Every Wednesday is Desk Day:
• Pay Your Bills
• Bring personal and family business up to date—Do you have any phone calls you need to make? Do you have any notes or letters you need to write?
• File needed papers in a way that you will be able to locate them when needed.
Your Area of Focus—This is the last day in your entry, front porch and dining room. Thursday and Friday—the Family Bathroom(s)
What to Keep and What to Discard—and When
You can discard
• Sales receipts for minor purchases once you know you do not need to return it. If an item you’ve purchased has a warranty, staple the receipt to the inside first page of the manual or the warranty and file with manuals and warranties. Sales receipts for food items only need to be kept until you have checked them against your credit card or bank information—I do that daily on Quicken.
• ATM/Bank Deposit slips—discard after you have checked the deposit/withdrawl against your bank’s website or your bank statement—again, I do this daily on Quicken.
• Credit card receipts—check against your credit card statement or website.
• Bank and credit card statements only need to be kept if you need them to support business or other itemized tax deductions. Keep one statement for contact information.
• Phone/Utility Bills—discard unless you need them to support a tax deduction for a home business. Keep one statement for contact information.
Keep for at least a year
• Investment Information—can be discarded when you receive the next statement, unless you are trying to track the information. The annual statement should be kept with your tax papers (Form 1098) Interest Income Statement or the Statement of Dividends –1099-DIV.
• Paycheck Stubs or statement—unless you need them to prove vesting in your employer’s retirement system, they can be discarded after you reconcile them with your W-2 or 1099.
Go Ahead and Keep—permanently or indefinitely.
• The IRS states in publication 552 that you must keep your tax returns for 3 years. If the IRS believes that you have under-report your income by 25% or more, they can audit you for 6 years. I keep my tax returns with supporting documentation for 7 years.
• Keep health insurance documents as long as the policy is in force.
• Keep stock certificates permanently even those considered to be worthless to take the loss on your taxes.
• Keep investment purchase records for as long as you own the investment.
• Keep medical records for family members
• Insurance policy with beneficiary designations as long as the policy is in effect
• Keep warranty and manuals for major purchases as long as you have the have the item.
Vital documents—never discard
• Birth certificates
• Marriage certificates
• Power of Attorney
• Certificate of Divorce
• Copy the contents of your wallet.
• Death certificate
• Property Deeds
Keep backup copies of vital documents in a separate location.
Next Wednesday—Fire Proof Safe or Safe Deposit Box?