There are days I feel that I have a foot in the world of digital money management, and the other foot firmly planted in old school ways! Recently one of my helpers commented that he didn't even understand WHY people needed checks. Lightbulb moment for me - I do use online and mobile banking, but write checks as well. I can't envision not having checks, and the younger generation can't see their purpose.
Obviously there is a place for both, and people need to do what is comfortable for them. Not everyone trusts the cloud, and that's OK. Do I think there is still a need to keep 7 years worth of bank statements? Not really. I don't keep any - and I'm OK with that!
The key, in my opinion, to digital financial management, is an excellent password keeper system. Literally every site we log on to requires a password, and if you're dealing with finances you want it to be secure (so please, don't use the same password for everything!). For joint accounts and families we need a way to share passwords. Most of us just need a way to REMEMBER passwords (OK, maybe it's just me....I NEED help remembering!) to keep us from getting frustrated trying to log in to our accounts.
An "old school" solution is a password book - a small spiral notebook perhaps, or a book specifically for recording passwords. There are also downloadable sheets like these watercolor art ones from Etsy as well as many free ones.
A higher tech password keeper is LastPass, or other similar "in the cloud" solutions. I've been using LastPass personally and professionally for 3 years (and no, I don't receive any royalties from suggesting it to you!). Pros are that it is accessible from whatever device I'm on, including mobile, and I am able to share log ins with other LastPass users (essential when collaborating on finances with spouses and college-aged adult children).
Most password manager programs will also automatically save websites and logins, as well as generate secure, unique logins. Cons are, well, in my world I can only think of one - if you forget your MAIN password to get into the manager. Then you are truly S-O-L if you haven't written it down somewhere! My suggestion would be to share that password with someone you'd trust with your life - this is the person I would assume will be managing one's affairs after a death.
A hybrid approach, with a foot in each world, would be something like an Excel spreadsheet or Google doc. A shared access Excel file with all of the accounts and passwords and answers to secret questions, etc. Everything is in one spot for whomever needs it.
Do you use digital banking services? What helped you make the switch? I'd love to hear your comments and experiences!
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Tammy Schotzko is a Certified Professional Organizer who