We recently sat down with a client to help him set up our client-only website, MySummitPlace.com. The client was excited to link all of his financial accounts and see his entire net worth picture in one place. So after reviewing your invested portfolio, we started with the online login information for your insurance, bank, and mortgage. The customer knew the general information, but had to find the last password. They knew they had to change their passwords regularly, but admitted that at the time, they sometimes forgot to update it where they kept their password list: a small yellow notepad in a nearby desk drawer. We have seen this many times, clever thinking about passwords that can fail terribly due to yellow sticky notes, compromised email accounts, or text files on a computer desktop. But there are great password management solutions out there these days!
You know that it is important to use strong and unique passwords on all your devices and accounts. Strong passwords use uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. If you are creating them on your own, avoid using your name, initials, date of birth, or any part of your social security number (or that of your children or grandchildren).
However, remembering all these passwords can be quite difficult. The solution is a password manager! These apps protect all your passwords and login information in an encrypted database, requiring you to remember only one master password. At times like this, when you are asked to change passwords regularly, these apps are extremely useful because they can also generate random strong passwords for you for each site.
Some to consider:
1Password was one of the first great password managers. The software is on your computer, as well as all your other mobile devices. For a low monthly fee, it will automatically sync passwords and logins with each other. There is also a family plan to share with others. This is useful for sharing with your immediate family and also for sharing with a trusted loved one, perhaps to ensure that all important accounts are known and accessible. 1Password also has a wallet feature to safely store credit cards and other numbers that you would like to access paperless at home and on the go.
Roboform also works on all your computers and mobile devices and offers a limited free version. For an annual fee, the premium version syncs all your devices, has a secure wallet / vault, and offers two-factor verification. Roboform also has a family subscription to share safely with family members.
Dashlane offers a free password manager that saves your current passwords, generates secure random passwords for any site, and also allows limited access to one emergency contact. The premium version will sync across your devices, share it with others, and automatically back up your information.
We are confident that you can find even more options, and choosing between them is primarily based on your personal choice of features and ease of use. We hope you take advantage of your summer to dive into a more secure approach to password management. Throw the yellow notes on the wall, the index cards scrawled in the back of a drawer, or the folded piece of paper in your wallet! We take your financial cybersecurity more seriously than ever and look forward to helping you do the same.