How long should you keep your financial records?

I mentioned yesterday that I wanted to post another neat solution for organizing your paper but I’ve since changed my mind on that particular product when I went looking for a picture.  Guess what?  This particular company (who shall remain nameless) doesn’t have a picture of their own product on their site.  What?   Sorry but I don’t want to feature a product that can’t take the time to package their product properly and yes websites count as packaging.   And now you know just a little pet peeve of mine.

So anyway instead I’m going to hopefully answer a very popular question that I’ve received over the last couple weeks.  Many of you have inquired as to how long to keep certain financial documents and I’ve hesitated to provide that information for a couple of reasons.  First it seems that depending who you ask you might get a different answer, making me a little nervous to communicate such advice with so many variables.   Plus I live in Canada so my guidelines are entirely different than those living elsewhere.

However, despite all that, I know that you can’t really get a handle on your overflowing paperwork if you don’t have the necessary information you need to pare it all down.  So what I’m going to do for you instead is link you to various sources with applicable information and I’ll let you decide what works best for you.  Thanks to those of you who kindly helped me out here 🙂


Canada Revenue Agency ~ Keeping Records

Mrs. January ~ How Long to Hold On To Financial Records in Canada

United States:

Internal Revenue Service ~ Recordkeeping for Individuals

Professional Organizer M. Martone ~ Handy Reference Guide

Suze Ormon ~ Financial Clutter, What To Keep And What To Get Rid Of

How Long to Keep Important Information Organizational Guide (printable)


Okay so I know this post, although important, is a little dull so to liven things up how about sharing with me one of your own pet peeves.  I figure it’s only fair since I shared one of mine with you 🙂   I’ve got quite a list actually.  Here let me give you another…generic post-it notes, they just don’t stick!  See easy……now it’s your turn.


Just a reminder that Mr. Linky for this month’s filing cabinet round-up will go up on January 30th.   Participants will be eligible to win Scanalog software.  Join us!

Filed under: Office, Paper Organization


45 Responses to How long should you keep your financial records?

  1. 1
    Taryn says

    Not dull- very timely. Thank you so much for this info. It is nice to have it all in one place to show the husband we don’t need to have trees upon trees of documentation forever. Thank you

  2. 2
    BecauseImTheMommy says

    Laura this was very insightful. I was wondering it as I began organizing my files. As for my pet peeve, I can’t stand when people I have just met shorten my name to Tiff. They do not know me well enough, or long enough, to shorten my name. My name is Tiffany! LOL

  3. 3
    Tricia says

    Pet peeve-people who don’t turn their car’s brights off coming toward you at night until you have to flash them with yours!

  4. 4
    n*stitches says

    A pet peeve of mine is when the bed i snot made up straight. When one side is higher than the other.

  5. 5
    American Folder Comp says

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  6. 6
    Joan says

    Hmm… pet peeves. Boy, I’m sure I have lots, but when prompted, I can’t think of one.

    Oh, I know! When family members who will remain nameless finish the last of the toilet paper, get out a new roll of toilet paper, then SIT IT ON TOP of the toilet-paper holder instead of taking the two seconds to remove the empty cardboard and putting the new roll on.

    That’s one. 🙂

  7. 7
    Carey says

    One of my biggest pet peeves is when people pronounce the word Jaguar as Jag-Wi-Er. It also really bothers me that I can’t afford to drive one.

  8. 8
    Erin says

    The rolled up, bunched up socks I always find in the corners of my home.

  9. 9
    Becky F says

    Ugg, I have so many pet peeves. One is when people are seriously late and don’t call to let you know.

    Thanks for the info! I think it is something we can all use.

  10. 11
    Michelle says

    Ooo, venting!

    My pet peeve is music on a web page of any sort (other than a music site).

    Another one is how my husband piles things up all around – a pile is not organization – puh-lease.

    (Sorry to do two, but I have two kids with the stomach flu today and deserve to vent twice – just this once.)

  11. 12
    Kristna says

    I can’t stand when closet/cabinet doors are left standing open. It gives me a parinoid, clausterphobic feeling. If you open it, close it. Is that so hard? Besides I don’t want to see all the junk in there:)

  12. 13
    MidwestTwinGirl says

    My pet peeve-
    I can do all the grocery shopping, cooking, and care of our child every week, but the one time I ask him to take her to the doctor . . .
    Or give her a bath . . .
    or go grocery shopping . . .

