The Planner's Perspective: Go Digital!
By Paul Morrone CFP®, CPA, MSA
It’s no secret that email is slowly replacing snail mail and that digital portals, cloud based services and smartphone apps are becoming increasingly relied upon to manage our daily life. While the wave of technology intervention may be resisted by some, the fact remains that it is here today and it is here to stay. Embracing change can be tough, but the new way forward also has benefits that the old paper and pencil will never be able to offer. Making a few tweaks and buying into the digital lifestyle can help provide you with a level of clarity that stacks of statements and ticker tape can’t even try to replicate. Ironically, going digital may even have a financial benefit, too. Many companies offer incentives for their customers to go paperless by way of reducing or eliminating monthly maintenance fees (especially in the banking world).
Email and social media aside, there are a few very simple things you can do to jump on the digital train and make the leap online. Even if you’ve already set a lot of things up in the past, it may not be terribly difficult to revamp your online profile to simplify your life a bit.
Consistency – pick and email/user name combination that (username: johndoe email: email@example.com) is easy to remember.
Strong Passwords – Passwords are the key to maintaining your online profiles secure, and it is a best practice to make them as secure as possibly. A strong password does not include your name and is comprised of both upper and lowercase letters, numbers and even special characters (@#$%^&). Remember, you will always have the option to use the ‘Forgot Password’ link if you get into a pinch.
Inventory Everything – It’s a terrible feeling to have a credit card number stolen, a bank account compromised or an email address hacked, but knowing how to quickly remediate everything will eliminate the proverbial Easter egg hunt that creates much of the stress from any of these events. Think of all the things in your life that are broken down into a series of monthly payments, many of which are simply charged to your card or deducted from your account without you even blinking an eye. Keeping an up-to-date list of these items and the associated payment method can help streamline the transition to a new credit card or bank account in the event there needs to be a change.
Keep someone else in the loop –It is all too common that one spouse or business partner handles all of the ‘stuff’ and the other individual(s) simply go along for the ride. However, accidents happen and changes in life occur quickly. Providing another responsible party with knowledge of and access to your inventory can help keep the lights on during times of crisis as access to this data may help provide a snapshot of some of the day-to-day things that they have to address. It may also be wise to include a provision in your durable power of attorney granting your agent access to your digital records in case of your incapacity.
Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.