I used to find myself spring-cleaning my documents every 4-6 months. Heaps of paper collected over time – bank statements, bills, junk mail. Important papers got buried in the heaps, and I couldn’t find them when needed.
Since setting up EisenVault, I have gotten my personal documents in shape as well. And in this post I’m going to share with you the tips and tricks I follow to stay organised – hopefully some of these will be useful for you too.
Types of personal records I keep & why?
From the Bank
Statements – I keep for a minimum of 2 years, and they are needed
As an address proof
To show bank balance & income when applying for travel visas, loans, etc
For preparing income tax returns – not all banks keep historical statements online
Investment documents – for the life of the investment
E.g. Fixed Deposit advice, Stock Investment statements
Paper documents are often needed when applying for new investments
Passwords and PIN notifications
Given the proliferation of passwords & pins – I need to keep them securely. I usually destroy the paper notification, and note down the pins & passwords in Evernote (which is itself password protected, and my devices are all password protected).
Account information documents
Often I need to quote my “customer reference number” or “account number” when dealing with the banks. Good to keep these numbers handy. I keep the original paper and note the numbers in Evernote.
Business Purchase Receipts
I usually only keep receipts if the expenses are business related .
I make an entry of the expense in QuickBooks Online (a cheap business accounting tool)
I scan the receipts using GeniusScan for iPhone (gives pretty good results)
GeniusScan lets me export scans to Dropbox for storage
I have organised my Dropbox receipts folder by month and year
The above also applies to utility bills that are business related. I also keep a digital copy of payment receipts in dropbox.
Personal Purchase Receipts
For major personal purchases, there is usually a 1 year warranty period, e.g. refrigerator, mobile, etc. I like to keep the receipts for at least 1 year – sometimes 2 years. These receipts & related warranty cards are housed in a plastic folder, which lives in a specific drawer – so I know exactly where to find the receipts when needed.
I have created a separate plastic folder for medical files. This folder has 12 pockets – I use one for each year and for each family member. So there is one pocket for me for 2014 and one for my wife for 2014. All the following types of medical documents go into this file:
Payment receipts (for later insurance claims)
I also keep prescriptions & test results scanned and stored in Dropbox. This helps me quickly look them up when visiting the doctor next – and it ensures that the information stays with me even when I move cities/countries.
Vital ID Documents
I have created a specific folder that holds all identification documents for me and my wife:
This folder also holds spare passport-sized photographs. I carry this folder whenever I go to the bank or for any other official purpose. I have all my documents in one place. The banks often ask for different things – and this is the best way to stay prepared.
It is actually not complicated, but takes effort to set up a system and diligently follow it. Same applies for business documents as well. EisenVault can help you manage both personal and business documents.
EisenVault is a professional records management company based in New Delhi, India. We provide record and document indexing, filing and preservation solutions for corporates and individuals. Email us at contact(at)eisenvault.com for further information or browse our website.
Views in this post are of the author only. The author has not been paid by any company mentioned in this post apart from EisenVault, where the author is an employee.