Modern Australian

Discover What Personal Records Should Be Kept Permanently


Personal records are dangerous. If someone else finds them they will tell them a lot more about you than you probably want them to know. Alongside this, in the wrong hands, your personal records can make it easier for someone to steal your identity or simply steal your money.

Neither scenario is desirable. That’s why everyone should take a look at these industrial shredders and eliminate any records that aren’t needed. Industrial shredders can handle large amounts of paperwork and they will cut it into fine pieces. That makes it very difficult for anyone to identify anything from the remains.

With the risks, it is tempting to simply shred everything. However, some things can’t be shredded. The following need to be kept permanently and you’ll need to find somewhere safe to store them.

  • Income tax returns

  • Birth certificates

  • Death certificates

  • Marriage and divorce certificates

  • Pension records

  • Audit documents

  • Bank account openings and trust accounts

  • Copies of passport and other relevant ID documents

The best way to view this is by looking at all the documents you have and thinking about how easy it would be to replace them. Some are relatively easy, others a huge hassle, and some simply can’t be replaced.

If any document falls into that category you should keep it permanently. These types of documents will help you prove financial statements in the future and make a variety of processes easier.

Storing Your Permanent Records

There are several options to choose from when you need to store personal permanent records. However, the best method is to get a file that allows you to organize the different pieces of paper in a specific order. This will help you to locate them when you need them.

You will then need to place the file somewhere safe. In fact, if you have a safe this is a great place to put your personal information.

If not, keep them in a locked cupboard. However, refrain from using a locked filing cabinet. This is too obvious if anyone is looking for them.

Semi-Permanent

You should note that many documents, such as tax returns, are required to be kept for five years. That means you should store them with your permanent ones and then you can decide whether to destroy them or not. Don’t forget, if you decide to keep all of them you are likely to end up with more than 40 of them, covering every year of your working life.

As a further guide, it is advisable to keep everyday paperwork for three years. Again, this should be filed appropriately and stored somewhere safe. If everything is stored and filmed properly it is easy to pull out the oldest year and destroy it, ensuring you have kept the relevant items.

While it may be tempting to digitalize these documents, a digital copy is often not the same as a paper version to state officials. In addition, digitalizing them can make it easier for someone else to find them and use them against you.



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