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Old bank statements, pay slips, etc.

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luckystrike | 17:02 Wed 19th Jan 2005 | Business & Finance
7 Answers

Over the last years I have built up a huge quantity of correspondence, suvh as bank and credit card statements, old mortgage and insurance information, wage slips, etc.


How long should I be expected to keep all of this information, or can I just shread it all now!





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To be on the safe side - keep everything from the last twelve months, and ditch the rest. If you want to be brutal, make it six months.

Personally 6 years - and I got a tax refund for a job I left 2 years ago.


I was also chased by a collection agency for money for a bill I paid - luckily I kept it.

After 6 years, a debtor has pretty much no chance of getting your money if he hasn't chased you.


Also, when in sales, payslips were handy to prove what your bonuses were.


As I said, after 6 years, that is when I shred my stuff - never before.

If you have used any part of this information in a Tax Return then you are legally obliged (under pain of a nasty penalty) to keep the information for 6 years from the end of the Tax Year to which it relates.
I would keep all of my P60s because I heard that, technically, the Inland Revenue (unlike normal creditors) can chase you forever.  Luckily, even 30 years' worth would not take up too much space.

Dedicate yourself to several weeks of typing at the word processor, buy several lever arch folders, then start a word processor document like this:

LF001D001: (Red)





There is supposed to be a space between some of the above words.

Replace Red with whatever colour the folder is. This helps you to find it when you've got a lot.

Sit down in an archair and write the number of each piece of correspondence/document in the top right corner beginning with LF001D001. This means `Lever Folder 001 Document 001'. The 00 of the folder will allow you to have plenty of folders all in a list in this word processor file incase it numbers more than a hundred in a few years time. The 00 after the D is because lever arch folders can hold about 200 documents.

When you have done that, punch double holes in each document. Some punches can punch 50 documents at a time. Then put them in order in the first folder. Name the folder LF001 on the front and side.

After the LF001D001: Set a tab setting at 1 inch. Type it like this:













Highlight and copy 001 to 009 and paste them below 010. Do this repeatedly for however many documents there are in the folder. Then highlight each one (001 to 009) from the second one click replace. Replace D00 with D01. Manually type the end number for each one, i.e. 010, 020, 030. This will mean that you now have 001 to 019. When you get to the end you'll have 001 to 200. 

Then type for a few hours each day for a few weeks, recording the correspondence and documents one by one into the word processor document. You'll be glad when it is done, and all the documents are archived. You can tuck those folders away in a cupboard or put them on a shelf on the wall.

Do the same with any new correspondence and documents.

While you are doing this, start new word processor documents for any information that you see in the correspondence and documents that may be useful to keep handy. Start these files like this:


Letter from Insurance Company dated 1st June 1997 concerning change of policy:


Letter from Insurance Company dated 1st June 1997 concerning change of policy:

Underline the Index. The first letter of the line should be in bold. This makes it easier to find when the list of lines becomes long. The line beneath the ===== should be in size 14 if your normal text is size 10, or 16 if your normal text is size 12, and in bold. Write any information beneath it.

Each word processor file should be the same, and named appropriately, i.e. Car Insurance, Rent, Council Tax etc.

This is much better, and well worth the effort, than chucking those old documents away. You never know what information they may contain that may be useful if any companies start chasing you up about something.


Having such an archive makes it easy to find specific correspondence and documents. You just open the word processor file, perhaps called Folder Contents or Folders, and type the key words into the search facility.

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