How Long Should Financial Records Be Kept?

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Stack of medical bills
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Discover what to shred or delete and when.

If you have a stash of financial records that’s outgrown its storage space, you may be wondering what to keep and what to shred or delete. Here’s a quick rundown on how long to keep financial documents and receipts.

Daily transactions

Most receipts for daily transactions like cash and credit card purchases, bank deposits and ATM slips can be shredded as soon as they are reconciled with monthly statements. The exception to this rule is receipts used for tax purposes—such as expenses for medical, business, rental property or childcare purposes, as well as flexible spending account purchases and student loan interest.

Some people shred paper receipts used for tax purposes after scanning them digitally. If you scan and save receipts, make sure to have a backup on a cloud service or hard drive.


Keep tax returns and supporting documents (like the receipts mentioned above) for seven years.

Insurance policies

For home and auto insurance only keep documents for the policy that’s current. The exception is if you have an open claim; in this case, keep the policy until the claim is settled.

Monthly statements

If you receive an annual summary for things like a brokerage account or credit card, shred monthly statements after receiving the summary.

Monthly bank statements for checking and savings accounts should be kept for one year.

Utility bills

Unless you write off all or a portion of utility bills as a business expense on your taxes, utility bills can be shredded when payment clears.

Medical bills

Paid-off medical bills should be held for at least a year. If you have an ongoing insurance claim or dispute, hold on to them until the matter is cleared.

Loan payoffs

Keep records of loan payoffs, such as a vehicle loan, until you sell the asset.

Some people like to keep all loan payoff documents indefinitely, especially for mortgages, just in case a question of repayment arises.

Investment purchases

Keep records of investment purchases of stock and bonds until you sell them. The purchase confirmation will be used to evaluate profit or loss, as well as establish cost basis and holding period.

Hold on to these items forever

Some original documents should always be kept, including:

  • Birth certificates
  • Death certificates
  • Social Security cards
  • Adoption papers
  • Passports
  • Immigration documents
  • Wills and powers of attorney
  • Marriage licenses
  • Divorce decrees
  • Military discharge papers
  • Beneficiary forms
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Did you know that Consumers members have access to complimentary document shredding? It’s available at each of our offices. Simply place your documents in the locked bin and a Data Guardian shred truck will come to securely destroy the contents.


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Free document shredding

Consumers member have access to complimentary document shredding at each of our offices.

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