If you’re on the fence about getting a password manager give this article a good read.
Some of these reasons may seem obvious, others may come as a surprise. What I can guarantee you is that there will be even more reason to use a password manager that you won’t realize until you get one.
A password manager is one of those things that once you get it you’ll wonder why you didn’t have it a long time ago.
1. List Of All Your Accounts
I want to start with the fact that a password manager will give you a list of all your accounts.
The convenience of having one central location of all your accounts is so easy to overlook because it’s not apparent why this is important.
I don’t know how this happens, but after getting a password manager, I started to realize I had multiple accounts on the same website. It was never my intention to have multiple accounts, but when you don’t have a log of accounts, you end up creating multiple accounts to the same website.
Having multiple accounts can be a real hassle. Things like your Apple account can be a huge issue, especially when you remember buying a movie or subscribing to something and you don’t see it because you’re in the wrong account.
Or a company buys another and merges its data, but you still have to use the old logins. Microsoft is terrible about this one. Somehow you end up with an account to your Windows Login, Xbox Live, Skype, LinkedIn and so on.
Being able to organize all this information into a central location you trust is super helpful.
2. Breached Or Not?
Continuing with having a list of all the accounts, this is super helpful if you need to know if you have an account with a website that was breached.
You often hear about websites getting breached before the site itself knows.
With twitter and even the local news pointing out a possible breach, it’s nice to be able to look in your password manager to make sure you’re not apart of that breach.
Some password managers like 1Password will warn you that you may be in a breach, and you should change your password.
Without a password manager, are you really going to research or know if you have an account? Most people don’t realize how many passwords they have, I thought I had 30 total but after getting a password manager I soon realized I had over 300. It’s easy to forget accounts and unless you have a list of them all you won’t know for sure if you have an account without a lot of effort.
3. Why Did You Sign Up?
Being able to write in the note section of my password manager why I created this account has turned out to be very helpful for me lately.
You would think seeing the username or URL of the site would be enough, but some websites will surprise you.
I can give you an example. For some reason, I signed up for a McDonald’s giveaway, but they used a URL not relating to McDonald’s. I only needed this account for a month, but it got buried until a year later when I was looking over the password manager and noticed it.
If it weren’t for me leaving the note “MCD’s Giveaway,” I would be at a loss of what this account is for or if I even need it anymore.
4. When You Created An Account
Knowing when you created an account is not always essential, but there have been a few times I needed to know.
In the password manager, you can see the date created, or you can in the notes put the date yourself. Often the month and year are all you need.
I’ve been asked this question maybe three times in my life, but each time it was super important that I know the answer. Yes, it’s stupid that a service expects people to know this but it’s often the only security question they have on you.
I ran into this problem when buying a new phone. I had to swamp my service to a new phone. Since this was before I had a password manager, I did not take much care to write down the PIN to swamp service. So the person on the phone started asking me questions, and one of the questions was the month and year I started my service with them.
No sane person would know that answer unless they stored it in a password manager.
5. Store Warranty And Serial Numbers
Every password manager will have a notes section where you can store anything you want.
I like storing warranty cards and serial numbers in my notes. I know some like to save it elsewhere, but a password manager is something I trust and a central location.
Many companies expect you to lose your warranty card or information so they can save money on warranty repairs. I don’t have this problem. If the item is expensive enough, it goes in the password manager, along with all the info I need for a warranty. The last thing I want to do is look for the warranty info that I lost years ago and end up not using the warranty because I could not prove it.
But the biggest thing I like is being able to store serial numbers for my products. If someone steals it, I have the serial number to confirm I owned it if it’s found at the pawnshop or wherever.
I also store license plate numbers for all the cars as I don’t want to remember them, and there have been many times where I’m away from the vehicle and need to know them. It’s easier to open the password manager app on my phone than to look like a fool walking back to my car.
I know you could store this info somewhere else, and I’ve tried. I tried Evernote or the Notes app on my phone, but those get clogged with non-important info and such that it’s hard to shuffle through them when I need them. With a password manager, only the important stuff goes in it and is far easier to look for.
6. Store Email Addresses
I don’t know how we end up with multiple email addresses over time, but we do.
A growing trend I’m noticing is the websites that used to only need a username and password are now asking for an email too.
Since I have multiple email accounts, it can be confusing to remember what account used what email, especially when the site only needs your username to log in.
