How long should I keep financial records?

There's a fine line between keeping financial records for a reasonable period of time and becoming a pack rat. A general rule of thumb is to keep financial records only as long as necessary. For example, you may want to keep ATM receipts only temporarily, until you've reconciled them with your bank statement. But if a document provides legal support and/or is hard to replace, you'll want to keep it for a longer period or even indefinitely. It's ultimately up to you to determine which records you should keep on hand and for how long, but here's a suggested timetable for some common documents.

One year or less

More than one year

Indefinitely

Bank or credit union statements

Tax returns and documentation*

Birth, death, and marriage certificates

Credit card statements

Mortgage contracts and documentation

Adoption papers

Utility bills

Property appraisals

Citizenship papers

Annual insurance policies

Annual retirement and investment statements

Military discharge papers

Paycheck stubs

Receipts for major purchases and home improvements

Social Security card

*The IRS requires taxpayers to keep records that support income, deductions, and credits shown on their income tax returns until the period of limitations for that return runs out--generally three to seven years, depending on the circumstances. Visit irs.gov or consult your tax professional for information related to your specific situation.

*Non-deposit investment products and services are offered through CUSO Financial Services, L.P. (“CFS”), a registered broker-dealer (Member FINRA/SIPC)and SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Products offered through CFS: are not NCUA/NCUSIF or otherwise federally insured, are not guarantees or obligations of the credit union, and may involve investment risk including possible loss of principal. Investment Representatives are registered through CFS. Redwood Credit Union has contracted with CFS to make non-deposit investment products and services available to credit union Members.

Prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. Copyright 2016.