Create file folders for the following and place them in a sturdy box or file cabinet:
Insurance policies: Save copies of your life, auto, health, and homeowner’s insurance forms, plus all correspondence relating to them. Keep old auto and homeowner’s policies for three years.
Taxes: Save receipts for deductible items (it’s best to have the canceled check clipped to each receipt), for seven years’ worth of tax returns as well as all supporting data, and records of nondeductible contributions to an Individual Retirement Account (without proof of IRA contributions, you might have to pay tax on the money when you take it out).
Bank accounts: Keep all the information received when the accounts were opened, fee and interest-rate disclosures, monthly statements, the past six months’ worth of canceled checks, passbooks, and statements on the status of certificates of deposit.
Credit cards: Keep six months’ worth of statements. Debts: Save your mortgage and bank-loan records, and contracts for installment purchases. The mortgage statement that shows how much interest you can deduct belongs with your tax records.
Employee Benefits: Keep your current plan description, and keep your statement of the status of your retirement account until you receive the next one and have compared them for possible errors.
Investments: Keep mutual-fund, retirement-account, and brokerage-house reports. Save the information you received when opening these accounts.
Social Security: Save the booklet that explains your social security benefits. Also, request and keep periodic statements of your contributions. Warranties: Save receipts for items under warranty, along with the cards showing what repairs the manufacturer will make and for how long.