The start of the year is a great time to get rid of the paper clutter around the house.
Perhaps you want to be able to see the office floor again or simply not have piles of paper that come back week after week. When I do get around to purging paper around the home, I find myself sometimes wondering which records to keep or toss.
There are some documents that you want to permanently keep in a safe place - birth/death certificates, marriage license, deed to your house, and Wills. Documents like investment statements, bank statements and even tax returns do not need to be kept permanently. Credit card statements can be tossed once you have verified the changes. The guidelines below from Good Housekeeping can help you determine which records to keep and how long to keep them.
Once you have determined which documents to toss, remember to shred! A personal story…..my parents were the victims of identity theft. Resolving the incident involved countless hours dedicated to writing letters, filing reports with credit bureaus and making many many phone calls.
Unfortunately, identity theft is on the rise, affecting almost 10 million victims in 2008 (a 22% increase from 2007). It’s a situation that you do not want to find yourself in and that you can help avoid. To reduce your risk of becoming an identity theft victim make sure that you always shred all documents containing your social security, financial information, birthdates or passwords.
Yes, even those letters that come in the mail informing you you’ve been preapproved for such and such offer (especially if it’s for a credit card) should go in the shredder. Local office supply stores carry good quality paper shredders or you can bring your confidential waste paper to free shred events across the country. Click here to find a local event near you!