What to shred what to keep?

What to shred what to keep?

Or Both!!

The term Identity Theft has been around for a while now. …and most if not all know what it is and mostly how to prevent it.

Several years ago (2006) I published a book called “Small Business and Identity Theft: Just the FACTA’s. I tell you this not to sell the book, in fact I really wish you wouldn’t buy it, as the information is completely out of date. I tell you this so you know how long I have been studying this topic.

One of the best ways to keep your information secure is to shred it. But what should you shred, and what should you keep.

Permanently Keep


Birth certificates, social security card, marriage license, divorce decrees, passports, education records, military service records (including your DD-214), legal correspondence, deeds, mortgages, bills of sales, income tax payment checks, retirement/pension/profit sharing/IRA contribution papers, plan & trust agreement, bills for larger purchases (for insurance purposes)

Keep for 7 Years


Bank and credit card statements, cancelled checks, Income tax returns and worksheets, medical bills if tax related, records for tax deductions.

Keep for 6 Years


Insurance policies (after the termination), sales receipts, contracts (purshases and sales).

Keep for 4 Years


Settled insurance claims.

Keep for 3 Years


Utility records, medical bills (unless deducted on taxes).

What to shred


Everything up above after the expiration, credit card / bank deposit / bank withdrawal receipts (once you have reconciled with monthly statement), paycheck stubs (once reconciled with w-2 and taxes are paid).

How to store your information


Some people like the tried and true way of opening a safe deposit box at the local bank or credit union, if you do that make sure you put someone else on the box in case of your demise.

Some people like having a safe in the house. If you do go with a safe make sure that you do keep your stuff in it, as well as lock it and secure it to the foundation or the floor. People have a habit with having a safe at home but nothing is inside it or it is left unlocked or unsecured.

And yet other people (myself included), uses a electronic filing system ( I use NeatDeskNeatDesk) this way I have a permanent record of everything.

I hope this helps you out with keeping a shredding.