There is paper everywhere. Even with the advancement of paperless technology, most homes and offices still operate with paper. Most of these paper documents contain sensitive information that can be used to perpetrate evil if found by any bad actor.
There’s a question of when the appropriate time to shred documents is. There’s a time for everything, the same goes for shredding. Each paper with confidential and personal information has a retention date, the day that it will no longer have value. Even at that, it’s still valuable to the thief.
Documents should be shredded when they are no longer valuable to reduce the risk of having them fall into the wrong hands and also, declutter your space. Using industrial shredders is one of the best ways to protect documents with sensitive information.
A document retention policy requires businesses and individuals to hold on to some documents for one, three, and seven years, sometimes forever.
Documents And When to Shred Them
1. Shred Immediately
Some documents hold no value beyond the point where they are issued. Keeping them will further clutter your home and office. So, it’s best to shred them immediately. Such documents include
- Cleared utility bill
- Document photocopies
- Bank withdrawal receipts
- Automated teller machine receipts
- Expired warranties
- Insurance offers
2. Retain for a year to three
Some corporate documents are to be kept for one or two, but not more than three years. Such documents include
- Sales invoice.
- Bank statement.
- Applicant information.
- Paid medical bill.
3. Protect for four to six years
Documents with financial records should be retained for at least six years. The financial authorities may decide to audit the company’s tax records from 5 years ago. Other documents in that category are,
- Shipping invoice
- Freight waybill
- Insurance claims
- Resolved accident aims
Most documents’ retention periods are seven years, after which they are reissued. The old one can be shredded using a shredder.
Keep Until Resolved
Some documents are to be protected until what they represent is resolved. Documents like
- Life insurance policies
- Car records (protect until the car is sold)
- Active warranties
- Property record (keep until sold)
However, some documents are to be retained forever. Individuals must keep those documents safe for the rest of their lives because of the sensitive information they contain, and such records do not expire. Such documents include
- Birth certificate
- Social Security documents
- Citizenship paper
- Death certificates
- Marriage certificate
- Divorce decree
- Adoption papers
- Legal documents
- Income tax and check
- Pension record
- Trust statement
Documents are vital because of the information they contain. When such information is no longer valuable, it is necessary to shred it to avoid future problems. If you are unsure whether to shred the document or not, hold on to it for a while until you are sure.