Discover What Records to Keep, What Records to Discard, Where to Keep them and How to Organize Your Records for Safety , Convenience and Peace of Mind.

By Claudette E. Paäge, Paäge et Cie Personal Management Services,, Cate Williams, Vice President of Financial Literacy, Money Management International, and Phyllis Searles, Organizing Anchorage,

The importance of organizing, recording and retaining your vital documents cannot be overestimated.

Keeping good financial records can help you:

• Maintain a good credit standing
• Save money on taxes
• Provide a track record of your financial progress.

And good record retention can:

• Save you hours of anxious searching
• Help preserve peace and harmony for you and your family
• Make it much easier to cope with life’s next emergency

What Cate Williams, Vice President of Financial Literacy, Money Management International has to say about keeping good financial records:

A word on keeping good financial records: by Cate Williams, Vice President of Financial Literacy, Money Management International

"As part of getting on a budget and keeping track of their finances, clients become focused on how long to keep certain records. Given the age of technology and the new way we pay our accounts (via electronic transfer of funds or use of a debit card) some of the old rules need to be viewed differently.

“Ask your accountant or tax preparer how long they retain your return information and if there would be a charge to retrieve your return. Or request the data be backed up on disk. Day-to-day statements and receipts only need to be retained until you are sure the payment has been received.”

“Consumers need to think ‘Why am I keeping this?’ ‘If I didn't have it, could I retrieve it some place else?’ ”

“Budgeting is finding a system that works to track spending, not to track paper!”

But what exactly is good record retention?

We all know that there are some records we need to keep. But which ones? And for how long?

If we were to start keeping everything that “might” be important, it’s not hard to imagine ourselves soon living in a house or apartment littered with numerous tall stacks of paper stretching from the floor to the ceiling.

So what should you do?

The following are essential guidelines you can follow to quickly and easily decide what records to keep and what records to discard as well as how and where to store your important records.

What Records to Keep (and for how long)
– Keeping family records in a business-like manner saves time, trouble, money and frustration. Click here to discover what records you should keep, how you should keep them and for how long you should keep them.

What Records to Discard
– Today more than ever families and individuals are suffering from document overload. Click here to discover what records are OK to destroy so that you don’t find yourself awash in a sea of documents – as well as learn about a new law that may require you to shred important information or risk being fined or sued.

How to Organize Your Records
– Many records and papers can be kept in a home file for ready access, while others should be left with your attorney or placed in a safe-deposit box. Click here to learn more about “No Time Like Now – A Fifteen Minute Guide to Organizing Your Life” This booklet tells you where to keep specific papers as well as how to organize your records to ensure you are able to quickly and easily access information when you need it.

January 18, 2011

I found this article to be very informative and practical. I personally do not like having too many paper documents so it gave me a great understanding on what documents I should keep.
I especially liked how it breaks down what records to keep, where and for how long.

January 19, 2011

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