Not only that, but I don’t always want to give a website my real email address because I don’t trust them with it. So I’ll use a forwarding service to increase my security further. There is no way I could remember the forwarding email address, so I store them in my password manager.
7. Security Questions
Everyone knows security questions suck and can make you less secure. The fact is that they exist and won’t be going away anytime soon.
The best thing you can do is use made-up security questions like…
What high school did you go to: UnspoiledSkeletal
Every security question should be different and something you never used before. Doing this makes you a lot more secure.
But now, where do you store these questions?
You store them in your password manager. This is something a web browser can’t save in its password section. You also don’t have to worry about your lousy handwriting or mistyping as the password manager can let you copy and paste.
8. Store Passwords For Other People
I’ve noticed a trend of people asking me what their password is because I have a password manager now. This can be a good thing and a bad thing, but for some people, it’s the only option.
I set up a family member to have a specific place in my password manager, and I help them remember their passwords. They don’t have many and don’t need them often, but I can be a lifesaver when they need it.
9. Store Passwords For Other Things
I’ve noticed that there are many things you need to remember throughout your daily life.
I, for one, worked for a company that changed the door alarm code every month. Often, getting people on the same page for this code was hard. Getting them to use a password manager and share the code with all employees sure did get everyone on the same page.
I wish I had a password manager when I was in college. I needed either a PIN or a password, depending on what building I was in or what copier I required to use. It was a mess, and many places have this fixed with SSO, but many still won’t do it because of the tangled mess they’re already in.
Being able to not stress over this stuff and just open my password manager when I need it is such a relief.
10. Unique Passwords
Using unique passwords is the number one reason to use a password manager.
If one website you used in the past gets breached, it won’t affect the others. The hackers love to steal passwords from websites and then use bots to see what other accounts you used that password on.
Password reuse is the biggest threat most users face online, and using a password manager along with all unique passwords solves this problem.
11. A Digital Will
No one likes to talk about dying, but we all do it.
With a password manager, you have a list of all your accounts and can even put notes on what you want when you die.
Many password managers have emergency access for this very reason. You can even write down the login details and keep them somewhere safe in your home too.
It might not even be death, but maybe you end up in the hospital, and you’re the one who always paid the bills. You may not be able to log in yourself, but the person you shared this within your password manager can.
I’ve been through the death of a loved one before and being able to pay the bills was not the problem.
The real problem was not being able to see the pictures the person kept in Google Photos or read the notes they kept in the notes app because I did not know their PIN or Password.
Being able to pay the bills is an easy problem to solve. What’s not so easy is getting those pictures back because we did not know the password.
Getting a password manager and sharing with someone you trust how to login is well worth it. Being able to get those memories after your gone is the most valuable thing you leave behind.
12. Keep Notes On Why You Don’t Use A Website
There is one company that shall remain nameless that I, for some reason, keep forgetting why I don’t use them every few years.
I have a note in my password manager with the old account I had with them and a reminder of there lousy business practices.
It’s easy to forget things sometimes, and even worse is realizing why you hated them in the first place. A password manager makes this less likely to happen again.
13. Keep Track Of Usernames
I have an entire post on why you need to use unique usernames.
Being able to keep track of them is hard unless you have a password manager.
If you value privacy, you’ll want to be using unique usernames for all your accounts.
14. Keep Track Of Odd Requirements
It’s rare to find a website that has odd requirements for logging in, but they do exist.
For example, some banks make you tell them the 3rd, 5th, and last character of your password. How frustrating is that? With a password manager, many of them number each letter making this a lot easier. Or you could number it yourself in the notes section.
Another example is a website that has the oddest password rules. I have one that it must be exactly 12 characters long and contain 2 special characters. The worst part is that they don’t tell you this until you enter the wrong password. So within the password manager, I leave myself the note on what they want.
15. Keep Track Of Accounts That Don’t Use Passwords
You would think you don’t need a password manager if the site doesn’t use passwords, but you do.
If you have more than one email account, you might not know which one you used for that service. So in the password manager put the email and leave out the password with a note saying they don’t need a password.
16. Perfect For Accounts You Don’t Care About
The great thing about a password manager is that it makes it easy to sign up for accounts you don’t care about while also keeping you secure.
