During our 10th PCS (Military acronym for Permanent Change of Station; aka military move), it was my job to set up all the new utilities, sign up for the schools, and register for doctors, dentists, and other services. I must have created a dozen new accounts complete with usernames and passwords. I did what a lot of people probably do and used the same username and password throughout my accounts. In fact, Google’s password manager said I had 105 reused passwords! I needed a better, more secure solution. I began to recognize why military families need password managers.
Why use a Password Manager
Before this last move, my husband had set up an account on a password manager. So we had one, but I was not in the habit of using it. Begrudgingly, I have forced myself to start using it too. There is no way one person can remember 100s of SECURE passwords! Now, when asked to create a new username and password I use a strong password generator. and voila! My app automatically remembers and stores that password. It’s easier, more secure, and I’m saving time by not using the “Forgot Password” process every time. To make sure you are not making these top 5 password mistakes, check out my article here.
Password Managers for Military Families
So why are password managers perfect for military families? During my husband’s last deployment, our password manager was a life and time saver. I could manage all of our accounts set up under his name and vice versa. We didn’t have to waste time or send insecure information back and forth through email or WhatsApp. Additionally, we have found that while traveling or PCSing a password manager makes it quick and easy to log into Netflix or access accounts if we have to use different computers. Again, the sheer number of new accounts and platforms that military families have to manage with each PCS makes it worth the nominal fees of some of these programs. Since I started using a password manager, I now have peace of mind. I am less likely to be hacked due to insecure, easy to guess, or reused passwords.
Best Password Managers
There are an array of password managers and solutions out there varying from free to costly. I personally have used two that I am going to recommend,( Last Pass and Keeper) but there are so many on the market. According to this article from safetydetectives.com (which gets way more technical that I will!) these are the top 5 password managers for families. I have used both Last Pass and Keeper and love how they are easy to use. Both password managers can automatically save your passwords while you are navigating through different websites on your computer or phone. [Note: I am not affiliated with any of these companies, but I would not recommend them if I didn’t think they were a helpful organizational tool!] I think both of these tools have the ability to go way more in depth than how I use them. However, they are simple enough for me to use quickly. If I can learn it, so can you!
In conclusion, if you are like I was and are still not using “secure” passwords, or are using the same password in multiple sites, or are still wasting hours of your life using the “forgot password” method, GO DOWNLOAD A PASSWORD MANAGER IMMEDIATELY! Using the password manager habitually does take a little bit of time. But, you will feel so much more secure once you do. For military families, a password manager can be an invaluable tool during deployments, PCS moves or in the case of an emergency. Download my free Password Checklist here and read about the Top 7 Passwords that you should write down here.
Also from the blog: My 5 Biggest Password Mistakes!, & 7 Day Digital Declutter Challenge, and 3 Organizing Challenges for Military Spouses.
I never thought about it, but it is important for a military family to use a password manager – may be more than other people. I haven’t moved in a long time, so haven’t changed utility companies, etc.
I’m sure using a PM makes moving a little bit easier for you.
I recommend password managers to everyone (and though I can’t say I *love* it, I’m pretty satisfied with the free version of LastPass. (I use a belt-and-suspenders approach, and so I also use Apple’s Keychain). I’d never considered how such digital password managers would be even more useful for people who move frequently, such as military families, but also locum tenen healthcare workers and clergy, digital nomads, and just folks who transfer for their jobs. Great advice!