Make a master list of your accounts and passwords
If yours is a typical household, one person actively manages the bills, checkbook and investments accounts while other family members have a more passive role. If so, you’ll want to make sure that your spouse or other trusted family member can access accounts and keep your household’s finances afloat in the event of a serious illness or injury, or death.
Start by creating a master list of your accounts that includes any relevant contact, email and website addresses, usernames, passwords, and security questions and answers.
Next, given the confidentiality of this information, protect it by safely storing it. Ideally, you want to make sure that the only person who can access this information is the one who you choose. So, consider the pros and cons of the following three locations — or come up with a secure storage idea of your own.
· Safe-deposit box — On the upside, to access the information requires that a person has a key to do so. Just make sure he or she knows where the key and box are located. On the downside, it means that you may have to pay to store the list if your bank charges a fee for a safety deposit box. It also means that every time you update the list you need to physically go to the bank.
· Home safe — The biggest pro to this option is that it’s easy to retrieve the information and to place an updated copy of the list in the box. The biggest con is that your information is less secure than a safety deposit box if you experience a break in. Regardless of whether you elect to store your list in a safety deposit box or home safe, be sure to shred the old list for security purposes.
· Home computer — Like a home safe, this option also offers convenience but may give an unwanted home intruder access to it in the event your computer is stolen. What’s more, if that’s your only copy, you could have challenges remembering the information you need to access your accounts. If you choose this option, be sure to store the information in a password protected and encrypted file if possible.
For additional help managing your finances or creating a financial strategy, consult your financial advisor.
James C. Hanna, CFP®, MBA, Financial Advisor, Certified Financial Planner ™ practitioner. Advisor is licensed/registered to do business with U.S. residents only in the states of Kansas, Missouri, Colorado, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas and Indiana.
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