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Spring Cleaning

Spring Cleaning: When to Dispose of your confidential documents

We hope that you and your family had a wonderful Easter! Spring is here, and along with beautiful weather comes an opportunity to do some much-needed annual cleaning. While many things in our technology-driven lives have moved online, we all still accumulate a significant amount of paper documents each year.

And since tax season is now over, Lee and I thought it would be helpful to share a few suggestions on how to get rid of that extra paper! Below are our recommendations for how long you may want to keep certain documents and when it is a suitable time to dispose of them...

How long should you keep your financial documents?

  • Keep for less than a year. Keep your ATM, bank deposit, and credit card receipts until you reconcile them with your monthly statements. Once you’ve done that, you can shred the documents unless you need them to support your tax return for the upcoming year. Keep Investment statements until the new one arrives. Your investment statements with Peters Financial can be reproduced at any time if needed, so quarterly investment statements from Kestra, American Funds, Prudential, Brighthouse, etc., can be shredded.
  • Keep for a year or longer. Hold on to loan documents until the loan is paid off. If you own a vehicle, hold on to the title until you sell it. If you have investments in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds that were recently moved to a new account – keep the purchase confirmations until cost basis is established. Once the cost basis is established in your new account, old investment statements can be shredded.
  • Keep for 3 years. (For Most People) The IRS recommends keeping records for 3 years from the date you filed your original return or 2 years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later. If you take the standard deduction and only have a few sources of income, the 3-year rule typically applies.
  • Keep for seven years. If you have a complicated tax return and many sources of income, keep all tax records for at least 7 years. Tax returns and documents older than 7 years can be shredded. On the off chance that you fail to report all your gross income on your tax returns, the government has 6 years to collect the tax or start legal proceedings.
  • Keep forever. Records such as birth and death certificates, marriage licenses, divorce decrees, Social Security cards, Property Titles, and military discharge papers should be kept indefinitely. Also, keep any defined-benefit plan documents, estate-planning documents, life insurance policies, and an inventory of what’s inside your bank safe deposit box.

Every year, we host our annual Shred Event and Open House to help with your spring-cleaning needs and catch up before the summer season arrives! Please feel free to bring all your outdated documents and statements to our annual Cinco de Mayo Shred Event on Thursday, May 2nd from 3:30 pm to 6:30 pm at the Peters Financial Office (153 W I-65 Service Rd N, Mobile, AL 36608).

This event is a way for us to show how much we appreciate clients like you! A shred truck will be onsite so you can safely dispose of any old documents. We will also celebrate Cinco de Mayo early with delicious Mexican food, beverages, and sweet treats for the kids and kids at heart!

We always look forward to this event, and we hope to see you there! As always, do not hesitate to reach out if we can assist you in any way.           

*** RSVP here or call the office at 251-340-6161.