“So… how long do I need to hold onto these documents?”
This question, and general confusion regarding what is safe to shred vs. best to store, is the main reason people tend to:
A) Err on the side of caution and just keep the docs AND
B) End up living and working in cluttered spaces
Here’s the scoop:
The Federal Trade Commission has developed a pretty infographic on what to shred or store.
BUT remember, we have slightly different guidelines here in Canada. So please take a look at our quick and easy breakdown.
- Bank withdrawal and deposit slips
- Receipts (unless you purchased something with a warranty: keep it until your warranty expires or you no longer own the item).
- Internet, Telephone & Utility Bills: (Keep until they’re paid and then shred.)
- Monthly Bank/Credit Card Statements
- Monthly Brokerage/Mutual Fund/Mortgage Statements
- Pay Stubs: Reconcile with your T4 and then shred.
- ANYTHING TAX RELATED: Tax Returns (Starting from the end of the tax year relating to the records.) and receipts & statements (donations, RRSP contributions, child care receipts, mortgage interest, medical expenses, property tax payments, alimony/child support paid or received, etc.)
- Annual Mortgage Statements
- Adoption Records
- Auto/Home/Life Insurance Policy Information: Keep as long as the policy is still active and then shred.
- Auto Records: Keep as long as you own the vehicle.
- Birth Certificate
- Death Certificate(s)
- Divorce Agreement/Child Custody Orders
- Investment Records
- Marriage Certificate
- Medical Records
- Military Records
- Pension Plan Records
- Receipts for major home improvements: Keep until you no longer own the home.
- Will and/or Power of Attorney