Tips for Safeguarding Your Online Life
After witnessing my friend’s medical emergency last month, I’ve been thinking a lot about what would happen if something similar happened to me. What if I was incapacitated suddenly in some way and unable to communicate — or worse?
As we age, we learn it’s vital to have “our affairs in order,” which means we usually create a will, living trust, durable power of attorney for finances, and durable power of attorney for health care.
But let’s focus on our online world now.
With statistics clearly showing more and more baby boomers and seniors active online, we need to gather important information about this part of our lives as well. For example, a Nielsen Company survey in 2009 revealed that 51.2% of people ages 65 and older are paying or viewing their bills online, and I presume that number has grown considerably in the past two years.
If you pay your bills online, what happens if you suddenly can’t log on? Do your spouse, adult children or significant other have your usernames, passwords, account numbers, etc. to continue seamlessly where you left off? Is there a hard copy of this information recorded off line to refer to? Does your estate attorney, C.P.A. , banker, trusted friend or advisor have this information handy if needed?
Do You Have A System in Place?
Record in a document and keep up-to-date all URL’s (aka web site addresses), usernames, passwords, other log in information and/or details about the items listed below. Then create a backup of this information both online and off line. I suggest you collect the following for everyone in your immediate family, including your children and your parents, no matter what their ages.
- PayPal accounts
- Online banking account(s)
- Hosting accounts (if you have any web sites)
- Online bills you pay or have auto-deductions set up for
- Facebook, Twitter and/or any other social networks you belong to
- Email accounts
- flickr or other photo storage sites
If you run a business online, I would add the following to your list:
- Domain names you’ve purchased but have not yet developed
- Affiliate accounts for products you sell online (i.e. Commission Junction)
- Clickbank and all shopping cart accounts (i.e. Amazon, eBay)
- Autoresponder accounts and lists
- Business email accounts
Have you given this issue any thought? Is there anything else you would add to these lists? Please leave a comment below.
Photo Credit: kodomut’s photostream