Write or Print out Your Usernames, Passcodes, PINs, and Security Questions and Answers – Healthy Habit #18

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Passcode keepers and your browsers’ ability to save access codes are time savers. However, should you have a shared household, need to step in and help someone, or have someone step in and help you – without this information the inability to access your online accounts can be a huge roadblock.

I know we have been told NOT to write down this information for years; I get that for employers who have IT departments who can reset your access. At home, we don’t have that system and having this written down will save you time and frustration.

How many times has your answer to your own Security Question been rejected? Every time I do a public speech on What to Save and What to Shred, this question always gets an uncomfortable laugh as half the room raises their hand to admit this has happened to them.

Have you ever needed to contact your phone provider or the power company and the account is in the name of your partner, roommate, or spouse?  If so, you will know that you will be unable to make changes or service specific account needs if the person to whom the account is titled is not on the call with you. For the variety of accounts that fall into this category, I learned long ago to login as the owner of the account and handle our service needs in the portal. Saves ME time and allows both me and my spouse to fill in for each other should we be traveling or unavailable.

I have a book that my husband and kids are familiar with that includes all of my usernames, passcodes, security questions/answers, and PINs. I use the book every week to quickly look up or update my online accounts. The average consumer has 90 online accounts, and as a business owner, I have closer to 150 accounts.

My husband and kids also have documented and shared their information in case I ever need to step in and help them. For my kids I told them to put it in a sealed envelope I would only open in an emergency. It was an easy ask since they knew I had already provided them with an option to access my accounts. Parents have no online access rights to their children’s accounts.

The good password keepers have an option to print out a summary and I hope you will do that. In many cases, I have families that have shared this information in a document on their computer only to find out that no one knows the passcode to get into the computer. So I just recommend you have one option be paper access that can be stored in a safe or even hidden in plain site.

I guarantee having this will save you time and angst and be a huge help to those that may need to access your shared accounts when you are not home, or provide them with the keys to your digital legacy should they want to protect it and you are unable to do so. Advised.

Review Your Credit Card Charges Every Month – Healthy Habit 16

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Credit card fraud where a card is not present for the transaction was $4.57 billion in 2016 and increasing every year. Cyber pickpockets have made checking your statement monthly a necessity of being a credit card holder. I have set up an alert on my card so that every time it is used, I get a text notice.

The nonprofit Merchant Risk Council estimates that 80 percent of credit cards in people’s wallets have been compromised.  From a skimmer at the gas station to malware on a merchant card site to the data breach at Equifax – assume your card information has been exposed to criminals.

In the past few years, I have been able to save clients thousands of dollars in the first few months by just reviewing their past credit card statements. From monthly charges for services they don’t recognize or use, to purchases they never made but never reported. I shiver at the suggestion of setting up a credit card on an automated payment plan.

That automated system continues to roll and too often no one is minding the store. No matter what your financial resources, most of us would be upset to know we are paying for things we don’t use or never received. Warned.

Don’t Answer Calls You Don’t Recognize – Healthy Habit #4

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Yeah. I am suggesting this is a habit you form now so that you don’t find yourself answering a phone when you are hanging at home alone in your retirement.

Many of us already have developed this habit because we know how many of the calls that look local are just cloaked telemarketers selling us an extended warranty on a car, offering us a loan, or threatening police action if we don’t return their call immediately.

However, for the adults I work with who are aging in place and often live alone, the ringing phone is a siren call and they immediately jump up to answer it even if they are in the middle of a conversation.

Legitimate callers trying to reach you will leave a message so you can decide if you want to call them back.

For those of you assisting a loved one, I recommend you implement a call screening service like NoMoRobo. It won’t catch them all, so you can also put some reminders by the phone that I offered in my earlier post on The Allure of a Ringing Phone.

These aren’t all hard habits to form, but what you do now can last you a lifetime.  Proposed.