    I get THE LOOK.

    You know the look of “but how do I do that???”

  13. 14
    The Happy Housewife says

    Not a dull post at all. I started sorting through files yesterday and had a few items that I was wondering about!
    My pet peeve, well there are so many… but I have to agree with Michele, music on a web page, it always shocks me out of my seat! Oh, and things on the floor, I hate a messy floor, and piles, can’t stand them either, and shoes on in the house (probably related to the messy floor), dirty bathrooms, people that talk really loud in restaurants… I told you, I can go on and on!

  14. 15
    StacyRenee says

    Thanks for the info.

    As for a pet peeve ~ one of my biggest is people with no follow through.

  15. 16
    Debra says

    Great post! I agree that a picture is part of the packaging…

    My pet peeve is when companies don’t post all allergenic ingredients on their labels.

  16. 17
    Jena (O.M.) says

    My pet peeve is when well meaning bloggers want us to list our pet peeves! (just kidding) Really, I can stand looking for things when they are supposed to be in their “spot”.

  17. 18
    Laura says

    LOL, now that’s funny Jena! I love reading everyone’s pet peeves. It feels good to vent every once and awhile 🙂

  18. 19
    [email protected] says

    Mine is knowing that I have a serious list of pet peeves, and now that someone has asked about them, I cannot even think of one!

  19. 20
    HeavenlyHomemaker says

    I agree that I don’t like music on a webpage (scares me!)…

    But, I REALLY don’t like it when someone is making noise or talking when I’m trying to talk. I don’t handle it very well. Guess God gave me four noise making boys to teach me to deal with that issue, huh?

  20. 21
    Edited Interiors gal says

    Smokers who drop their cigarette butts out the window of their car. I have often wondered what they would do if they did this at a stop sign and I got out and threw the lit butt back into their lap!

  21. 22
    Val says

    I would have to say anything in the direct flow of traffic in the house, like a blanket heaped on the floor.I dont like to step over stuff. drives me nuts. LOL #20!that would be funny! Sloppy bed making.

  22. 23
    Steph's Mommy Brain says

    When trash intended for the recycles is placed on the floor beside the kitchen trash can instead of taking 3 more steps and putting them in the recycle tubs!

  23. 24
    Heather says

    Pet Peeves? Well closet doors neither open or shut all the way. Any Drum roll please~~~~~~ FLOPPY SOCKS! Hate Those!

  24. 25
    Ashley Nichole says

    Thats great…Thanks! Also wanted to let you know I am featuring my first giveaway on my blog at

  25. 26
    Chloe says

    Since I’m living in France, here is the official site where the same info can be found: (Not only for financial papers, all of them!) I can’t be the only French loving your blog! LOL

    Pet peeves… Recently, one of my biggest one have been people that use “tu” (a very informal “you” in French) instead of “vous” (a more formal and polite “you”) when I have only met them a few times for work… Come on, guys, it’s already pathetic enough that you don’t have friends, don’t make it worse by treating me like one of those when you can’t even remember my name correctly! LOL

  26. 27
    Heather says

    The latest thing to make me ballistic (elevated from a mere pet peeve probably due to pregnancy hormones) is getting a renewal notice in the mail starting 9 months before my subscription is set to expire. AND they keep coming EVERY SINGLE month!

  27. 28
    Janet Barclay says

    Laura, we both had money on the brain yesterday – I blogged about Organizing Your Finances! Feel free to add a comment with a link to this post – this is very valuable information which I did not address.

  28. 29
    Debbie says

    Yes it’s good to give our pet peeves every once in awhile.

    At work, I hate that people use the last of the TP and do not replace it. I even bought a cute lil’ plaque to put above the toilet it says “Changing the toilet paper DOES NOT cause Brain Damage”

    Also I live in an apartment building and I get frustrated with my fellow tenants that are too lazy to remove the lint from the dryer..

    Thanks I feel so much better !

  29. 30
    Heather says

    One of my pet peeves is when people engage in long conversations on their cell phone in a public place (such as a restaurant, a store, or a doctor’s office). It is really annoying to have to listen to their conversations.

