From travel insurance to fraud protection, AARP has you covered. Take a closer look at your member benefits.
by Sid Kirchheimer, From the AARP Bulletin Print Edition, October 6, 2008
Q. What documents should I shred?
A. Start by shredding junk mail and old papers that carry your Social Security number (but don’t destroy your Social Security card), birth date, signature, account numbers, passwords or PINs.
Shred deposit slips and ATM and credit card receipts immediately after you get your monthly statements. Shred used airline tickets, unneeded medical bills, preapproved credit card applications and expired IDs such as driver’s licenses, medical insurance cards and passports.
Some more shredding advice:
• Hold on to bank statements and canceled checks (or copies) for one year, but keep checks needed for your tax returns—such as charitable donations or tax payments—for seven years.
• Papers and checks related to a home purchase or sale, or improvements, and contributions made to an IRA, should be kept indefinitely.
• Shred paycheck stubs after the income is noted on a W-2 or other tax form (this is one reason why community shredding events often occur in the spring, after tax season).
• Shred monthly retirement and investment account statements after you get the annual statement for the entire year. Keep the annual statement indefinitely.
• Keep utility bills for one year if you want to compare that month’s costs to the previous year. Otherwise, shred them sooner.
What not to shred:
• Do not shred original Social Security cards, birth certificates, mortgage paperwork, deeds or wills. However, some experts recommend shredding unneeded photocopies of those documents.
Send queries to: Ask Sid, 601 E St. N.W., Washington, DC, 20049 or e-mail ask firstname.lastname@example.org. We regret we can’t answer all of them.
Please leave your comment below.
You must be logged in to leave a comment.
Get tips and resources to protect yourself from fraud and see the latest scam alerts in your state.
Members save 15% on in-store purchases of frozen yogurt, treats and apparel.
Exclusive program for members from The Hartford.
AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.
You are leaving AARP.org and going to the website of our trusted provider. The provider’s terms, conditions and policies apply. Please return to AARP.org to learn more about other benefits.
Your email address is now confirmed.
Manage your email preferences and tell us which topics interest you so that we can prioritize the information you receive.
Explore all that AARP has to offer.
In the next 24 hours, you will receive an email to confirm your subscription to receive emails
related to AARP volunteering. Once you confirm that subscription, you will regularly
receive communications related to AARP volunteering. In the meantime, please feel free
to search for ways to make a difference in your community at