Is this what YOUR desk Looks like??
Neat Freaks is starting a series on organizing your personal paperwork and protecting yourself from identity theft. You’ll find a few tips below to help.
Here’s a quick rule-of-thumb list on how long you should keep important documents:
1. Recommended times to keep important paperwork…
- 1 month: utility bill, credit card receipts
- 6-11 months: credit card statements
- 1 year: bank statements, canceled checks, insurance policy declarations page
- 7 years: 1099 interest statements, tax returns and supporting documents
- Tax returns: receipts for deductible expenses, medical bill and claim forms
- In fireproof box: power of attorney forms, living wills, wills, medical and burial directives
- In safe-deposit box: home deeds and real estate certificates, auto titles, stock and bond certificates, insurance policies.
After that you can shred them and place them in your recycle barrel.
2. Around the first of the year mark a folder with the previous year and big words that say TAX PAPERWORK on it. Then when anything that has to do with your taxes arrives in your mailbox IMMEDIATELY place it in that file. This will save you much frustration and desperation come April 15th when your tax man needs your records.
3. Cancel your magazine subscriptions you never have time to read or right after you read them take them to your favorite hair salon/doctors office and leave them there for other people to enjoy.
4. One great way to ensure the safety of your identity: purchase protection services like those from LifeLock. They will monitor your identity for threats and keep an eye on your credit.
5. Look up recipes with the online version of your favorite magazines like Food Network or Rachael Ray instead of keeping the magazines around for years. They all an have easy to find recipe index by ingredient. Just prop up your tablet in the kitchen and cook away.
BONUS TIP: Help your kids learn good paperwork management skills too. We all want to save each and every paper our little darling brings home but they can add up quickly. Let them help you pick out their best work each month to save in their keepsake box and dispose of the rest. ( Might be best to do that after they go to bed!) You can also take photos and keep a digital file for each child rather than more piles of paper.
Identity Theft Tips:
- To help prevent identity theft try signing up for electronic statements and bills as much as possible. It saves trees, saves on shredding and is way more secure. Plus, you never have to file them. WIN win!
- Write “see i.d.” on the back of credit cards rather than signing them
- -Shred anything with personal information on it (including your name and address on junk mail) when you no longer need it
- -Diligently check your bank statements and sign up for text alerts on bank and credit card charges.
- Don’t reveal your birthdate online via social media or other websites.
Have any tips to share? Please let us know in the comments section below.