  30. 31
    Amy says

    I, um, have quite a few pet peeves, but I’m not going to take up all the comment space listing them. One of the top pet peeves of mine is when dirty laundry is piled NEXT to the hamper instead of INSIDE the hamper. I mean, come on! Just throw it in for goodness sake! I’ll sort it later! 🙂

  31. 32
    Lori @ Sheof3Angels says

    Pet peeve – Many of course but watching someone walk by, many times, something(piece of papper, etc) laying on the floor and not picking it up. At work seeing signs in the break room OR vending room that say “please keep this area clean” and someone has left their mess behind. I already have to get after my kids at home for not cleaning up why should I have to do that for grown ups! Come on People! Where is the common courtesy these day’s??

    Thanks Laura!! I feel so much better!!

  32. 33
    [email protected] says

    I am so happy I ran across your blog! I was looking for this info a few weeks ago in my mission organization at my house! I am definitely checking out the rest of your blog!

  33. 34
    Susanne says

    Slow drivers who take up the faster passing lanes on highways. Argh. Laundry thrown on the floor 1 foot from the hamper. Ugh. I could go on but then I’d make myself grumpy. LOL.

  34. 35
    clair says


    Piling the rubbish up in to “take it all out in one trip” – 3 DAYS LATER!!!!

    I have to say I am guilty of some of the peeves above, but i wont admit which just in case I ever meet any of you 🙂

  35. 36
    Robin says

    This was a great post! I’ve wondered that myself (as I finish emptying boxes of old paper from our move over a year ago).

    I’ll share two of my pet peeves… One, laying clothes on the hamper because they are dirty but you plan on wearing them a couple times more before they’re washed. Um, I still need to put my clothes in the hamper…

    Two, people who use their turn-signal the moment they are turning. Didn’t you know about 100 feet ago instead of making me slam on my breaks?

    Phew! Thanks for letting me get that off my chest! 🙂

  36. 38
    Kelli says

    Thanks for the post, what to do with my finanical records is something I just trying to figure out!

  37. 39
    Judi says

    I hate that commercial sites brag on their products but never make it possible for you to tell them the packaging doesn’t fit in the fridge, the lids are hard to pry open, etc. You can contact them for positive comments and about their layout or to get a job, but not for constructive criticism.

    I’m using your info. Great! Thanks.

  38. 40
    shredding San Antonio says

    Financial records need to be safeguarded because you will never know if other people might gain access to them and use it for their own benefits. Better keep track of your billings so that you can easily notice if there are unusual charges that you have no knowledge of. If you have to keep receipts and other documents, do this in a manner that is organized so that you can easily locate what you are looking for. Dispose copies of your personal document to prevent any fraudulent person from accessing them. You get to be organized and you are up to speed with everything that is going on regarding your finances.

  39. 41
    katzien says

    I’ll keep my peeve to the topic of financial records/personal information. I hate it when you’re shopping and checking out, and cashiers ask for a zip code or a phone number. All they need to know about me is whether my debit card transaction clears, and that’s it. Let them ‘data mine’ somebody else! 😉

  40. 42
    sump pumps says

    pretty good to know, thank you so much

  41. 43
    Emily says

    My Biggest Pet Peeve is when driving on a 2 lane road, and you come to an intersection, the vehicle in front of you slows down to (lets pretend) make a left turn. There is oncoming traffic, so they are stopped. You are patiently waiting for them to complete their turn, and the nimrod behind you zips around you on the right. Maybe it’s different in Canada, but in the States, this is illegal. I just keep thinking. What if the person in front of ME is waiting for a child to walk across the street. Then Wham-o the nitwit behind me will hit that little kid. I just want to scream “slow the *(**+**)(*(* down.”

    Whew… that was a long one, but full description was necessary.

    I love the organizing of paper clutter. Mine has stacked up for quite some time. We moved into our new house in Aug of 2011 (it’s now Jan. of 2013) and one of my favorite laundry baskets is being used up as a storage container for office-ish stuff I threw in there while I was moving. Now it is being rotated on and off my dining room table – because I keep setting it up there SO I GO THROUGH IT….. Inspiration from your post, is indeed what I needed.

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  43. 45
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