Managing Your Money Paperwork

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  1. Show Notes

Despite being promised a “paperless society” we’re still drowning in reams of paperwork.  Find out what you need to keep and what you can toss.

Do you all have a “junk drawer” in your kitchen?  Is it filled with appliance manuals to appliances you maybe don’t even own anymore?  Like the juicer, you bought for a long discarded New Year’s Resolution?  Well, you can chuck it.  That goes for electronics manuals too.  You can google any of those.  This searing revelation changed my life, or at least neatened up my junk drawer.

Don’t keep bank statements, use Mint.  Many financial statements are paperless now including credit cards, rent or mortgage, and utility statements.  You just have to opt out of paper and select paperless on the company’s websites.

This is good for the environment as well.  You know those annoying slick paper ads that are sometimes included in things like cable or internet service statements?  Now they don’t have to send those.  Before I went paperless I use to put them in the envelope with my check and send them back.  Time Warner can deal with their own hard copy spam!

Educational records like transcripts should be kept for one to two years after you begin working.  No one will care that you took Calc 1 after your first grown up job, maybe not even before.  But better safe than sorry.

Medical records for yourself and pets are important and should be kept long term.  There are certain places oversees where you may need, particularly vaccination records, for yourself or your pet before being allowed to travel.

Personal records such as birth certificates, marriage license, divorce papers, and citizenship documents should be kept in hard copy form in a water and fire proof safe or perhaps a safe deposit box at a bank.  These forms can be replaced but if you need them quickly, it’s better to have them accessible.

There is a lot of paperwork to be alive on this planet.

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If you would like to keep more documents than your home can accommodate or that you can effectively organize and keep safe, there are some digital services that you can use.  Shoeboxed is a company that allows you to e-mail or even mail receipts to be digitized and placed into a file that you can access.

You can also buy a scanner although they can be expensive and not practical for documents that are double sided and dozens of pages long like mortgage documents.

There is a balance between obsessively hoarding every Duane Reade receipt and throwing out your social security card in a depressive cleaning spree.  Digitize what you can, lock up the really important stuff and let the rest go.

Show Notes

Ommegang Abbey Ale: The beer that heralds summer.

Candice Elliott - Senior Editor
Candice Elliott is a substantial contributor to Listen Money Matters. She has been a personal finance writer since 2013 and has written extensively on student loan debt, investing, and credit. She has successfully navigated these areas in her own life and knows how to help others do the same. Candice has answered thousands of questions from the LMM community and spent countless hours doing research for hundreds of personal finance articles. She happily calls New Orleans, Louisiana home-the most fun city in the world.

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