Ten Traits of Wealthy People
February 8, 2008


Record retention is a must, whether for personal, business, or tax reasons. However, record retention is necessary only to the extent it serves a useful purpose or satisfies legal requirements. Here are some generally accepted guidelines for the retention of your personal records.

Keep permanently and update as needed:

Adoption records

Advance directive

Birth, marriage or death certificates

Correspondence relating to legal or other important matters

Debt repayment or bankruptcy documents

Diplomas, transcripts

Divorce decree and/or custody agreement

Employment records

Inventory of personal valuables and appraisals

Investment records (IRA, Keogh, pension papers, insurance policies, etc.)

Medical history

Military (discharge papers [DD-214] and any disability documentation)

Naturalization or citizenship papers

Personal financial statements

Social Security cards

Keep at least 3 months:

Utility bills – 1 year if using for tax deductions

Keep at least 1 year:

Bills & credit card statements

Payroll stubs

Keep at least 3 years:

Cancelled checks

Keep at least 5 years:

Bank statements

Home insurance

Medical insurance (premium statements, doctor bills, prescriptions, hospital bills, etc.) – from date of service

Keep at least 6-10 years:

Income tax returns & any tax related records including back-up documents

Keep until expired or for duration of item:

Auto insurance

Contracts – expiration date + 6 years

Home improvement and repair records – ownership + 7 years

Life insurance – life of policy + 3 years

Mortgage documents and statements – ownership + 7 years

Motor vehicle titles, purchase receipts, licenses

Powers of attorney – general or durable for health care

Real estate deeds, title papers, abstracts, lien documents

Warranty documents

Wills, trust agreements

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