As you get your finances organized you’re going to wish you had a secure place to keep all your online passwords to websites. There are several on the market, but I personally use a Chrome Extension on my web-browser to an app called “LastPass”. It’s free if you just use it on desktops, and a small subscription cost if you want to use it across mobile devices.
Once you have a strong master password for your password vault you can use the password manager to generate random passwords for each location, making your overall online banking experience much more secure. When you’re on your home computer you can sign into your vault automatically from the extension. When you’re on a new or different computer you can go to the website to find your vault using your master password. This is helpful if you’re in my office, for example, or traveling.
To install it right into your browser you go to the link for your browser’s extensions.
Password hints: use a password phrase and “leet” it by changing some letters to numbers or numbers to symbols. Use capitals and punctuation. For example, “Go Red Sox, beat the Yankees!” could be turned into GR$,bt(d)Y!
Lastpass has a cool feature in case of death! If you log in from the website there’s a button on the bottom called “Emergency Access”. You give them the email address of someone. Then, if that person requests your password they send you an email. If you don’t deny them access within some time period (you get to set that) then the person requesting access will be able to get into your password vault.
In my business, data security for your financial files is very important. I am not allowed to send your private information through email as an unencrypted PDF attachment. After some false starts, we now use ShareFile as a secure portal where we can leave each other documents. You can upload documents to me just by clicking on my permanent link (see below), but for me to leave you documents we’ll need to set you up with your own folder in ShareFile. It’s super easy: I’ve bought enough licenses for all my current clients so just ask. I’ll send you an email invitation with a temporary link. You login with your email address and then you’ll pick your own password.
I use two generic Sharefile Portals for people who don’t yet have their own folders (or just want to use the link they see handy):
Posted November, 2016 by Wendy Marsden, CPA, CFP®, Updated November, 2017.