Well, that’s not its official name, but our town is hosting a free shredding event from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 18. Anyone in the area can bring up to three banker boxes of documents to the parking lot of Foster City’s City Hall, 610 Foster City Blvd., and watch them be transformed into confetti.
Community shredding events are “wildly popular,” says Laura Galli, assistant engineer for Foster City, who notes that despite the appeal, there’s almost never a wait for the shredder.
I’m envisioning crowds of people showing up lugging boxes and bags bursting with yellowed financial records, old medical test results and love letters from exes. What about term papers with failing grades? Or photos of someone you’re glad is out of your life? Whatever paper you’d like to clear out, the shredding event is an ideal time to do it.
A deadline can often be a very effective productivity tool. As a reporter, I have a much harder time mustering the focus to complete an assignment when an editor says, “Oh, turn it in whenever you get some time” rather than “I need it by Tuesday at 9 a.m.” Knowing that you can free yourself of a heap of unwanted paper on Sept. 18 is a great impetus to start culling your files now.
How long should you keep various personal finance and investment records? Your CPA is your best resource because she can tailor her advice to your particular needs. Bankrate.com has a handy chart with some suggestions, too. And here’s more information from Consumer Reports Money Advisor.
What should you shred? Here’s a very comprehensive list from Fightidentitytheft.com. It errs on the overly cautious/paranoid end by including luggage tags and magazine labels, but it also covers all the usual suspects: anything containing your credit card account numbers, bank account numbers, Social Security number, driver’s license number and medical information. In short, likely more than you realize.