What to Shred and What to Keep
There are no simple rules for what to keep and what to shred. You should always use common sense when deciding what you should keep and what you should shred. Below are just some suggestions from Shred-it. Each person's situation is different, so if in doubt, check with your personal lawyer or financial consultant.
Credit card offers; junk mail and magazine labels; expired passports/visas, ID's, or driver's licenses; any expired or voided documents with a maiden name, signature, social security number or license number on it; expired credit cards, résumé's or curriculum vitae; used airline tickets; old report cards.
Keep for 30-45 days
Credit card receipts - Sales receipts for minor purchases - Withdrawal and deposit slips (shred after you have checked them against your monthly statements, but keep them for seven years or more if tax related expenses are documented on them).
Keep for 1 year
Bills - (when the cancelled check is returned, you may shred the bill, but keep bills that document big purchases such as jewelry, computers, collectibles, etc. for insurance purposes in case of fire or theft.)
Paycheck stubs, monthly bank, credit card, mutual fund brokerage, and retirement account statements (shred when you get your W-2 forms and the two match up. If they do not match up, request a W-2c).
Keep for 7 Years or More
W-2's, 1099's and other tax return items (document's and stubs to back up information on returns)
End of year credit card statements, brokerage,and mutual fund summaries.
Keep Indefinitely in Fire Resistant Safe
Receipts/bills for major purchases, real estate, mortgages, legal fees, commissions and residence records, home improvements (remodels, additions, installations) wills, trusts, adoption papers, brokerage statements (till you sell securities). Retirement/Savings plan statements (Keep quarterly statements until you receive annual statements, if they match, shred quarterlies and keep annual.)
Keep Indefinitely in Safe Deposit Box
Birth, death, and marriage certificates; marriage licenses; divorce papers; insurance policies; passports.
Sources: www.bankrate.com, www.advisortoday.com, www.fightidentitytheft.com/shred.html, www.organizeyourlife.org