How many times a day do you enter a password or a PIN? It adds up, doesn’t it? In the first few minutes of my work day, I have typically logged into my work account, my personal e-mail, Twitter, and our HR page. That’s four different passwords. Then if I want to blog or check my bank balance, those are two more passwords. Then there’s my work voicemail and my personal voicemail. Eight passwords. And those are just basic everyday things.
Did you note that I mentioned eight passwords? That’s right, different passwords for different things. And they are all different. And they’re all fairly complex too. How do I remember all those passwords? Easy. It’s all a trick.
Let’s say my office password is !swhFtm1. (It’s not.) It fits all the password requirements. Numbers, capital and lowercase letters, plus a punctuation mark. It doesn’t look like any word I’ve ever seen. So how in the world am I supposed to remember that?
Easy. It’s a song lyric. “She works hard for the money…” (sing along, everyone!). Suddenly, it’s a lot easier to remember. And if I want, when I have to change this password (ours have to change every 90 days), I can just make one easy change. !swhFtm2, perhaps. Or #swhFtm1. Or I can go wild and make it Swhft$1. Random. Easy to remember and hard to guess.
All you have to do is pick a phrase you will remember. Maybe it’s a song lyric. Maybe it’s a poem. Maybe it’s your favorite phrase. Anything works.
Another easy tip is to pick a single phrase to use for all websites, but then alter the password just slightly for each website. So maybe your phrase is “Oh when the saints go marching in,” so your base password is Owtsgmi1! (getting in all the requirements for a solid password). Then perhaps for Twitter, the password becomes Owtsgmi1!tw, or for Hotmail, it’s Owtsgmi1!hm. Using similar passwords might mean your password is less secure, so that’s a decision you will have to make for yourself. It’s definitely better than using “mydogisfluffy” for all your passwords.
Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.