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Guest bMc

File Storage

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Guest bMc

I have a small consulting and admin firm. I am running out of storage space because I am afraid to discard anything. What should I be saving and for how long? What about a terminated plan or a terminated client?

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I'll probably get some disagreement on this, but here goes. I have always been of the opinion that you keep things (even for terminated clients) for 7 years at a minimum, but I hardly ever wanted to get rid of anything. I can't tell you how many times I've had to go back and pick up information from way back, either upon audit, a QDRO, or some major disagreement between former owners/participants and the client.

I would certainly never, ever, pitch any plan documents or SPD's.

Some suggestions:

1. Send to offsite storage (you may have to raise your fees to cover) if it is available

2. Consider microfilming some of the "workpapers" relating to a particular year.

3. Check with your liability carrier as to their thoughts.

Hope this helps!

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Guest Ralph Amadio

You might consider obtaining a writable CD rom which would allow you to scan in all archive documents and files, with the ability to recreate them exactly, including signatures. This technology would provide you with storage space of 650 mg per disk, (about 3-4 filing cabinets) for a cost of about $2/disk. The equipment is relatively inexpensive, disks can be duplicated and kept offsite, and you can easily maintain security from external and internal sources. Incidentally, buy a heavy duty file shredder while you are at it.

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At the risk of sounding low-tech, why don't you use an off-site storage company?

I use it, and when I need to retrieve something (and it's rare), they have it back to me in 24 hours. It costs peanuts (especially relative to the risk of discarding something you should have kept).

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