Do you really need to keep that paperwork?
Records retention guidelines may vary in their recommendations, but you can usually consider these guidelines to apply to both paper and digital files. Yes, you could hang on to digital files longer since they appear to take up less space. But the question becomes, do you need to?
Instead of weeding through their digital files, many people purchase more cloud storage or an external hard drive. But consider this…purchasing that extra space is equivalent to purchasing a storage unit for your physical papers. Do you really want to do that?
Vital documents such as a birth certificate, marriage license, immunization records, etc. should be considered permanent. These are often in paper form, so go ahead and scan them into your computer to have a second copy you can keep ‘at home’ while you put the originals in a safe place. When discussing records retention, financial documents require special attention. I recommend contacting a lawyer or financial advisor if you have specific questions about keeping your investment reports or other financial paperwork.
For more information, check out these guidelines for how long to keep your records:
IRS Guidelines for Taxes for small businesses and the self-employed
BBB Records Retention Schedule for Individuals/Consumer Records
Questions? Need help sorting through your files? Let’s talk!