How to Create Easy to Remember Master Password That Is Also Strong

When it comes to creating a strong master password, the common suggestion is to pick 5 or more diceware words.

While using random diceware words is a great idea; it’s not the best for memorizing. If you can’t remember your master password, what good is it anyway?

I have come up with a solution that I feel is way better for the average person. This solution also works well in other factors you’re not even thinking about.

Note: This is for creating a master password used for a password manager. I don’t recommend doing this for every password; It’s better to use a password manager to generate random passwords for the other passwords.

How to Create an Easy to Remember Master Password

Pick 4 or More Questions

To create a master password, you need to come up with 4 or more questions.

The magic of this relies on the questions you pick. You want to avoid easy to guess security questions like the ones your bank or other websites use.

The questions that work best are based on your obscured life events. Maybe you got fired from a job for wearing white socks; the question would be “what did I get fired for.” The crazier the question from your life the better.

It can be hard coming up with these questions off the top of your head, so that is why I have some listed below. Feel free to use them or make changes. For the best results use at least one question you came up with.

  1. Where you met your spouse
  2. Something embarrassing you did (GluedFingers)
  3. The one restaurant you or someone you know hates
  4. Wedding anniversary (6/15/79)
  5. Name of stuffed animal or imaginary friend 
  6. Name of the painting in your living room or object in the painting 
  7. The serial number of a dollar bill
  8. The time now or the exact time it takes to commute (2:53PM)
  9. Childhood pets name
  10. License plate number or Drivers License Number
  11. Your child or spouses nickname
  12. Your 3rd favorite twitter person (@snubs)
  13. The teacher you loved/hated
  14. Favorite emoji (volcano)
  15. Oldest/youngest siblings middle name
  16. Grandfathers middle/first name
  17. Your 3rd favorite website URL (cnn.com)
  18. Grandmother middle or first name
  19. Favorite TV show episode (MoneyBart)
  20. Health insurance number
  21. One random diceware word – why not? Could use it as a separator for the other answers
  22. Yours/spouse/kids favorite food
  23. How much your favorite food/drink cost ($7.69)
  24. The URL of where you pay your electric bill
  25. The name of the person who saved your life
  26. Your mortgage/car payment ($469)
  27. How many calories or sodium your favorite snack has (370mg)
  28. The whole or part of the UPC code for your favorite snack (017082890061)
  29. The longitude or latitude of your favorite place (48.8583)
  30. Something spontaneous you did (Jump out of Plane)
  31. Where was your first kiss
  32. Name of the pill you take
  33. That one thing your coworker does to piss you off (SmellyFeet)
  34. Name of the place where your wedding reception was held
  35. Where were you when you heard about 911
  36. The model number for the shoes you like to wear
  37. Serial number to your watch
  38. Last 5 digits of your credit card
  39. If money was not needed what job would you do? (Fireman)
  40. Favorite chapter name from your favorite book 
  41. The name of the person you hate the most
  42. Pick a random object from your favorite show (Blue drum)
  43. Pick a random word from a random website.  
  44. Your current weight or goal weight (169.2)
  45. Your height multiplied by the month you’re born in (66 in * 7 = 462)
  46. Favorite podcast episode 
  47. 2nd favorite YouTube video title
  48. The current stock price of a random company or your worse performing in portfolio (95.19)
  49. The 3rd person to the right of you last name in your graduation class
  50. Random product in your home (Clorox)
  51. Last 5 digits of your computer or phone’s serial number 
  52. 3rd ingredient to your favorite food (Rice Flour)
  53. Serial number to your washing machine 
  54. The ink cartridge model number your printer uses
  55. How much space is currently available at the moment on your computer or phone (23.4GB)
  56. Name of the 5th most used app on your phone. (Use screen time app to figure it out)
  57. 2nd word of the last text message you got 
  58. The 6th word in the body of an email you received from someone who has now passed away.
  59. Name of a store you or someone you know hates or loves
  60. The random username you use on a site (mr.pickles12)
  61. What part of your body do you hate
  62. The name or model of your fridge or other big appliance in your home 
  63. The name of your 3rd favorite YouTuber
  64. Your favorite book, 14th page, the third word from the top left 
  65. Pick a random city you’ll never go to 
  66. Use the local fast-food store number. You often find these on the credit card or bank statement line after you bought something from them (TacoBell#6789)

Write Down The Questions

Write down 4 or more questions like so.

  1. Favorite podcast
  2. What part of your body do you hate
  3. Wedding anniversary
  4. Your mortgage/car payment

Then answer those questions.

  1. Favorite podcast = GOG
  2. What part of your body do you hate = back
  3. Wedding anniversary = 06/05/1995
  4. Your mortgage/car payment = $378

Combine the answers. Use a space or any character(s) to separate the answers.

