Taming the Paper Tiger

Physician's Money Digest, September30 2004, Volume 11, Issue 18

If your home or office is being floodedwith paper, buy a shredder and put itto good use. Start with the easy stuff—preapproved credit card offers, bankstatements and credit card bills over ayear old, and credit card receipts forpurchases you've already been billedfor. When you get to your tax files, decisionsget a bit tougher, but you can usuallyshred any supporting documentsfor income tax returns that are morethan 3 years old. Keep the tax returnsindefinitely, though. Keep any recordsof home improvements until you sellthe house, and hang on to brokerageaccount statements. You'll need thoseto establish your cost basis if you decideto sell stocks or bonds.