By Jessica Lanning, JD, CFP®

 

If you’re still keeping your passwords on a sticky note or a spreadsheet, it’s time to upgrade to the 21st century, my friend. No one wants to be a victim of fraud or identity theft. That’s why you need a password vault. 

 

What is a Password Vault? 

 

A password vault is a secure digital repository for storing passwords and other sensitive information. Think of it as a virtual safe for your digital life. Instead of remembering all your passwords, you can store them in a password vault and access them with just one master password. 

 

Why Get One? 

 

Do you remember when you used to keep your passwords on a spreadsheet or sticky notes on your computer monitor? And, yes, I know some of you are thinking, “yes, and I still am!”  

The time has come to a stop.  

Why? 

  1. Spreadsheets on your computer can be accessed by someone with physical access to your device, whether authorized or not. 
  2. Spreadsheets are not designed to store sensitive information like passwords and often don’t have the necessary security features to protect them (encryption, password protection). 
  3. Spreadsheets do not protect you from yourself. A copy-and-paste from spreadsheet to login page does not keep prying eyes out, nor will it pull a password off your Notes file in your phone and paste it in a crowded coffee shop. You will be inclined to use the same passwords or those with slight variations from site to site, making it easier to hack other sites once someone has one of your passwords. A late-night, half-asleep response to a phishing email will not prevent you from accidentally handing your password out.  
  4. Spreadsheets do not create lengthy, complex passwords that are often required. How many times have you struggled to come up with a 12-character password – with one uppercase letter, one lowercase letter, a numeral, a unique character (but not the space!), not repeat your last password in any way or replicate your login name – type it 

in twice to verify it and have completely forgotten what variation worked by the time it’s accepted? This is crazy-making.  

That’s where a password vault comes in. It makes logging into your accounts much easier, especially when you’re on your phone. 

 

The Benefits 

Having a password vault has many benefits, including the following

  • Convenient and easy access to all your passwords with just one master password • Secure storage of your passwords and sensitive information 
  • Ability to generate strong, unique passwords for each of your accounts • Ability to log into your accounts quickly and easily, even when you’re on the go • Enormous saving of time and frustration during your day dealing with passwords rather than your tasks at hand 
  • The ability to allow your successors and powers of attorney access your accounts in an emergency 

 

This Will All Change Anyway, So Why Do This? 

 

You’re right. Internet security is getting better every day. Eventually, we may all log into our accounts using two devices, one of which will likely read our facial features or thumbprint. But until that day comes (and even after it does), it’s essential to use the best practices for password protection. These include: 

  • Employing solid and unique passwords (the vault will help you) 
  • Enabling two-factor authentication and using it 
  • Staying vigilant to signs of a breach 

 

Features You Want to Have 

 

When choosing a password vault, there are a few key features you should look for, including: 

  • Ease of use on desktop and mobile 
  • Emergency access feature 
  • Ability to generate strong, unique passwords 

 

Embrace the Learning Curve

 

Getting started with a password vault may take a little time and energy, but the benefits are worth it. Just like learning to text or use Facebook, you’ll get the hang of it quickly. In the beginning, you’re going to struggle and wish you had never started. Don’t give up. The time savings and the security will be so worth it. 

 

The Next Baby Step 

 

Start by choosing a password vault product, signing up for the free version, and registering one password. Practice with that one site until you understand how it works. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without a password vault. 

Please reach out if you need encouragement to engage in a password vault. 

Lanning Financial Inc. is a registered investment adviser. Information presented is for educational purposes only and does not intend to make an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies. Investments involve risk and unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed. Be sure to first consult with a qualified financial adviser and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed herein. Past performance is not indicative of future performance.

 

 

Jessica LanningAbout the Author:

Jessica Lanning JD, CFP® brings focus and perspective to your individual financial needs to identify your opportunities for investment and wealth. Regardless of what you’ve done before or what “mistakes” you think you’ve made, Jessica can help get you back on track quickly and safely. As a former practicing lawyer, she brings a comprehensive approach to legal, tax, and financial challenges so that her clients can enjoy peace of mind. A huge proponent of conscious decision-making, Jessica makes sure her clients are educated and informed so that they make sound decisions with clarity and confidence. 

 

Lanning Financial Inc. is a registered investment adviser. The information presented is for educational purposes only and does not intend to make an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies. Investments involve risk and unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed. Be sure to first consult with a qualified financial adviser and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed herein. Past performance is not indicative of future performance.

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