There’s a lot of advice offered on what to do to create strong passwords. Knowing what not to do is just as important. In a recent article for FINRA.org, Kaitlyn Kieran offers password protection tips on what to avoid. Here’s a summary of three critical things to avoid.
- Steer clear of passwords containing easily-found information. A strong password does not contain elements found in your social media accounts. “If you constantly post about your dog, Fluffy, don’t make your password Fluffy_Lv3r,” Kiernan stresses. Also consider context. While H@rRy*P0tt3r is generally a strong password (because it includes a good mix of upper- and lower-case letters, characters and numbers), it’s a terrible password if you’re a member of a Harry Potter fan club or post quizzes to your page like, “What Hogwarts house would you be sorted into?”
- Avoid using the same password for multiple accounts. “You might think a security breach at, say, LinkedIn doesn’t matter – they have your resume, so what?” Kieran writes. “But if you use the same password, or even a similar one, for LinkedIn as you do for your bank account or Facebook or any number of other applications, a hacker can soon find a way to wreak havoc in your financial and personal life.”
- Pass on the option to link accounts. When you are new to a website and it says you can create a new account or log in using your Facebook, Google or email account, create the new account instead. While linking accounts is quick and easy, that convenience comes at cost. Linked accounts often share private data (whether you realize it or not), which can make identity theft easier. And, allowing one account to have access to others means that if the least secure account is hacked, the rest could also be compromised.
Many people dream about suddenly getting a large sum of money. You win the lottery. Perhaps you receive a significant inheritance. But few think about how they will handle the responsibility of their newfound wealth. Lupe Camargo recalls a young woman who came to her for help. The woman had not handled money well in the past and feared she would make poor choices with a recent inheritance. They discussed small steps she could take to make positive life changes that would have lasting impact on her finances and her family’s well-being.
In this moving, five-minute video, Lupe shares the impact this experience had in her own life and career, as well.
Subscription services are everywhere – from streaming on our electronics to groceries at our doorsteps. They’re convenient. They give us stuff we want, usually with a free trial. Who doesn’t like free? Of course, there is a price of free trial subscriptions. Because a credit or debit card is required to sign up, Americans lose a surprising amount of money to free trials. That’s the hook.
“[It’s] convenient if you actually enjoy the service and plan on using it again in the future,” said Courtney Moore in a recent report for Fox Business. “But a number of Americans get trapped and lose money to auto-renewing subscriptions when these trials expire.”
About 46 percent of us subscribe to at least one online streaming-media service (i.e. Netflix, Hulu, Sling), according to consulting firm McKinsey & Company. About 15 percent of online shoppers subscribed to an e-commerce service in the past year, mainly subscription boxes (i.e. Ipsy, Dollar Shave Club, BarkBox); 35 percent have three or more. The monthly fee for popular subscription services is about $10 or less, which seems reasonable (by design). But that adds up over time and with multiple services. People get busy and often forget to cancel the subscriptions they no longer use. When they do remember, the process for cancellation can be cumbersome or even deceptive.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns: Some dishonest businesses make it tough to cancel, hiding the terms and conditions of their offers in teensy type, using pre-checked sign-up boxes as the default setting, and putting conditions on returns/cancellations that are so strict it could be next to impossible to stop deliveries and billing.
A recent Bankrate report found that nearly 60 percent of consumers had been charged against their wishes for a subscription service. If you’ve been wrongly charged, or if a provider refuses to cancel your subscription, report it to the FTC and file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.
Grandparents often want to assist their grandchild with college. But they don’t know the best ways to help. In this brief video, Jim Mailliard talks about grandparents and 529 education savings accounts.
These investment vehicles are state-sponsored college savings plans. They invest money on behalf of participants, much like mutual funds invest shareholder money. Earnings grow tax-deferred, and withdrawals can be used for a variety of qualified education expenses.