Know when to shred or save your sensitive documents

If your file cabinets are overflowing and you can’t close the drawers, it might be time to start sorting through your documents. We know it can be difficult to decide what to keep and what to shred, so use the handy chart below to make your decisions.  You may be surprised to learn the shelf life of some records.
 

Shred Documents
  • Bank Statements

    One year, unless needed to support tax filings
  • Birth certificates, marriage licenses, divorce degrees, passports, education records, military service records

    Forever
  • Contracts

    Until updated
  • Credit Card Records

    Until paid, unless needed to support tax filings
  • Household Inventory

    Forever; update as needed
  • Insurance policy, life

    Forever
  • Insurance policy, car, home, etc.

    Until you renew the policy
  • Investment statements

    Shred your monthly statements; keep annual statements until you sell the investment
  • Loan documents

    Until you sell the item the loan was for
  • Real estate deeds

    As long as you own the property
  • Receipts for large purchases

    Until you sell or discard the item
  • Social Security card

    Forever
  • Social Security statement

    When you get your new statement online, shred the old one
  • Tax records

    Seven years from the filing date
  • Vehicle titles

    Until you sell or dispose of the car
  • Will

    Until updated

List compiled by USA.gov.