War on paper
There's an old adage that "stuff expands to fill the storage space available." And for some of us, when that space is full, we go out and buy more storage, rather than prune the stuff back.
But just how long do you need to keep all that stuff? Here is a handy reference for dealing with your paper trail. (These rules don't apply if you're running a business from home, however. That's a totally different story.)
ATM and bank slips
Once you've reconciled your account, toss them.
Credit card receipts
- Toss receipts for meals, groceries, haircuts, spa visits, movie tickets, parking stubs - things you can't return. Once you've accounted for it, let it go!
- If there's a chance you'll need to return it, keep it until your statement arrives.
- If it's for a major purchase (bicycles, artwork, jewellery), keep it as proof of purchase - especially if it cost more than your insurance deductible. If it has a warranty, (appliances, etc.), staple the receipt to the owner's manual and file it.
Bank and brokerage statements
Online statements are a great way to keep the paper out of the house in the first place. If not, toss the interim ones after reviewing them and keep the annual statements.
Most utilities use epost or have their own online systems to distribute monthly bills. Even if you do print them out, a 12-month rolling system is always adequate - when you file a new one, toss out the oldest one.
Shred them once you've received your T-4.
So after you've done a good pruning of the financial detritus that has been cluttering up your desk and filing cabinet, what do you need to keep?
- Records and supporting documents for acquisitions and disposal of property, along with receipts for major home and cottage improvements.
- Automobile repairs: keep bills for as long as you own your vehicle to increase the value at resale.
One final note
Paper shredders are cheap. Identify theft is not.
This Report is written by Investment Planning Counsel, a fully integrated Wealth Management Company. Mutual funds available through IPC Investment Corporation and IPC Securities Corporation. Securities available through IPC Securities Corporation, a member of CIPF. Insurance products available through IPC Estate Services Inc. Mortgage broker services provided by IPC Save Inc. (ON Lic. #10227).
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