How Long Should You Save Important Documents?

The Bird’s Eye View:

Clients often ask us how long they need to keep important documents on file. Today, we’re sharing a checklist of what you need to save and why.


Your Guide:

On this episode of Your Retirement Elevated podcast with Scott Dougan, we’re sharing how long you need to keep documents on hand and why.

First, you should create different categories – such as tax documents, health care, legal, assets and debt and other documents – and make a process that works best for you.

Tax documents

You never mess with any government agency that has three letters. For the IRS, you need to keep at least three years of state and federal income tax returns and all your supporting documentation.

If you live in California, you need to keep them longer than three years. In other cases, there are some tax documents you may need to keep for six or seven years, which we detail in the podcast.

Health care

If you’re on Medicare, you’ll want to keep your summary notices for at least a year or until the bill is paid in full. If you’re in an employer drug plan, keep your annual notice of credible coverage. You’ll need that if you’re on Part D at a later time.


You definitely want a copy of your Social Security card, birth certificate and passport. If you have an estate plan, you want a digital copy in a PDF. You also want to save marriage certificates and military discharge papers.

Listen to the full episode or use the timestamps below to find specific segments.

[7:15] – Taxes

[8:54] – Health care

[9:54] – Legal

[11:13] – Assets and debts

[12:55] – Other documents

Thanks for checking out the Your Retirement Elevated Podcast. We’ll talk to you again on the next show.

Download the free PDF: What Documents Should I Keep on File


Your Guide:

Home Insight About Scott

Scott Dougan, RFC, Investment Advisor – Contact