I've been wanting to do this every since the wife moved out. Burn them old bank statements and bills along with 15 kinds of other BS that you just do not need any longer. A friend told me that you should keep them all for 3 years. Why? Will the bank notify you in an emergency that they lost all records and need yours to restore everything? I really doubt it. Once your checks have cleared and you reconciled your statement you have no reason to keep that paper. This is true also of utility bills and other statements. Why woud you keep utility bills even a year unless it was to verify that they only dunned you 12 times? Burn that shit up! It just takes up space and causes more clutter. We are in the computer age now.
I do recall playing a trick on an "enemy" one time. I wrote a very professional letter claiming to be the phone company and explained that for the last 3 years his bill had been confused with that of another man having the same name and living in a different town. In order to reconcile this problem we needed copies of his paid phone bill for the last 3 years. He went bazooka on them! They denied any letter. I heard that he openly hated and argued with the phone company for close to a year because of this.
Oh, well. Just sayin'. If anyone can figure out why we keep all these old statements and bills please let me know. Keep in mind that I'm an average Joe that doesn't have a lot of property or money.
I don't want to be your enemy!
I usually keep mine for 3 years. I don't know why.
I opened a credit union account in 2001. I still have all the monthly statements from the past 13 years in a file cabinet. Time to have a major shredding party. Same thing with utility bills. I have years and years worth of useless paperwork taking up room. I guess now is the perfect time for some major Spring cleaning.
I'm not sure if all mortgage companies and/or banks require it, however, when I purchased my home a year ago the mortgage requrested 12 months of previous utility bills. I was grateful that I had the original invoices to meet all their requirements. So until further notice I'm keeping all my IRS related stuff 'forever' and all other things for a minimum of 12 months. I do understand you can download all your invoices onto your computer. My computer is old and I don't want to risk losing all my financial records if it decides to crash and die. Yes, I do know about "the cloud", but prefer my old fashioned method of a two drawer file cabinet. Once a year I clean it out :)
Keeping your records is an option. Certainly I say to keep anything that is IRS, but it doesn't have to be so with banking records or utilities. A utility company can give printouts in some fashion of your last 12 months of billing. This should be just as valid because having an invoice of billing is not proof of paying the bill. Having an invoice that I've stamped or marked on doesn't mean anything. The final proof of payment resides with the utility company. It is the same way with a bank. Normally it is safe to destroy a bank statement once you have reconciled everything listed on that statement. Right now banks do not return your original checks, but send you minature photo copies of the originals. When this first became the practice "going paperless" had a few problems but I doubt it does today.
Getting my wife to this country involved a lot of the papers that I am burning today. I had them handy but like I said before, a paper invoice is not proof of that paid invoice, and the needed "proof" can be furnished by the institution itself. Do not take this to mean that I have destroyed any documents issued by Homeland Security. That is not the case and is not an option.
The thing here mentioned is years of pay stubs, bank statements, an utility bills et al.