Remember as a kid being asked “What are the Magic Words?” You were probably being reminded by a parent, teacher or grandparent to remember your manners and say “please” or “thank you” right? Or now that we are in February (how did that happen already!?!), you might think of Magic Words appropriately being “I love you.” The Magic Words I encourage you to think about this month as we continue our journey of getting our house in order, financially, also have to do with love, family, and caring about loved ones but in a different way.
As we think about using money as a tool and getting our financial house in order, the room in our financial open house tour this month is the kitchen, where we use all kinds of tools. The kitchen also happens to be the location of one of our favorite ways we show love…sharing meals with family and friends. We often work together in the kitchen using our tools to create favorite foods, with tools and kitchen gadgets that we know right where to find in various spots in the kitchen.
What if you didn’t know where the tools were in the kitchen? We have all been to someone’s home and found ourselves helping with dishes or putting away items after a meal with no idea where anything belongs. How do you help loved ones find things financially when unexpected events strike? One aspect of that is to think about the Magic Words of passwords. Today we are acquiring SO many passwords as we log in for work related software, retail sites, music/entertainment choices, bank/investment/retirement accounts, the list goes on.
I am not an expert in the area of passwords, so my point is not to give you tips on how to create the best and safest passwords. Rather to realize how important they are and to be sure you not only keep track of them securely, but you also remember to set up a contingency plan for when someone else will need to access them on your behalf. You have these tools in your financial toolbox but if no one can access them, they don’t do you any good. If you end up in the hospital unconscious, for example, does your significant other or friend/relative who may need to help temporarily, know where to find the passwords?
Maybe you leave instructions in a sealed envelope in a certain spot in your home and tell the pertinent person where it’s located so he/she knows where to look in the event of an emergency. Or maybe those Magic Word passwords are on your phone, in a hard drive, in a secure folder on your computer, in a booklet in your safe, etc. and you need to think through who and how someone should access that information if needed. Not likely the aspect of love that you had in mind this month to think about, but the Magic of (pass)Words may be just what you should think about before it’s ever needed!