Spring Cleaning Your Finances: What to Keep and What to Shred

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Spring Cleaning Your Finances: What to Keep and What to Shred

Mar 21, 2018
With the ending of tax season and the beginning of Spring, there’s no better time than now to tidy up your financial life, says Senior CFP Board Ambassador Jill Schlesinger, CFP®

There’s no better way to celebrate the end of tax season and the beginning of warmer weather than Spring cleaning your finances, according to Senior CFP Board Ambassador Jill Schlesinger, CFP®.

While this can be a daunting process, Schlesinger shares a list of best practices to keep in mind when getting your financial house in order on LetsMakeaPlan.org:

  • Shred it & Forget it (After 45 Days): Unless you need to reference a transaction for tax or business purposes, or for proof of purchase for a specific item, you can shred credit card statements after 45 days. But, be sure to hold on to statements you may need for your taxes, such as charitable contributions. Same rule applies for utility and phone bills: once you’ve paid them feel free to shred, unless they contain tax-deductible expenses.

  • Short Term Relationship (About 1 Year): Hold on to bank and investment statements for a year, and be sure to flag any taxable investments. However, hold on to records that are related to home improvements and major purchases until you dispose of the asset. Similarly, you should hold on to medical records for at least a year.

  • Lucky Number 7: Because the IRS has seven years to audit your returns if the agency suspects you made a mistake, it’s recommended to keep your returns, and all supporting documents, for seven years. If you work with a tax preparer, ask whether they will maintain electronic copies of all returns filed.

  • Declutter for the Win: If you have any orphan accounts, consider consolidating them – same for old retirement or investment accounts. Combining accounts streamlines your financial life, makes it easier to monitor your entire portfolio and ensures that your money is properly diversified.

A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional can help Americans determine which documents are important to keep for future reference and how to consolidate accounts.


The mission of Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. is to benefit the public by granting the CFP® certification and upholding it as the recognized standard of excellence for competent and ethical personal financial planning. The Board of Directors, in furthering CFP Board's mission, acts on behalf of the public, CFP® professionals and other stakeholders. CFP Board owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® (with plaque design) and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements.  CFP Board currently authorizes nearly 80,000 individuals to use these marks in the U.S.

CONTACT: Jessica Lewis, Communications Specialist P: 202-379-2256 M: 301-655-0389 E: jlewis@cfpboard.org

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Did You Know?

Among clients who work with an advisor, 87% of those working with a CFP® professional are satisfied or very satisfied, compared with 72% of those who work with an advisor without certification.
Anyone can call themselves a “financial planner.” Only professionals who meet CFP Board’s rigorous standards can call themselves CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals.
The 2013 Household Financial Planning Survey shows that those with a financial plan feel more confident and report more success managing money, savings and investments than those without a plan.
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