First, which of these methods do you use to keep track of passwords?
- Write them down on paper?
- Keep them in a Word document or notes app?
- Do you use a password manager?
- Do you not keep track of them at all?
Let’s eliminate the worst way to keep track of them right off the bat: If you don’t have a password storing method, you need one. If something happens to you, your family can be locked out of your accounts and devices forever. They could be cut off from benefits they need and access to accounts they also use but you currently control.
You may write them in a notebook, on a well-worn piece of paper, possibly on a series of Post-It Notes and reference these artifacts whenever a password is required. This is ok in a pinch, but the days of creating a PIN number in your late teens and keeping it for the rest of your life is gone, with sites sometimes forcing you to refresh passwords more frequently or after a security breach. This means you have to keep the paper up to date, which is a hassle itself, and resetting an account using the “forgot email” option adds to the problem, especially if the email associated with that account is the one you’re locked out of.
You may keep them in a Word document, Google document, or some sort of note taking app like Google Keep or Apple Notes. This is an ok method, but it’s still a security risk because it can be deleted, stolen, or out-of-date, presenting the same problem as paper. If this is your preferred way of doing things and you refuse to try anything new you need to promise to keep it updated and somewhere safe, but still accessible if your family needs it.
You downloaded software like Dashlane, LastPass, 1Password, or another offering that stores all your passwords, generates random secure passwords on the fly, makes sure you don’t reuse passwords, allows you to safely and securely share passwords with people who need them (either personal or professional), and you only have to remember one master password to access them all. You can also include other codes and notes like PIN numbers, combinations, unlock codes for your phone and computer, answers to secret questions, and home security so they’re all in one place. While these might not be as popular as keeping a list on your own, this is the best method.
Far be it from us to tell you what to do, but you should use a password manager. At this moment in time, everything digital requires some sort of password or code, even phones with fingerprint ID and facial recognition. This will help you get organized today, and will also help your family in an emergency. Simply share specific passwords to accounts they need, share the master password with a person you really trust, or keep it somewhere safe a person you trust can find it in case of an emergency.
If you’re worried about security, we get it. As a company that puts security first, even we were skeptical of these services at first. But these companies, like Everplans, live and die based on security so it’s worth putting aside worries and you’ll quickly wonder how you ever survived without it.
Try out a password manager! Do a search using the ones we mentioned or check out this article: The 4 Most Popular Password Managers, and dive right in. Start transitioning your main accounts into it and over a short period of time you’ll be so thankful you took the leap, as will anyone else in your family that you grant access. Plus, and this is basic logic: It’s so much easier to remember one password than over a 100.