Happiness Hack | Use A Password Manager
Hate all those online usernames and passwords? Check out this trick to save you tons of time and headache managing all your online passwords without sacrificing security. Seriously the best!
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Do you use the same username and password for all your accounts online to make it easier to remember all the sign-in information? With very sophisticated hackers around the world happy to steal your personal and financial data, that’s pretty risky. But I’ve got a solution for you (a good one!)
Maybe, like me, you use different usernames and passwords. But now you have usernames and passwords written down everywhere, emailed to yourself, scattered in your brain, and sprinkled across your computer.
That definitely used to be me. I scrambled to find old passwords and never remembered when I had to change them.
I can’t count the number of times I sat down at my computer intending to be productive only to get hung up forgetting usernames, entering incorrect passwords, resetting passwords, waiting for emails to allow me to reset passwords, and then finally making it into whatever online account I was trying to access.
All the while, I’m throwing a fit and beyond frustrated that this happens Every. Single. Time!
Worst of all, it has a circular cause and effect. With each forgotten password, I set a new password to access my account. When I can’t log on next time, I reset my password again. And I’m back to not knowing which one is right next time. What a mess.
I have a solution!
Use A Password Vault Application
If you’re not already using a password vault application, I can’t recommend it enough. It’s such a simple life hack that reduces so much stress for me.
A password vault or password manager is an application you can access online (via a computer, tablet, or phone) that stores all your usernames and passwords in one place under a master password. In other words, you remember one unique password to enter the application and then have access to all your usernames and passwords, sorted by site and name, within the application.
Furthermore, when you’re logged into the password manager on your device, it automatically logs you into a website when you visit. It’s one less step to input the username and password as you’re doing all the things online.
Dashlane & LastPass Password Managers
There are several password application programs. Two of the most widely-used are Dashlane and LastPass. I have been using Dashlane for over five years without an issue. I can’t recommend it enough. LastPass also receives great reviews, so I don’t think you can go wrong with either of them.
There are many reviews online that compare the two password managers. In short, it seems that LastPass is slightly better on a desktop, is better for business, and is a bit more affordable. Dashlane is better on mobile, has slightly better support, and is a bit more expensive (but comes with marginally more features).
Both offer family sharing plans, though reviews indicate that Dashlane has a slightly better family sharing program and is a bit more non-tech friendly. Dashlane also has a nice automatic password changer feature that can change your passwords periodically for security best practices.
Because I started using Dashlane, it’s been great for me, and it’s a hassle to switch to a new program, I can personally vouch for Dashlane as a great option. I haven’t used LastPass, so I can’t vouch for it personally. But I know others who use LastPass and love it as well.
Dashlane Protects My Passwords Better Than Me
I suspect some of you are freaking out, thinking it’s crazy that I would pass along all of my usernames and passwords to one company and store it online.
But really, I don’t think it’s crazy at all.
On a side note, if you’re worried about data privacy, rest assured that Google, Amazon, and Facebook (now Meta) have way more personal information about you than a password manager ever will. If you’re concerned about personal data sharing, start with those companies.
Beyond just making password management a million times easier, Dashlane (or LastPass) is working much harder than I am to protect my passwords. Dashlane hasn’t had a security breach since starting the business over ten years ago. They offer a deep dive into their security architecture that prevents even them from having access to your usernames and passwords.
If I had a personal IT security handbook, it might read:
- purchase anti-virus software program
- try not to click on dumb links
- put my username and password post-its and notebook in a drawer where they are out of sight, out of mind
That’s about the extent of my processes and procedures to keep my usernames and passwords secure. I’m betting your IT security handbook doesn’t look all that different.
Password managers like Dashlane and LastPass, on the other hand, have multi-million dollar budgets dedicated to the latest in internet security technology. They hire the most advanced experts in the field who are dedicated to ensuring no one hacks into their system. They write white papers on online security architecture.
Where would you place your bets?
Password Managers Are Amazing Tools
I bet once a week I think to myself “I’m so glad I have Dashlane“. I think my husband even appreciates it, now that he regularly asks me to look up random passwords because he knows I have them stored in a password manager and can easily access them.
I sound like a paid advertisement, but I’m not. I just really like it, and it’s made my online experience process so much smoother (not to mention saved me tons of time).
I spend quite a bit of time online whether it be researching, managing my bank accounts or other personal accounts, buying things for our family, or shopping online for myself. (Oh yeah… blogging much?). Having Dashlane automatically log me into every account every time I return to a site requiring a username and password is nothing short of wonderful.
Free vs. Paid Plans
Dashlane has a free version that you can use on one device. However, I pay a small annual fee for an upgraded Premium version that allows me to access my account on multiple devices, store unlimited passwords, and share an account with others in my family. I think the paid plan is worth the cost if it’s in your budget.
That I paid for the additional services indicates just how much I appreciate the ease it brings to my life. As a new customer, you can get your first six months of Premium for free with my referral link, if it sounds like it’s up your alley.
If you have an iron-clad memory that remembers all your various passwords across the web, Dashlane might not be for you. To say I’m impressed is an understatement.
If you remember the same password you use on every single account at every website, Dashlane is definitely for you (because you need to stop using the same password everywhere). Passwords get stolen far too often to fall victim to that expected crime. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. We’re way past “fool me twice”.
If you’re like me and know it’s important to have unique passwords but can’t remember them all, Dashlane (or LastPass) is definitely for you.
If you don’t have a password manager, it’s definitely worth a test run. You can always try it for free and upgrade later if you love it (I bet you will). And it’s well worth the five minutes it takes to get your account in order.
About The Author
Jen Panaro, founder and editor-in-chief of Honestly Modern, is a self-proclaimed composting nerd and an advocate for sustainable living for modern families. In her spare time, she’s a serial library book borrower, a messy gardener, and a mom of two boys who spends a lot of time in hockey rinks and on baseball fields.
You can find more of her work at Raising Global Kidizens, an online space to help parents and caregivers raise the next generation of responsible global citizens.