Ok, digital planning might not save the world. But it might help save your retirement.
Next to “saving early”, planning your digital life should be a process that you start sooner rather than later. With each passing year (or minute) more and more of our lives are online in some way, shape or form.
By the year 2030, nearly 132 million Americans age 50 and older will spend upwards of
$84 billion a year on technology products, a new AARP survey projects.
Think about it…if the internet was turned off tomorrow, what would you need to do differently in these areas?
- Paying bills
- Banking accounts
- Retirement accounts
- Memberships or subscriptions
- Email accounts
- Social media accounts
- Online retail accounts
Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t a doomsday article suggesting you plan for the apocalypse. But it is a wakeup call if you have not done any digital planning yet.
But for some of us, it might seem complicated or you might be unsure where to start. So, start with the basics. Remember the riddle…How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!
Simply make a list of EVERY online account that you have. Think through the list above to jog your memory. You likely have multiple bank or retirement accounts. Write them all down. I’ve created a checklist/spreadsheet to help.
Get all the pertinent information that if you had a fire, died or became incapacitated, you could easily have a spouse, beneficiary or trustee gain access to.
That brings up another point for another time…wills and trusts.
Yep, you need one! According to AARP, 42% of baby boomers
do NOT have a will or trust. That is alarming.
(Guess what I’m finalizing this week!?)
Once you have everything written down it will seem more manageable. But there is still the issue of WHERE to store it. Security is an issue with that type of information. Services like LifeLock can help protect your identity if you’re interested. But here are some options to start with.
- Hard copy: You can keep it in a drawer. That way it’s not online for hackers to try and steal. However, a hard copy can get lost or destroyed. Then you’d have to start all over again.
- Digital copy: There are services like Lastpass that assist with protecting your passwords to various accounts and logins. They also have a “vault” where you can securely store account numbers, PIN numbers and other sensitive information. It does require a master password that would need to be known by your spouse or confidant.
- Safety deposit box: These are options for storing high value items or documents. But beware, in the case of your death there might be limitations or other red tape to go through to have someone gain access to it quickly.
- Online storage: Paid services like Everplans and LifeSite tout secure online access to your most important account, document, and personal information.
Regardless, start now and download your “Personal Account Listing” form right here.
Find the best solution that fits your preferences. Any of them are likely better solutions than doing nothing. Making a loved one try and dig up everything that is needed in the event of your death or inability to make your own decisions will have its own consequences.
Digital planning is not just for retirement!
Reading about this is easy. The hard part comes with action. Just get started and don’t overthink it. This is not rocket science, but it does require action. Once you have it organized, share if with your spouse or heirs. You don’t have to divulge dollar amounts if that makes you queasy. But sharing the location of information like this will be extremely helpful.
Side note: it will take some updating from time to time. However, that will be easy if you have the bulk of this in place already. It’s sound planning that will make life easier for you and your family…now and in retirement!
It’s important to organize your digital life. Don’t let chaos be your manager during a difficult time.
Download the Personal Account Listing form and fill it out now.