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Are Your Financial Accounts Vulnerable to Hackers or Lost Passwords?

Have you ever been locked out of your account for too many attempts? Do you use the same password over and over for multiple accounts even though you know it’s risky? Have you ever used 123456 or your birthday as a password.

If you answered yes to any of those questions, then read on! 

I had a consultation with someone the other day, and I asked her to provide an account statement for me to review before our meeting. She indicated that it would take some work because she rarely logs into the account; she had forgotten the password and would need to reset it to get the statement. She was frustrated and a little embarrassed about the situation.

I had zero judgment because I knew exactly how she felt — I’ve been there more times than I care to admit — which is why I want to share a great way never to forget your passwords again while keeping your financial accounts more secure!

A vault for your passwords

Enter the password manager. At its simplest, a password manager is a vault for all of your passwords. Most password managers come as an app or software that you can download on your smartphone, tablet, or computer, or better yet, all three!

Now I won’t sugarcoat it – it takes a bit of time upfront to get everything set up as you add in all the website URLs, usernames, and passwords you want to keep track of. Still, I invested some time to set-up a password manager for all my accounts, and the results have been paying dividends in time savings and less frustration ever since.

Features and benefits

Here are a couple of the key benefits to using a password manager:

  1. You only need to remember a single password to login to the password manager.
  2. Inside the password manager, you can save your website URLs, usernames, and passwords for each account.
  3. Many password managers can generate very complex and secure passwords using combinations of letters and numbers for your accounts – which you are then able to copy over when you are logging into your accounts.
  4. Many password managers will have an extension that you can add to your browser, such as Google Chrome. Once you’ve added the extension, you can choose to allow the password manager to auto-fill your username and passwords on specific sites. As you create new usernames and passwords, the password manager will ask if you want to add the latest information to the secure vault.

Thinking of family and loved ones

Another great benefit to using a password manager has to do with estate planning. I’ve heard stories and assisted with situations where adult children are left to untangle a complex estate after their parents pass, with various accounts scattered and unorganized. The grief often exacerbates the struggle that they are experiencing during a time of loss.

With a password manager, your family only needs to know the one password you use to log-in, and then they will be able to access the rest of the account usernames and passwords seamlessly. Additionally, many password managers allow you to sort your websites into different folders, so it’s possible to take the organization one step further by placing all of your financial accounts (bank accounts, brokerage accounts, 401ks) into a specific folder for your heirs.

Security is a top priority from a financial planning perspective as more and more accounts are managed entirely online. Passwords need to be strong, containing letters, numbers, and special characters. A password manager is a great way to create complex and secure passwords without the worry of needing to remember them afterward.

A recent study by the anti-virus security firm Avast found that more than half (53%) of respondents re-use passwords to protect multiple accounts, and of those that do, 88% admitted to being aware that the practice is risky. When they asked the respondents why they stick to the habit, 54% said they could only memorize a small number of passwords.

A password manager solves that pain point and is a tool that you can use to create different and secure passwords while only remembering that single password to log-in. At the very least, by deciding to use a password manager, it’s possible to save tremendous amounts of frustration dealing with forgotten passwords, getting locked out of accounts, and having to reset passwords.At the very best, you can further protect your financial assets from hackers and bad actors while also making your estate’s settlement smoother for your family and loved ones.

When choosing a password manager, I suggest checking out PC Magazine’s 2021 Top 11 Password Managers. You can’t go wrong with any of the options on their list, and it just comes down to your preferences, cost, and the specific features of each password manager. If you want to hop on a call and discuss the password manager I use or just have a financial planning question that you want answered, I would be happy to help.

Head over to ScheduleTimeWithSteve.com and book your no-cost consultation today!

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