Most of us hate to deal with paperwork. This includes all of the documents we get from different companies, employers, service providers both digitally, and even worse, by snail mail.
It’s easy just to throw it into a closet, a folder, a box, delete or ignore in your email and never look at it again, pretending it isn’t there (we do that sometimes as well), until it’s time to do some cleanup or if you need to find something important. By this point in 2023, we get almost all of this via email. Now the question that you might be asking is how long should I keep them and why?
There is no one correct answer but this is our personal list, some recommended by professionals and some from our personal experience. If you are going to keep everything digital there is no reason to ever delete the digital copies. Just make sure you scan everything clearly.
Here is how long we keep our physical documents:
- Pension statements – the newest end of the year one.
- Keren Hishtalmut statements – the newest end of the year one.
- Bills – a year from the time you paid. make sure you have the confirmation number that you received when you paid. This includes electric, water, gas, cell phone, home phone , internet, Road 6, or anything else you have a subscription for.
- Credit card and bank statements – 3 months. All of the statements are available on their website and can go back to it up to a year.
- Rental contracts – 7 years from when it ended. It could protect you from a lawsuit.
- Government and city – Save any proof of payments to the government or the city for seven years minimum if not forever. You never know when you will need to prove that you paid your parking tickets, Arnona, Bituach Leumi etc. Make sure that you have the confirmation number you received when you paid.
- Pay stubs – All of them, just in case you need to prove that you worked and all of your rights were given. (There is no clear answer to this one. Some people say two years, some say seven years, and some say always).
- 106 Form – This is a summary of your income you received from your employer for that year. This is good for filing tax returns and will come in handy when you start collecting pension.
- 161/161א – This is a summary of all payments made by your employer when you leave your job. This will also be good to have when you retire.
- Work contracts – Always keep them even if you stopped working there.
- Certificates – From diplomas to birth certificates – keep them all.
- Mortgage and loans – At least until you finish paying them off.
- Housing documents – From proof of buying your house to approval at the tabu (land registry office) that the house is under your name.
- Warranties – Until they expire
- Wills – Always and make sure there is an extra copy somewhere else. If you change or update your will, keep all versions of them.
- Medical – everything and always. It could be a good idea once in a while to ask your GP to write a short summary of your medical history if you don’t have it all in one place.
Before throwing anything out, scanning and saving it is the best practice. You can save them to your email, external hard drive, a cloud platform, etc. Just make sure it is backed up.
We set ourselves goals for the year to have all of our documents backed up and digitized. We are slowly but surely scanning and saving our old documents online.
Once it is all arranged, keeping it up doesn’t take as long. Think of it like putting away laundry (okay folding laundry can take some time).
Damian Conway said : “Documentation is a love letter that you write to your future self.”
What creative ways to store your documents?
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