How many passwords do we use on a regular basis? Doesn’t it feel frustrating trying to remember them all? You’re not alone. According to SplashData, the average person has about 25 different passwords. And that’s just for our online accounts! Even worse is the trouble many families go through in trying to unlock all of the accounts of their loved ones after they have passed.
A password legacy is easy to create, and it will protect your family from the mental and emotional strain of trying to recover your accounts when you are gone.
The problem with remembering passwords
When the internet was first born, it was easy to manage our passwords because we didn’t need many, and when we did they were simple. A lot of people stuck to their name or anniversary, or “123password” for example.
Today, however, the security requirements for passwords are incredibly complicated, and dealing with them can be a challenge. In fact, many platforms now require two-step authentication, which adds an extra layer of complexity by connecting to a combination of methods including email addresses and phone numbers, or even your fingerprint and a PIN number.
Think of it…
- Email address(s)
- Online banking login(s)
- Credit account(s)
- Electricity and utilities
- Mobile phone(s)
- Healthcare login(s)
- Government login(s)
- Instacart and shopping account(s)
- Social media account(s)
- Just to name a few…
Many people use a password manager to remember and load their passwords for them automatically. A few examples of password managers that use a single master password are LastPass, Dashlane, and 1Password. Local website browses often use a passkey manager as well to store passwords as well as credit card information.
But what happens if you lose your master password, or get locked out completely? That’s where a password legacy comes in handy.
Creating a Password Legacy
Your password legacy is your system for preserving all of these credentials, so you have a record when needed – or family members can access them when you are gone. Creating one isn’t hard but it does require thoughtfulness and discipline.
Creating a password legacy is simple and can be done in a few steps.
Create: The first step is to create a list of all your online accounts, including the websites you use, email addresses, and usernames. This may not be as simple as sitting down in a single session and thinking about all of your accounts. This may take a full 30-day cycle, and even then you might find yourself adding new ones later down the road. That’s OK! The most important thing is just to start.
Store: Once you have your list of accounts compiled, it’s time to store them in a secure location. There are several options for this: storing them on paper, in a safe, or putting them all into a password manager and then keeping the master password on paper, in a safe location.
Share: You can also share your passwords with family members or close friends. Going over it with them in person or over the phone will help ensure that everything is understood.
By creating a password legacy, you are ensuring that all of your accounts are easily accessible when needed – and safeguarding yourself from potential problems. Make sure you make a list of all the people who shared access and let each of them also know who else has access. Doing this will ensure that if one key person doesn’t know the password, others can still access it.
Here are a few tips on what to do in creating your legacy:
- Brainstorm all of the websites and apps you use
- Sit down and get as many sites recorded as possible
- Keep core identity information in a safe place in case a password reset or account recovery is needed
- Share the information with more than one person and record who has access
Download the Password Legacy Resource
Download a list of account types where you might have passwords, and a printable password record!