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I know it's been discussed before, but I'm wondering again. How long does one need to keep paperwork?

I'm not really talking about tax returns. Investment documentation as long as one holds the investment and a couple-few years afterward. But is a year-end statement sufficient, or are all the quarterly statements needed?

On the Home Maintenance board, the topic has come up, especially regarding the last year or two electric/water bills for documentation when one is selling a house.

But that got me thinking -- what else is needed? Insurance bills? Insurance declarations pages? Bank statements (especially given that it's rare to get back cancelled checks)? I find the checkbook registers very informative, so I'd keep those. Credit card bills? Some of that could be informative for tax-related purposes (items purchased for home renovation, medical deductions and such). If there's an annual statement provided by the credit card company, would that be sufficient? I'm guessing the actual receipts for such expenses would also be a good thing to hold on to. What about IRA paperwork -- original contributions, deductible or not, Roths, IRA transfers, etc.?

I know Phil has mentioned some of his experiences with clearing out paperwork -- and gratitude for those who've done so -- but I'd love to get others' opinions and reasons for such guidelines.

My name is Alison and I'm a pack rat. (Hi, Alison!) I don't think I've quite gone over the line toward serious hoarding, but maybe I'm just in denial.


~~ Alison, needs to learn to let go of some stuff
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