Shred It or Save It? When to Declutter Documents | Cinfed Credit Union

Money Matters for Cinfed Members

Shred It or Save It? When to Declutter Documents

Posted on October 05, 2020
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Shred It or Save It? When to Declutter Documents

By Coach Fin

Autumn is the perfect time to purge your home of things you don’t need. While you’re cleaning out closets to make room for those cozy sweaters, remember to comb through your files. Many of us keep documents far longer than we need to. You can declutter — and keep your personal information secure — by shredding your financial documents on a timely basis.

Start with items you can shred right away

When it’s time to tackle the piles of paper, it’s a good idea to start with things that are safe to shred right away. Grab a box and gather up:

  • Sales receipts (except those noted below)
  • ATM receipts
  • Paid credit card bills
  • Paid utility bills

Add these one-year-old documents to the shred pile

Some documents have a longer shelf life. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), it’s safe to shred these documents after one year:

  • Pay stubs
  • Bank statements
  • Medical bills (unless they’re in dispute)

Keep these documents as long as necessary

Some documents don’t have a specific time limit. You’ll just want to keep them as long as necessary. For example, it’s a good idea to save:

  • Anything related to insurance claims
  • Auto titles for as long as you own the vehicle
  • Items under warranty until the warranty expires
  • Property deeds for as long as you own the property
  • Receipts for major home improvements until you sell your home

Keep these documents forever

Keep these documents in a safe, secure place forever:

  • Adoption records
  • Birth certificates
  • Citizenship papers or passports
  • Death certificates of family members
  • Divorce decrees and any amendments
  • Marriage licenses
  • Social security cards

Find advice on how long to keep tax returns and receipts

The FTC recommends keeping all tax-related records and receipts for seven years. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) generally has three years to conduct an audit, but in some cases, they have up to seven years. Although the FTC suggests keeping your tax returns forever, the IRS offers these detailed guidelines on when it’s safe to shred your returns.

Bring your financial documents to a Cinfed Shred Day near you

Keep your financial documents safe until you can have them shredded securely. Shredding documents is the safest way to discard them to prevent fraud or identity theft. Cinfed regularly offers Shred Days as a service to members. Check here to see the next opportunity.


Cinfed Credit Union
4801 Kennedy Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45209
(513) 333-3800
Routing #242076656


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