Creating Passwords

Features of a Strong Password:

  • Make it lengthy. Passwords should be 8 or more characters. Every additional character increases the protection.
  • Combine letters, numbers and symbols.
  • Use words or phrases that are easy to remember.

How to create a Strong Password in 4 easy steps:

  • Think of a sentence that you can remember. Use a memorable sentence, such as “I was twenty five when I was married in November”
  • Check if the computer or online system supports the pass phrase directly. If you can use a pass phrase with spaces between characters, do so.
  • If the computer or online system does not support pass phrases, convert it into a password. Take the first letter of each word of the phrase and create a new nonsensical word. Using the example above, the password is: “iwtfwiwmin”.
  • Add complexity. Mix uppercase and lowercase letters and numbers, use special characters. It is also valuable to misspell words and use some letter swapping. For example, the pass phrase above maybe, “1 was 20 Five when 1 w#s m#33ied in N0v@mbr” This might yield a password like “1w20Fw1wmi&”.

Test your Password

This article is based on information located on the Microsoft website. In addition Microsoft provides a non-recording feature to help determine your password’s strength www.microsoft.com/protect/yourself/password/checker.mspx.

Documenting your Password

The dilemma we all face is whether or not we should keep a written record of our passwords. Ask yourself the following question, if something happened to me, would my executor need my password(s) to take care of my affairs? If a written record of your passwords is required, place the document with your passwords in a sealed envelope and store them in your Vital Records PortaVault. Be sure to inform your executor of this document as well as the location of your PortaVault.

Product Update

The Vital Record PortaVault includes four Family Communication Plan cards. These cards provide a place to write contact phone numbers and meeting places. The card can be folded in half, making it the size of a credit card so it is easily stored in a wallet. Consider laminating the card to preserve the information and to minimize the risk of your child losing the card, punch a hole in the laminated card and pin it inside your child’s backpack.

Taking a Home Inventory

Taking a Home Inventory

Do you dread the thought of creating an inventory and documenting the personal possessions you own? You are not alone. Only 37% of homeowners who live in hurricane-prone areas have completed this task, according to a survey by the Insurance Information Institute.

Why is it so important to have an up-to-date inventory of personal possessions?

  • It assists when determining the proper amount of insurance coverage to purchase.
  • It helps get your insurance claims settled faster.
  • Provides documentation to substantiate losses claimed for income tax purposes.

What should an inventory include?

  • A description of the item, the date it was acquired, its cost and serial numbers.
  • A photograph or videotape of your personal possessions, stored on a CD/DVD.

Where should I store the inventory and photographs?

  • Multiple copies of the inventory and the CD/DVD should be created.
  • File one copy in a safe place.
  • Give one copy to a family member or trusted advisor.
  • Also consider keeping a copy at your place of employment in a locked cabinet or a safe deposit box.

The Vital Records PortaVault includes User Tips and Helpful hints.

  • The PortaVault provides guidance and forms for taking a personal property inventory.
  • We tell you where to get free software to use in taking an inventory.
  • Our tips help your review your insurance coverage, a good thing to do once your inventory has been completed.

Emergency Preparedness on a Budget

Written by Darrell J. Madden, Director Ready Campaign incorporating suggestions for budget preparedness from the 2009 Ready Colorado Campaign.

Who isn’t pinching pennies these days? In fact, many of us have been putting things off in order to save money. One thing you shouldn’t put off is becoming prepared for emergencies and disasters. As difficult as it may be financially, it’s something you just can’t turn away from.

September is National Preparedness Month, and in consideration of the many of us who are tightly budgeting  our dollars, here are a few tips to save money and still be Ready.

Plan for the types of disasters that can happen in the area where you live. If you live in the north or in the mountains, you may need to plan for snowstorms, but if you live along the coast, hurricanes are most likely to affect you.

Create your personalized Ready list. You may not need everything in ready-made kits. Choose the essentials to fit your needs. Don’t forget to keep supplies at work and in your car.

Shop sales and used goods stores. Buy preparedness items throughout the year and you won’t notice the cost as much.

Store water in safe, containers. You don’t need to buy expensive bottled water, just make sure your water containers are disinfected and airtight.

Request preparedness items as a gift. We all get things we don’t need. Suggest preparedness supplies as gifts from your friends and family. It just might save your life.

Think ahead. Don’t buy preparedness items just before a storm when they’re expensive and supplies will be in high demand. Buy items at the end of the season when you can get good deals.

Review your insurance policy annually and make any necessary changes-renters, too! When a disaster strikes, you want to know that your coverage will get you back on your feet.

Update contact records. Having accurate records for family, friends and neighbors will help you stay in contact and possibly help those in need.

Trade one night out to fund your 72-hour kit. Taking a family of four to the movies can cost upwards of $80. Just one night staying in could fund your Ready kit.

Above all, start now, take small steps, and before you know it, you will be Ready!