PHOENIX, March 22, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Properly managing financial paperwork can be a headache, but can also bring benefits, such as preventing identity theft and providing proof of important transactions. However, seeing the benefits of document management is often easier than understanding what should be saved, how long it should be saved for, and what can be tossed.
To aid those looking to clean out their file cabinet, M&I, a part of BMO Financial Group, offers the following advice to consumers.
- Keep your documentation organized for easy reference in the event you need to access the paperwork. Consider creating files for pay stubs, tax filing information, warrantees, important receipts, and account statements.
- Take important documents – including home and car titles, social security cards and wills – to a bank safety deposit box for safe keeping. Be sure to keep a list of those documents at home, and note where the safety deposit box resides, in case of an emergency.
- Determine what documents should be kept over the long term, what should be saved over the short term, and what can be tossed. For instance, paperwork verifying tax deductions should be saved for seven years. In most instances, bank statements can be discarded after one year, as can pay stubs after verifying W-2 information is correct.
- Save space by scanning key documents and storing them on your computer, or on a portable storage device which could be kept in your safety deposit box.
- Finally, shred any documents with identifying or personal information prior to disposal. This will reduce your risk of identity theft and help keep your accounts secure.
"We want Arizonans to be financially savvy and prepared. Too many people learn too late that it's vital to save certain financial documentation, and M&I wants to help prevent that," said Steve Johnson, President of M&I Arizona, a part of BMO Financial Group. "Whether you need to prove contributions to an IRA or provide tax-related documentation to the IRS, organizing and managing your financial paperwork can reap dividends over the long term."
About BMO Harris Bank
Based in Chicago, BMO Harris Bank N.A. provides a broad range of personal banking products and solutions through over 650 branches and approximately 1,350 ATMs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Nevada, Arizona and Florida. BMO Harris Bank's commercial banking team provides a combination of sector expertise, local knowledge and mid-market focus throughout the U.S. Deposit and loan products and services provided by BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC. BMO Harris Bank(sm) and M&I® are trade names used by BMO Harris Bank N.A. BMO Harris Bank is part of BMO Financial Group, a North American financial organization with 1,600 branches, and a retail deposit base of approximately $180 billion.
SOURCE M&I, a part of BMO Financial Group