Financial paper overload
NEW YORK (WABC) -- If you find yourself pawing through piles of paper at tax time, you're not alone.
Consumer Reports Money Adviser says knowing what to keep and what to throw away and when are crucial to staying on top of your finances. And not doing it can cost you.
A Consumer Reports survey finds 16 percent of us have lost money because we couldn't find an important paper.
Consumer Reports Money Adviser says a big hurdle in conquering piles of paper is that we don't throw enough out.
You only need to save your bank statements for one year, unless you use them to prove deductions that you claim on your tax return. Otherwise it's seven years, which is the same as your tax return.
You can also get rid of utility and service bills after you get the new bill. And consider going paperless. You can avoid getting paper bills in the first place if you pay your monthly bills online.
But what about those bank deposits, credit-card receipts, and ATM records cluttering up your life? You can toss those scraps after checking them against your bank or credit-card statements.
However, Consumer Reports says there are documents you should never throw away and that should be stored in a safe-deposit box. They include birth and death certificates, marriage licenses, Social Security cards, and vehicle titles.
Another piece of advice from Consumer Reports is to make copies of anything you store in a safe-deposit box so that you have them on hand for easy reference in case you need the information.
And when you're tossing stuff, Consumer Reports advises using a shredder so that no one can steal important information by going through your trash.
For a complete list of what papers to keep and how long to keep them, go to www.consumerreports.org/cro/money/personal-investing/conquer-the-paper-piles/overview/index.htm.
Consumer Reports has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor appearing on this Web site.
consumer reports, taxes, consumer news, sade baderinwa
- Robinson Cano to sign with Mariners 1 min ago
- AccuWeather Forecast: Rollercoaster weekend
- Live: Eyewitness News on 7online streamed live!
- Get WATCH ABC for your mobile device
- Surveillance video released in "Baby Angel" case 44 min ago
- UPS facility fire damages packages on Long Island 45 min ago
- South Africans pay tribute to Nelson Mandela 48 min ago
- Mandela's influence felt in New York City
- Photos: Nelson Mandela through the years
- Police search for suspect in Brooklyn shooting
- Long Island Rail Road massacre, 20 years later
- Photos: Long Island Rail Road massacre
- World Cup teams hoping for luck of the draw
- Bob Dylan's Newport electric guitar for sale
- South Africans pay tribute to Nelson Mandela
48 min ago