April 20, 2021

Password Managers

I have been using the password manager, Lastpass, for 10+ years. Recently I switched to 1Password. Lastpass is still my recommendation for a free password manager and a single user. If you want to save documents, as described later in this article, you will need to purchase the “Premium” version of Lastpass ($3/month for 1 user, or $4/month for a family plan) or 1Password ($3/month for one user, or $5/month for the family plan). Not only does the password manager make it so I only have to remember a single password, I have expanded it to help the family take care of things in case of an emergency. I hope you might be interested in what I have done.

First of all, the password manager. Here are several articles that provide more information on password managers (Wirecutter is one of my go-to sites for finding recommendations on all kinds of things; Consumer Reports, you’ve heard of them):

I tested and moved to 1Password and their “Family Plan” ($60/year) and migrated all my items from Lastpass. The Family Plan allows up to 5 additional people to share 1Password without having to individually pay. Each family member gets their own private account with the ability to share password and documents, if they want. For example, I have a private area (known as a vault) as well as a shared vault with each member so I can share different information with each member.

I have also created a “Family Shared” vault that all members have access to. This is the folder where I put thing such a Pat & my Wills, Healthcare POAs and Living Wills.

One of the documents I share with the family has instructions on what to do “In Case of an Emergency”. I have included the template for that document. Because of the type of information in this document, I have the family not to print it out. The document also gives them my password to 1Password so they can access all our financial accounts and do their best to delete our on-line presence. I also keep a spreadsheet updated and included that shows our sources of income and most of our expenses. I’ve included the template for that spreadsheet.

Since I started this project for sharing Emergency Information, I have read several articles that provide more information of this aspect of our lives: Get your Digital Accounts Ready in Case of Death and End of Life Planning is a Lifetime Gift to your Loved Ones.

One of the features that helped me decide to switch is 1Password’s ability to integrate 2FA (two-factor authentication) within the application – a separate application is no longer needed. 2FA is an additional security feature some sites offer but I didn’t use because it was tied to my phone and a separate app. Had I used 2FA to login to a given site, someone else would have needed my phone to complete the login. Now if I share the login information through 1Password, anyone I share with can use it.

Another feature in 1Password is “Tags”. I have created tags for each of my credit cards. Then with any login where I pay for a subscription, I tag the login information with the credit card tag. If I ever have to replace the credit card, I can easily find all the sites where I used the particular card to pay for the subscription. This has the potential to save time and frustration if you happen to have a credit cared stolen of expired.

No matter the manager you choose, please check the setting for the program/app. In particular, for 1Password, I recommend: Automatically lock = On, Lock after system idle = x minutes, Lock when device goes to sleep – On, Check for vulnerable passwords = On, Offer to save passwords = On, Show autofill = On, and, if you have 1Password, Watchtower alerts = On (Watchtower keeps track of password breaches and other security problems). With Lastpass, I recommed

The 1Password app seems to work better on iPhones and Androids than Lastpass. Also, I have had fewer problems with 1Password in my browsers.

Pat and I share one account on 1Password, as we did on Lastpass, so we can have access to each others logins. It is easy to tell whose login it is by the name we put on the saved item: for example, SSA (Pat) and SSA (Ray).

If you have been using a Password Manager, and want to move, all of the managers I have looked at make it easy to export, then import, your information. You may have to do some edits in the new manager, but in my experience, these edits are minimal.

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