My mom has found that the only way to remember her important passwords is to write them down. In fact, she treated herself to a new address book this Christmas, and she's transferring her information to the new book. It's a simple system, but it works for her.
What works for you? Many readers have written to say that they keep a file of passwords on their computer, using a Microsoft Word or Excel file. Microsoft Office has a feature that lets users password-protect documents, so you can keep your list on your PC or Mac and know that it's safe from prying eyes. You have to remember one password to open the file.
This is the same concept of password manager apps. You set a master password and then the app inserts the appropriate password where you need it. If you have a Mac, you can use the Notes app. Individual notes can be locked with a password.
Readers also shared that they save a copy of their protected file to a cloud storage service like Apple's iCloud or Dropbox or Google Docs.
In fact, storing your password document on a cloud service is a good idea, because those services require a password to access, so you're getting another layer of protection.
Those services also make your documents available on your smartphone or tablet, so you can access your password file when you're away from your computer.
Since you'll be accessing and updating your list frequently, it's a good idea to put a date in the file name so you'll know you're opening the latest version. This is especially important if you are copying the file to a cloud service. Every time you add or update a password, you should update the date on the file name (Passwords_11_28_2018).
One reader had a great suggestion: Add contact information for your accounts to the list of logins and passwords. That way, if you lose a credit card, you can open the file and find the phone number to call customer service and cancel the card.
As for creating strong passwords that are not hard to remember, some readers shared that they use old phone numbers or an old address or lyrics to favorite songs, along with numbers that were meaningful to them. An example might be JingleAllTheWay22#.
Another reader suggested using an address from your youth, such as 14828Minerva. If a website requires special characters in the password, just put an exclamation point or two at the end.
Strong passwords are important for maintaining your security online. And equally important is making sure you have a reliable system to keep track of them.