Are you wondering what to keep and what to shred?  The Federal Trade Commission looked at experts’ advice and compiled this summary of how long they recommend keeping certain documents.

Shred Immediately:

  • Sales receipts
  • ATM receipts
  • Paid credit card statements
  • Paid utility bills
  • Credit offers
  • Cancelled checks (that are not tax-related)
  • Expired warranties

Shred After 1 Year:

  • Pay stubs
  • Bank statements
  • Paid, undisputed medical bills

Shred After 7 Years:

  • Tax-related receipts
  • Tax-related cancelled checks
  • W-2s
  • Records for tax deductions taken

It Depends…

  • Auto titles (keep as long as you own the vehicle)
  • Home deeds (keep as long as you own the property)
  • Disputed medical bills (keep until the issue is resolved)
  • Home improvement receipts (keep until you sell your home and pay any capital gains taxes)

Keep Forever (in a secure location, like a home safe or bank safe deposit box):

  • Birth certificates
  • Social Security cards
  • Marriage or divorce decrees
  • Citizenship papers
  • Adoption papers
  • Death certificates
  • Tax returns

Destroying documents that include any personal or account information is an important step you can take to protect yourself from identity theft.  For more information about identity theft prevention, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website.