Spring Cleaning – Doesn’t only apply to housework

As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, working through spring cleaning with our clients takes on a different spin. The tax due date looms, 1099 forms need to be gathered and documents piled up from the year past need to be sorted and organized. A common question from clients and others continues to arise: how long do I need to keep my financial documents? Although not an expert in document storage, here are a few general “rules of thumb.”


Documentation Duration
Vehicle Titles Until sold or discarded
Loan Documentation Until paid in full
Mortgage Statements Until property sold
Credit Card Records Until paid in full unless needed for taxes

Social Security Statements One year
Monthly Investment Statements One year
Reconciled Bank Statements One

State and Federal Income Tax Returns Seven years along with supporting documentation including W-2 and 1099 forms, charitable contribution and tax deduction receipts, real estate records
Annual Investment Statements Seven years

Birth Certificates Forever
Social Security Cards Forever
Passports Forever
Marriage/Divorce Papers Forever
Wills and/or Trust Documents Forever
Insurance Policies
(annually update household inventory)
Pension and Retirement Plan Records Forever
Medical Records Forever
Education Records Forever


I would also recommend scanning your documents into readable format and then storing these documents on your computer or separate hard drive. If that is not an option, make copies of your most important documents, place them in sealable bags and invest in a safety deposit box to store these forms.

Putting things in order sometimes appears to make more of a mess, so as you systematize your files, be sure to properly and safely discard sensitive paperwork. As you work through your “spring cleaning” and find you have questions about financial planning for your future, feel free to give us a call at OLV Investment Group at 810-744-4450.


This is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as tax or legal advice. Consult your tax or legal advisor regarding your specific situation.