Depending on the type of papers you’re dealing with, there are certain documents that you need to store for a certain amount of time, others that you can digitize, and others that you have to keep forever. But how do you choose the ones that need to be printed vs. the ones that can live in your digital world? Although we are moving more and more to digital solutions, there are still many reasons why you should print a hard copy of your files.
The rule of thumb is that you should keep physical copies of everything that you want to have easy access to: from licenses to tax records to loan documents. You should also store copies of any files that can become a hassle to replace over time— especially with the pandemic and the closure of government offices, replacing lost government documents can turn into a very long process.
In addition, hard copies of your documents are very useful when they need to be sent or shown to someone who doesn’t have access to a computer or a digital device. They also become very handy when the paper needs to be signed.
Lastly, physical documents have a longer shelf life than digital devices. Think about all the different types of storage options that you’ve used in your life and have become obsolete (if not even ceased to exist): from floppy discs to cassette tapes to microfilm. Although it’s possible to transfer data from one electronic device to another, there is always the risk of losing quality or even files during the transfer process. Having the paper version of your important documents can ensure that you don’t lose anything.
To help you identify which documents you should keep a hard copy of, we have created a list for you:
- Tax records and receipts (keep for seven years)
- Pay stubs and bank statements (keep for a year)
- Home purchase, sale, or improvement documents (keep for at least six years after you sell)
- Medical records and bills (keep at least a year after payment in case of disputes)
- Warranty documents and receipts (keep as long as you own the item in question)
- Birth and death certificates
- Social security cards
- ID cards, passports, and green cards
- Marriage and business licenses
- Any insurance policy (keep even if the insurer provides access to a digital copy)
- Wills, living wills, and powers of attorney
- Loan documents
For these documents that you should hold on to, the Mopria Print Service app can make the printing process easier, as it enhances the print functionality on any Android phone or tablet. With this app, you can connect and print to any Mopria certified printer without additional set-up. If your Android device is not yet able to print, download the Mopria Print Service app from Google Play or directly from the Mopria website.