Tips to Avoid Swimming in Financial Paperwork

Tips to Avoid Swimming in Financial Paperwork

Do you feel like you’re drowning in financial paperwork? With bills constantly coming in, bank statements surfacing and tax documents stacking up it’s tough to know how to keep everything organized. The last thing you want to do is throw something away that you will end up needing down the road. Understanding document management can help you tackle spring cleaning and get more organized.

Experts say the important part is knowing what should be saved, how long it should be saved for and when it can be tossed. “Too many people learn too late that it’s vital to save certain financial documentation, and M&I wants to help prevent that,” said Dave Maraman, Florida President, M&I, a part of BMO Financial Group in a news release. “We want people to be financially savvy and prepared. Whether you need to prove contributions to an IRA or provide tax-related documentation to the IRS, organizing and managing your financial paperwork can reap dividends over the long term.”

Here are some important tax time tips for document management:

Organize documentation in case you need to access the paperwork. Set up files for pay stubs, tax filing information, warrantees, important receipts, and account statements.
Consider establishing a bank safety deposit box for important documents – including home and car titles, social security cards and wills. Keep a list of the documents you store there in your home in case of an emergency.
Figure out what should be kept and what should be tossed. For instance, paperwork verifying tax deductions should be saved for seven years. In most instances, bank statements can be discarded after one year, as can pay stubs after verifying W-2 information is correct.
Save space by scanning important documents and storing them on your computer.
Shred any documents with identifying or personal information prior to disposal. This will reduce your risk of identity theft and help keep your accounts secure.

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