I need to get organized! I was paying bills this weekend and did some other financial work and I struggled to remember passwords for the various accounts I need to log onto. My main bank account is easy to remember because I check it often and I can pay most of my bills through my bank’s portal. But I also have brokerage and investment accounts, insurance, credit cards, cell phones, etc. It is a hassle trying to keep everything organized and remember each site’s URL, screen logon, password, etc. Especially when each site has a different password requirement, forces you to change your password on a regular basis, etc.
My goal for the coming month is to organize all of our logon information so either my wife or I can easily step in and take care of any financial situation as it happens – without struggling to get the information necessary to do so.
It is important for both of us to be able to access all of our accounts in the event of an emergency. If something happened to me, I would want my wife to be able to handle everything from a financial standpoint, and not have to go through lawyers or other hassles to get the account information.
Here is the account information I plan on gathering:
- Account Name (bank, credit card, etc.)
- Name on account
- Account number
- Website URL, screen name, password
- Phone numbers
- Due dates (if a regular bill),
- any other specific information.
Here are the financial accounts I plan on adding:
- Bank Accounts – We have a joint account and individual accounts at the same bank, plus I have an account with Capital One 360 and a business bank account.
- Brokerage and Investment Accounts – We have our IRAs through our bank, and we each have a TSP account (government version of a 401k), I have a 401(k) through my day job, a Solo 401(k) for my small business, and I have accounts through Vanguard and ShareBuilder.
- Credit Cards – we have them through our bank and a couple others.
- Mortgage information
- Insurance – Homeowner’s, auto, and health
- Prosper (Prosper review)
- Lending Club (Lending Club review)
- Paycheck website – my company publishes our paycheck stubs on-line
- Utilities – cable/internet, sanitation, water, gas, electricity, etc.
- Other accounts and/or debts
- Social Security Numbers – for all family members
- Automobile information – VIN, License plate number
- Titles and deeds – cars, property, etc; where they are located and other necessary info
- Driver’s license number – expiration date
- Medical contact info – doctors, dentists, etc.
- Cell phone – account number, logon, password, voice mail password, etc.
- Small Business – website info, logons, passwords, advertisers, etc.
- Airline miles and various rewards programs
- Ebates – A website to save money with on-line purchases (Ebates review – free bonus for new accounts)
- E-mail accounts – personal and professional
- Other account information
How to secure financial account information
I realize there is a lot of sensitive information in this list – enough to be any identity thief’s dream come true if he got a copy of this list. That is why I plan on encrypting it. I have read about a piece of free software called KeePass, which is designed to do just this. My wife and I would share a password and all the data contained in our list would be secured by that password. We can also carry it on a USB drive, or upload it to a computer server so we can access it from wherever we are.
I admit, I have not used KeePass yet; this is on my to-do list. So while I can’t give it a full recommendation until I have tried it out, this does look promising. If anyone has information about KeePass or similar software, I welcome you to leave it in the comment section. Also, if you think there is anything I missed on the list of items I plan on tracking, feel free to leave that in the comments section as well. I will add it to this list.
Here are several other personal finance bloggers who wrote about similar topics and inspired me to get organized:
- Personal Finance Users Guide – Blueprint for Financial Prosperity
- Are You In The (Financial) Loop? – Clever Dude