scan
Medical records-Permanent-Medical file, by person
Property records, including title and closing records-7 years-Property name file
Receipts-See below-Yearly file
Receipts, charitable contribution-7 years-Yearly file
Receipts, child care -7 years-Yearly file
Receipts, flexible spending account -7 years-Yearly file
Receipts, home improvement-Permanent-Yearly file
Receipts, mortgage payment -7 years-Yearly file
S Corporation documents-Permanent-Company file
Statement, bank account -7 years-Scan
Statement, brokerage-7 years-Scan
Statements, retirement plan -Permanent-Scan
Statements, Social security -1 year-Scan
Equity compensation agreements-7 years from exercise or expiration-Scan
Tax returns, 1099, W-2-Permanent-Tax file by year
Warranties-Until expired-Warranty file

The "yearly file" is a 13 pocket plastic expando file. Receipts that are retained are sorted into that file by vendor name. Receipts that are not retained: gas, groceries, merchandise, restaurants.

Scans are OCRed and are stored in one giant folder. Anything in there is found by searching, not via file names or folder structure. Fujitsu ScanSnap is your friend. I scan directly to a folder that is in my OneDrive tree, so I have instant off site backup. I also make time based backups on a local storage device as well.

Sorry about the formatting -- doesn't look like bbcode tables are supported here.

yosef
Posts: 337
Joined: Tue May 24, 2011 2:10 pm

Re: Managing Household Records

Post by yosef » Fri Jan 02, 2015 9:50 am

Bill M wrote:Such record keeping articles were useful back when records were on paper and the file boxes were always full; with paperless records now they are less so.

Consider that 10 years of full household records take less space on my hard drive than last summer's vacation photos. It hardly makes it worth the effort to delete the ones that can be deleted.
The bigger issue for me with respect to things like statements and bills is obtaining them. Frankly, I don't consider it worth my time to go out to each institution every month to download copies of statements they are going to retain anyway. And then of course there's the fact that I've never, ever needed one and can't understand why I would. Anything tax-related I do keep permanently.

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Peculiar_Investor
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Re: Managing Household Records

Post by Peculiar_Investor » Fri Jan 02, 2015 10:04 am

helix wrote:I stumbled upon an article with recommendations regarding how long to keep various records.
You could also wander over to the wiki and read Record retention.
Normal people… believe that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Engineers believe that if it ain’t broke, it doesn’t have enough features yet. – Scott Adams

Bill M
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Re: Managing Household Records

Post by Bill M » Fri Jan 02, 2015 10:11 am

yosef wrote:
Bill M wrote:Such record keeping articles were useful back when records were on paper and the file boxes were always full; with paperless records now they are less so.

Consider that 10 years of full household records take less space on my hard drive than last summer's vacation photos. It hardly makes it worth the effort to delete the ones that can be deleted.
The bigger issue for me with respect to things like statements and bills is obtaining them. Frankly, I don't consider it worth my time to go out to each institution every month to download copies of statements they are going to retain anyway. And then of course there's the fact that I've never, ever needed one and can't understand why I would. Anything tax-related I do keep permanently.
Certainly agree its not worth extra effort to get the electronic records. When I update my spreadsheet once/month, I download the most recent statement for that account. When I pay the credit card bill, I download the statement for that card. It keeps the workload manageable.

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Toons
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Re: Managing Household Records

Post by Toons » Fri Jan 02, 2015 10:17 am

helix wrote:I stumbled upon an article with recommendations regarding how long to keep various records. Thought that it might be worth sharing...

http://www.usa.gov/Topics/Money/Persona ... ords.shtml

Some highlights:
  • Bank statements: 1 year, unless needed to support tax filings
  • Credit card records: Until paid, unless needed to support tax filings
  • Investment statements: Shred your monthly statements; keep annual statements until you sell the investments
  • Tax records: 7 years from the filing date
1.Bank Statements I view online(have never had the need to download)
2.Credit Card Statements I view online(never had the need to download)
3,All investment accounts,statements are viewed online,download statements if needed save as pdf on computer(s)
4.Tax records after return is completed via TaxAct are saved in pdf form and saved stored on computer and "the cloud".
Nothing to "shred" :happy
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

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stratton
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Re: Managing Household Records

Post by stratton » Fri Jan 02, 2015 10:24 am

I have 12 files labeled January through December where I rotate monthly bills through for ones I don't intend on keeping. Anything with tax implications gets filed with the tax year it applies.

I need to clean out the January one with all the 2014 stuff in it.

Paul
...and then Buffy staked Edward. The end.

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tuckeverlasting
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Re: Managing Household Records

Post by tuckeverlasting » Sat Jan 03, 2015 9:02 am

I guess I am old school, having an actual file cabinet with actual paper files in it. I like records I can put my hands on. It is also good for filing all kinds of other paper, like for example the instruction manual for my vacuum cleaner, instructions to my kids in case of emergency, etc. :happy
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