Last week I discussed how to decide what to toss and what to shred when you finally get around to cleaning out years of records and documents. But I didn’t address a related question, “How long should you keep records, particularly financial records, before they can be shredded?”
According to the experts, generally there are two main reasons for keeping financial records: to offer documentation for a disputed tax issue or to show proof you made a payment or some other financial transaction.
According to Jennifer Saranow Schultz, a contributing writer for the New York Times Business Section, the IRS requires “individuals be able to produce records proving any income, deductions or credit claimed for at least three yearsfrom the date of a return”. (Three years is the statute of limitations for the IRS to assess additional taxes if all income is reportedly correctly.) But if you fail to report more than 25% of your income on your tax return, the IRS requires you to produce records for six years. Therefore the safest recommendation is to keep all of your tax records and documentation for the longer six years.
For other financial records, such as utility bills or other proofs of payment, you only need to keep them until you are sure the payment has been processed. Once you see the zero balance on the next bill, it can be shredded. For loan papers, keep them until the loan is paid off and then just keep the documentation that shows it has been paid in full; for insurance documents, keep them as long as you have the policy or if there are still unresolved claims; and for health insurance, keep those records for any service still being provided, that has not been paid or is unresolved. (And of course if any of these kinds of records are used to claim a tax deduction, save them for the recommended six years.)
There are some financial records you should keep indefinitely. Again according to Jennifer Schultz, you need to keep indefinitely “paperwork related to legal filings, wills, inheritance, bankruptcy and paperwork documenting contributions to and withdrawals from retirement accounts like Roth I.R.A.’s.”
And one final note. For security reasons, experts caution against using the new technological tools for keeping your records. Avoid storing your records online or on your computer. You’ll be glad to know it is still recommended to keep your records the old fashioned way: the original documents in a safe and secure place.
On Tuesday November 27th at 11:00 AM, the Center is going to complete the month’s Tuesday Lecture Series with a bang – a special presentation by Dr. Joshua Boone, Doctor of Podiatric Medicine, speaking about foot care. If you would like to learn more about medical conditions affecting the foot or have questions (or just have a foot fetish), please join us. The presentation will be in the Center’s basement since this month’s second AARP Driver Safety Class on the 26th and 27th will be using the upstairs classroom. (And there are still openings for this class which is free for Veterans and their spouses.)
Tonight at the Center, right here in wet River City, Truman will be singing his Country Gold. And next Tuesday we’ll end the month with “For the Good Times”. The music starts at 7:00, everyone is welcome – including any gregarious Turkeys, and donations are always appreciated to keep the lights on and the musicians fed.
The TV series on ABC inspired by real-life Prohibition agents who battled Chicago crime elements was the “Untouchables” starring Robert Stack. (And the winner of the Christmas Breakfast on December 15th is Sandy Goforth.)
This week’s “Remember When” question is a little more recent – only forty years ago. But let’s see if anyone knows the answer. The fourth season of this TV series included one of the most famous sitcom Thanksgiving scenes – while Emily was away for a Thanksgiving family reunion, her husband calls to order Chinese food for himself and his three friends who have all gotten drunk while watching a football game on TV. “Moo goo goo goo? Maybe I’m ordering Chinese baby food.” What was the name of this popular TV series that first aired in 1972? E-mail your answer to the email@example.com, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with the hit album of humorous deadpan monologues called “The Buttoned Mind Strikes Back.”
Well, it has been another week, waiting for the Turkey to undress. Until we meet again, eat slowly, chew thoughtfully and swallow carefully. And enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving.
“You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.” Yogi Berra
It isn’t clearly understood, but social engagement is known to have positive effects on your health and well-being. While on the opposite side of the coin, social and emotional isolation can be harmful and decrease your life expectancy. Unfortunately, when confronted with life changing events such as a death of a loved one, a terminal diagnosis or confronting an addiction, it is easy to retreat and separate yourself from your friends and family: your natural support network.
But in those situations, a support group is often a lifeline – providing life-saving benefits during those traumatic times. A support group can help you connect with others – reducing the feeling of isolation and being alone; help you understand that your feelings and reactions are not strange, but normal; and help you realize that life may be different, but it’s not over.
There are many support groups in the area for individuals as well as family, friends and caregivers. Last week, I mentioned the Stroke Support Group meeting on the second Wednesday of the month at Water’s Edge (541-506-6902). But there are many others including: a men’s cancer (541-296-7207) and a women’s cancer support group (Lyn at 541-296-7205); Parkinson’s (Chad at 541-478-9338), Family Alzheimer’s/Dementia (Karen Deswert at FlagStone Senior Living 541-298-5656), and a Dementia support group (Veteran’s Home 541-296-7190). For bereavement support you can contact Heart of Hospice (541-296-7190) and Hospice of the Gorge (541-387-6449).
The bottom line is support groups offer social connections, experiential knowledge, role models and caring relationships. There is nothing better than knowing you can count on a group of people for support and guidance; and knowing, at some time, you will be able to reciprocate and help others through their difficult days, weeks and months. There is an open door waiting. You just have to make the life affirming decision to walk through it.
November 12th through the 16th is International Education Week: an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and worldwide exchange programs such as AFS (American Field Services). Since 1947, AFS has provided “intercultural learning experiences that bring global cultures together by helping people connect, transforming the lives of thousands of students, families, and individuals every year”.
Thanks to the efforts of Tedd and Rymmel Lovell, host families, liaisons and many other volunteers, there are three AFS high school students in The Dalles this school year including Anas “Ben” Dlala from Tunisia. You can learn more about AFS and Tunisia when Ben shows slides and discusses his homeland at the Tuesday Lecture on November 13thstarting at 11:00.
And to raise funds for student scholarships, local events, and school expenses for the current and future crop of exchange students, the local AFS program is selling 20 pound boxes of Ruby Red Grapefruit or Navel Oranges for $16.00 apiece. You can order a box (or half box) by calling 541-296-6546, contacting your local AFS volunteer or going online at http://tinyurl.com/AFS-Grapefruit-Oranges.
Novelty and focus are two essential nutrients for a good memory. So again it is time mix it up with this week’s music announcement. At the tenter conight starting at 7:00 PM “The Strawberry Bountain Mand” will be performing. And next week, Frartin and Miends will provide the soundtrack for an evening of lancing and distening. Everyone is welcome – political linners and wosers – and donations are always appreciated.
Last week’s question was a popular one with many folks remembering Eve Arden starring in “Our Miss Brooks” – the popular comedy series that aired on the radio from 1948 – 1958 and television from 1952 – 1956. (And the winner of a free Saturday breakfast on the 17th is John Lampe.) And since today is Election Day – the end to all the political pitches covering the airwaves like weeds in a vacant lot – it only seems appropriate to include a political “Remember When” question.
For two years the nation was run by a president and a vice president who were not elected by the people. Who was the U.S. President? Email your answer to the firstname.lastname@example.org, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with a No. 48 football Jersey from the University of Michigan.
Well, it has been another week, trying to stay on my side of the road when the rain is pouring down. Until we meet again, stay strong, but many times the greatest strength is knowing when to seek support.
“Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap.” Robert Fulghum