The Secret to Protecting Your Family's Financial Security Online

Can you keep a secret? I hope not"¦ this secret is so powerful that I want you to share it with the world.

The secret is that strong, unique passwords are the first line of defense when protecting your family's financial security online, and making super-strong, super-easy-to-remember passwords is easier than you think. Here's my secret password recipe:

  1. Think of something you love! Is it your kids? Your religion? Your sport? Or your hobby? Make sure it's something you're wild about.
  2. When you enter a new password, think about your favorite things. Think of a book, a movie, or a song that goes with whatever your favorite thing is. For example, if you're crazy about your two-year old, and you're entering a password for their new college savings plan, maybe it's a nursery rhyme like "Jack & Jill".
  3. Sing it or say it out loud to yourself. "Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water."
  4. Use the first letter of the words in the phrase to create your password, like this"¦ "jajwuthtfapow".
  5. Beef up the security. If you need special characters and numbers and capitalization, change it up a little, like this, "J&Jwuth2fapow." If you need a longer or stronger password, include more of the song or phrase, like "J&Jwuth2fapow.Jfd&bhc&Jcta." (That's, "Jack fell down and broke his crown and Jill came tumbling after."
  6. Give yourself a clue. To help yourself remember your password, write down a hint. For example, you could write "Oregon College Savings Plan: Timor's favorite nursery rhyme including punctuation"

A Few More Password Pointers

  • Longer is better. A password with 10 characters is 300x stronger than one with 8 characters.
  • If you must re-use passwords because you can't remember them, make sure to use a unique password for your email and bank accounts.
  • If you can only remember one password, get yourself a password manager like LastPass (www.lastpass.com) or RoboForm (www.roboform.com).
  • If you use your phone or laptop to unlock important accounts, password protect your devices too.

I have other tips to keep your family's finances secure, so if you've got a question, feel free to contact me.