Financial Records and Decluttering: What Goes and What Stays?

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In her bestselling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, Marie Kondo takes decluttering to the next level.  However, Kondo is silent on the issue of keeping or disposing of financial records.  We thought it would be helpful in the New Year to have a handy summary of how long to keep your financial records.

Type of Record Length of Time to Keep:
Tax Returns and Supporting Documents 7 years
IRA Contribution Records Permanently for nondeductible contributions to show you already paid the tax on the money
Retirement Plan Statements Keep annual summaries until you retire or close the account
Brokerage Statements Keep until you sell the securities
Bank Statements Keep from 1 year to permanently.  Hold on to those they those related to your taxes, business expenses, home improvements
Bills Keep from 1 year to permanently.  Hold on to those bills for big ticket items such as jewelry, rugs, appliances, etc. for insurance purposes.
Credit Card Statements Keep for 7 years if tax related expenses are documented
Paycheck Stubs Keep 1 year
House/Condominium Records 6 years to permanently

 

Source: Bankrate.com

Note:  If you are interested in going paperless you can convert your paper records to electronic records by scanning them and saving them.  With the right scanner this can be quick and relatively painless.  We recommend the Fujitsu ScanSnap ix500 if you are serious about scanning!

 

4 Easy Ways to Plan Your Retirement Voyage

Posted in Financial Planning, Goals, Retirement Planning, Tips on by .

You often hear that people spend more time planning a trip than they do planning for retirement.  Why not bring the vacation mindset to your financial life?  Here are 4 ways to make your retirement planning more successful and more fun.

  1. Use the power of time – By booking a beach house or plane tickets early in the season, you save money and have many more choices on timing and locations.   The same concept applies to retirement planning.  Those who take the voyage seriously by starting to save early typically have more flexibility, more money, freedom, and fun in retirement.
  2. Decide how you will spend your days – Will your beach stay be about relaxation, exploration, adventure, or a mixture of all three? Similarly in retirement, how will you spend your days? Will you unwind, pursue your passion, care for family or even work part-time?  Understanding the type of retirement you desire increases your chances of achieving your dream.
  3. Take stock of what you have before you go – Do you have everything you need for your trip?  Do you have the right clothes, bathing suits, suntan lotion, beach chairs, etc.?  Likewise for retirement, is your portfolio fully diversified?  Do you have a sufficient amount of large, mid, and small cap stocks.  Do you have adequate exposure to international stocks and bonds?  Does your asset allocation match your tolerance for risk? Are you saving enough?
  4. Remember it’s about the journey not the destination – Many times people will say that it is more fun planning the vacation than going on the trip.  This true for retirement as well.  It’s not about getting to the end of our working lives. It’s about enjoying the journey of life that gets us to retirement.  A life filled with memories, twists, turns, and laughter along the way.

So plan for your ideal retirement, prepare for the ups and downs of life, and focus on enjoying the journey!