Organizing Paperwork

It doesn’t take long for papers to pile up, especially when you don’t know what to keep and what to toss.  Great news:  You don’t have to keep everything!  In fact. you may find you don’t have to keep most of the things clogging up your filing systems (or your desk).


I have advice again from Certified Financial Planner Caleb Griffith on this topic.  A couple weeks ago he shared professional advice on how long to keep tax documents.  But what about “everything else?”  Here’s what he has to say:

  1. Insurance documents.
    1. Life – Keep the original policy document and any updates – Forever or until death
    2. Disability – Keep the original and any subsequent adjustments that add to policy – Forever or until terminated
    3. Home – Annually replace with new policy
    4. Car – Annually replace with new policy
    5. Long Term Care – Keep the original and any subsequent adjustments to policy. Forever or until terminated
  2. Estate- Keep all
    1. Will
    2. Power of Attorney
    3. Living Will
    4. Health Care Power of Attorney
    5. Other estate related documents
  3. Asset Documents
    1. Car titles
    2. House titles
    3. Bank statements / Investment accounts– Everything can be done online – no need to keep paper files unless for business/accounting purposes.
  4. Billing statements
    1. Cable, Utilities, etc.  – Keep the most recent statement and throw the rest.  You can always go online to get your past information.
  5. Other things
    1. SS Card, Birth Certificate, Marriage license – Forever

The list obviously can change for each age group and situation, and definitely consult your accountant for specific questions.  When it doubt, keep it.

I hope this helps you simplify your filing system.  Clearing out unneeded papers is incredibly freeing, so go do it!

This is something I have worked with many clients on, so if you need help call me.  I enjoy helping people de-clutter desk space, create filing systems, and even set up home offices (or at their place of business!). Check out a redesign I did on a home office.

And if you need a reliable and trustworthy financial planner, contact Caleb with Townsend Asset Management!  Caleb@assetmgr.com

Thanks for reading,


Get Organized.  Simply Live.