Infographic: Organizing Your Finances


A simple guide to determine what documents to keep and what documents are OK to toss!

Keep these documents forever

Ideally in a fireproof safe or in a safe-deposit box and backed up on the cloud.

  • Birth/death certificates and Social Security cards
  • Marriage licenses and divorce decrees
  • Pension plan documents
  • Copies of wills, living wills, trusts, and powers of attorney
  • Military discharge papers
  • Copies of burial deeds and plots
  • Safe-deposit box inventory

Keep these documents for as long as you own the asset

Ideally in an organized and lockable filing cabinet and backed up on the cloud.

  • Appliance manuals and warranties
  • House and mortgage documents
  • Insurance policies
  • Vehicle titles and loan documents

Toss these documents

Ideally after running them through a document shredder.

  • ATM deposit and withdrawal slips: Toss after less than 30 days
  • Utility and phone bills: Toss after less than 30 days
  • Credit card statements: Toss after 45 days
  • Bank statements: Toss after 1 year
  • Pay stubs: Toss after 1 year
  • Medical records: Toss after 5 years
  • Tax returns and supporting documents: Toss after 7 years
  • Investment statements: Toss after 7 years

A good rule of thumb: If you will need to venture down to a government office, wait in line at a hospital or sit on the phone for an hour to retrieve a document, then it’s likely best to hold onto it. If you can easily pop online and retrieve a document, then you likely don’t need to keep a physical copy.

Sources: Jill on Money,,, Suze Orman