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How long should I keep bank statements?
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# 1
Old 12-12-2006, 1:24 PM
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Default How long should I keep bank statements?

Since I've had sole responsibility for household finances I've stored, filed, alphabetised like there's no tomorrow and I've got a two drawer filing cabinet with paperwork that I'd like to reduce.

How long should I keep bank statements for? I've got my own going back 8yrs and joint account statements from when I had an OH. (I like to remind myself periodically how much money we could fritter away).

Is there a rule for other paperwork too? Electricity. council tax, etc?
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# 2
Old 12-12-2006, 1:26 PM
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I'm not sure if there are any rules on this.

My advice however would be to keep 6 years worth of statements. This is the length of time data is held on you by Banks, Equifax, Experian etc.

So it seems sensible therefore to match this by keeping all your documents dating back six years.

So if I read your OP right then you should be able to get rid of two years worth of statements.

Hope this is of some help.
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# 3
Old 12-12-2006, 2:40 PM
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I agree with keeping bank and credit card statements for six years (occasionally I like to look up things: how much was the flight to Budapest three years ago?) Also, if you’re ever in a position of wanting/having to re-claim bank charges, you’re one up on all those people who have thrown their statements away unopened, as bearer of bad news, and who now have to contact their bank for duplicates.

I can’t see any reason to keep utilities any longer than the new bill, which will state that the previous bill has been paid (unless you want to check how your consumption has increased or decreased over the years). If you’ve changed utility suppliers, I would keep the final bill, together with a reference how and when it had been paid, for six years again, just in case something comes up.
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# 4
Old 12-12-2006, 6:18 PM
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We just got rid of a pile of my husbands old statements (he used to have one a week) and by now I hope the worms have eaten them. As I am not in the first flush of youth I have a thing right now about getting rid of paper. It must be awful for those who have to go through it all to decide whether something is important or not. I used to think I'd like to look things up but never do. One thing I do is to cut out financial advice articles but I go through them regularly then get rid. When I was in business the Inland Revenue required relevant documents to be kept 6 years but with statements etc I don't think it is that long.
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# 5
Old 13-12-2006, 9:38 AM
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6 years is a good recommendation for the reason given, and is important if you have any problems with your bank. There are not many applications or other things to my mind that you will need anything more than the last three months of statements so I keep the last twelve months so that i'm more than covered if that is required.
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# 6
Old 13-12-2006, 12:43 PM
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After months of hassle getting duplicates I would say keep 6 years worth.

With your filing cabinet I would use one folder per account, put the newest statement at the front. When you have years worth it would take less than 10 minutes a month to go through the backs of each folder getting rid of ones older than 6 years.
Shred them or use them to light the fire.
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# 7
Malcolm Davis
Old 13-12-2006, 1:19 PM
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It would seem that there are different lengths of time needed to keep statements, depending on the purpose.

When I got my mortgage, I was advised that I needed to have three years worth of bank statements.
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# 8
Old 13-12-2006, 4:09 PM
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Probably the perfect answer is ubtil six years and one say is passed from the last entry. However I think the matter of considering risk comes in to play. Have you other evidence of payments made, e.g. to your utility or mortgage co. Are you in a position, where HMRC may well open an enquiry on you, e.g. in business. Having assessed the risk, my bank years ago decided that jeeping pais cheques for six years was unnecessary, setting a new limit of three, They did have back-up evidence if required.
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