GOG.back.06/05/1995.$378

What you have created is not only a strong master password but something easy to remember too.

Feel free to use as many questions as you want. I would not go lower than 4.

More Examples

  1. Serial number to your watch = FD384OP
  2. Something embarrassing you did = GluedFingers
  3. Childhood pets name = Spot
  4. The 3rd person to the right of you last name in your graduation class = Brown

FD384OP,GluedFingers,Spot,Brown

  1. That one thing your coworker does to piss you off = late
  2. How many calories or sodium your favorite snack has = 370mg
  3. Favorite emoji = eggplant
  4. Name of stuffed animal or imaginary friend = fluffy

lateFROG370mgFROGeggplantFROGfluffy

This last one used the word “FROG” as a separator. Feel free to use other words like this or any other character to separate the answers. There is no wrong way to go about this; just don’t overdo it.

It’s Okay to Write down Your Master Password

It’s okay to write down your master password. I’ve seen way too many people forget their master password to their password manager and get locked out.

With this method of creating a master password, it allows you to write down your master password in confidence.

Write the questions down on a piece of paper that you keep in a fireproof safe or anywhere that you trust. You have the option to include the answers or not (depending on how much you trust your roommate). Since you know the answers, you don’t need to write them down. Maybe leave a hit that the answer is one or two words and what you use to separate the words if you want. Also, make sure you’re aware of what is capitalized or not; go all lower case if you need to.

When in doubt, write down the answers (your master password) and keep the paper somewhere safe like a safe deposit box or fireproof safe.

Emergency Access

Another benefit is that it could be used for loved ones to gain access to your password manager if something were to happen to you.

If you use questions that only people you know will know the answer, you could leave instructions on how to combine the answers to make your master password. You could print this page and keep it with the questions so they can figure it out.

It could even allow or force a group to come together to answer the questions. Maybe your wife only knows the answer to question 3, and your sister knows the answer to question 1. This way, everyone has to come together to unlock the vault and not just one person could do it.

This is where this idea shines. You can come up with questions that are so obscure, only close family or friends would know the answer.

Maybe your sister got her foot stuck in a trash can at Disney Land? The question could be “Where did Beth get her foot stuck on vacation?”

Make sure to be clear on how to piece the answers and don’t be overly complicated. For example, is trash can one or two words – it would be helpful to say which one.

Why This Method Is so Great!

Sure, having a computer pick random words from a predetermined list is fine, but having your password be a word that you would remember is more worth it for the average person.

At the moment, you should not use a diceware password that is less than 5 words long. Some even say to go to 7 or more. It gets to the point where using a diceware word passphrase will be just as hard as using random characters. This is because the word lists are already known and as computers get faster, it gets easier to brute force them.

What is hard to break is pulling from a word list that is every possible word. Not only that but the order you put your random questions in is… well… random. Then you have the option to separate the answers with whatever character or character(s) you want.

Since you’re using a minimum of 4 questions, you get naturally long master passwords – and when it comes to passwords size does matter.

The only downside would be using questions that are easy to guess. Questions like your husbands favorite color, there are only so many colors, and everyone picks blue. Or New Year’s resolutions – everyone wants to lose weight.

This is why it’s important to use questions not many people would pick. Everyone’s family has had those crazy moments like your Aunt got her hair caught on fire or your parents lost you at this or that place. No one in life is so perfect they don’t have some crazy stories that could be used with other questions listed above to make a great master password.

This Is Not Secure Enough!!!

If someone knows your wife’s 3rd favorite movie or how many calories are in your favorite snack or the serial number to your watch I say you have bigger issues to deal with.

These questions are meant to be super personal and very obscure. Combine that with you picking more than 4 of them and using whatever separator you want it makes it hard for some random person on the internet to guess. If someone can guess the answers then you have not picked the right questions.

Need A Password Manager?

Here is our picks for password managers.

1. 1Password - Best all-around.

2. Bitwarden - Best free option.

3. Dashlane - Best for new users as it holds your hands more.

4. KeePassXC - Best free and not in the cloud option.

3 thoughts on “How to Create Easy to Remember Master Password That Is Also Strong”

  1. I have found that using lines from a favorite song or poem works well. I use the first letter of each word and capitalize the letter of the first word and any that begin a new line or phrase. I can say the line to myself as I type each letter. If a mixture of letters and numbers are needed, I add the year date the song or poem has special meaning for me – sometimes splitting the date by putting 20 at the beginning and the 19 at the end.
    Example: “”Mary had a little lamb, Its fleece was white as snow” = 20MhallIfwwas19

    Reply
    • The problem is that most people will use the same song or poem which is not secure at all. There are only so many songs in the world and people often have the same taste in music. If it was a song you wrote or a poem you created this would work but only if you never shared it.

      Reply

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