Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Home Filing System: What to Keep

Saving important documents is essential for your finances, career, health, etc.  However, when it comes to setting up a home filing system, everyone is different.  Some people opt for filing cabinets while others shove old receipts in a shoe box.  Others have gone completely digital by scanning and shredding the information they need to keep handy (though it is important to note this method requires security measures and frequent system checkups).

No matter what system you decide on, you need to know what documents need to be saved and what can be discarded.  If you save stuff you don't need, your system becomes cluttered.  On the other hand, forgetting to save an important piece of paperwork can have consequences in the future.

Here's a short list of what you should always save:

  • Bank Statements
    Track your spending, keep track of major withdrawals,  guard against fraud.
  • Paid Bills
    Proof in case there is a mix-up, another way to track spending.
  • Credit Card Information
    Protect against fraud, stay up to date on policy changes.
  • Health Records / Bills
    Information for new doctors / specialists, timeline of health history, proof of payment.
  • Career Certifications
    It can be difficult to get copies of certificates.
  • Education Transcripts / Degrees
    It can be difficult to get new copies.
  • Insurance Policies
    Always be prepared for an accident  / emergency.
  • Product Warranties
    Save money if something breaks.
  • Receipts from Debit / Credit Purchases
    Balance your monthly statements.
  • Pay Stubs / W-2 Forms
    Save at least the last year's for easier tax filing.

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