I know many people will use the same old, weak password for accounts they don’t care about. The problem is that you don’t know if that account will become important later in life.
With a password manager, many of them will fill in the username or email for you. Then for the password, you just press a button or two, and you’re done.
When I use 1Password X, it only requires me to press the button to select what identity I want to use, then press the suggested password button, and then the save button. That is three buttons I have to press total.
Compared to not using a password manager, I would have to type in my email and the same old password I use for everything. That is way more than pressing three buttons on a password manager.
Not only is a password manager easier, but it’s also keeping you more secure.
A password manager is the best option if your lazy or don’t care.
17. Store Important Documents
Everything you put in a password manager is encrypted with your master password. It also gives you a central location for these documents.
It comes in handy to have a central, secure location for important documents especially if you need them when out and about. Most password managers have an app for your phone and if you need the document you can easily get it.
18. It’s More Secure
Let’s talk beyond the fact that everything in your password manager is encrypted with only a password you know. This can be hard for people to grasp or trust, as it’s just a mysterious black box to them.
Let’s instead talk about salting or peppering your important passwords.
When you salt your passwords in your password manager, you only store part of the password. When you create the password for the website, you have your password manager generate something random, but before you submit it, you enter your “salt,” which can be a word or a PIN at the end of the generated password. When you store this in your password manager, you leave out the salt.
So even if someone gets into your password manager, they don’t have the real password.
There are also other things a password manager does to keep you more secure.
For example, they won’t fill in a password unless it’s the correct URL, so phishing attacks are not a huge issue.
They also keep the data encrypted until you need it.
You also have a whole company whose entire job is to make sure your passwords are kept safe. Where a web browser’s main job is the internet and passwords are just a side thing.
19. Makes Filling Out Forms Easier
Most password managers have an identity section where you fill out your name, email, credit card numbers, and so on.
When you get to a website that you want to sign up for, the password manager can go ahead and fill this data in for you.
The form filling also works great when you get to the online check out as you don’t have to worry about fat fingering your credit card number or entering the wrong home address.
20. Keep Track Of Medication
It feels odd storing what medications I take in just a regular note on my phone. Those note-taking apps don’t encrypt that data, so any employee at the server could, if they wanted to, see that information.
A password manager encrypts everything locally before sending it to the server. They also don’t store the master password, so if you forget it, they can’t help you, so write it down.
Storing medical info and medication in a password manager just feels right. A password manager already holds sensitive information, so it seems fitting to put medical stuff in there too.
21. Directions On How To Do Something
I maybe buy a new computer every 4 to 5 years.
The dock animations are too slow for me on a Mac. I always have to Google the answer, but the response has not changed for years. So now, I keep a note of it in my password manager.
I know it may sound silly to some, but I bet you can find your own little nuances that bug you because you can’t remember them.
Once you get a password manager, you start to realize how some stuff should be in it and while other things should not. This separation comes in handy when you need it, but it’s not apparent until you get a password manager.
22. Store 2FA Codes
I know this a big no-no for many to store your 2FA (two-factor authentication) with your passwords. I get it, that defeats the whole point of 2FA.
But sometimes a website forces you to have 2FA and sometimes you need to log in quickly.
One could argue that having your 2FA app on the same phone that has your password manager app is wrong, too, but at some point, we need to realize what’s the real problem.
The biggest perk of 2FA is that the code changes. Sometimes it’s the timeliness that is important, and having the 2FA code in your password manager is no big deal.
Not only that, but if you’re using all unique passwords for all accounts, it’s the password that is doing the heavy lifting, and the 2FA is the cherry on top.
To put this debate to bed, you could always salt the passwords that have the 2FA codes. This way, the real password is not known, and you manage to have true 2FA once again.
From experience, it’s nice having the 2FA and passwords in the same location. A lot of people use Google Authenticator and don’t realize it doesn’t back up the code, so if you lose your phone, you’re screwed. A password manager will back up the 2FA code, which is a lifesaver.
For most people keeping your 2FA code in your password manager is worth it. If you sleep better salting those passwords, then do that. At the end of the day, we’re just splitting hairs, and having your 2FA codes in your password manager is a huge security benefit to the average user.
23. Keep Track of Birthdays
Not the birthdays of family and friends but your own.
I hate when websites ask me my birthday as it’s just another data point for them to exploit.
With a password manager, you can easily store your fake b-day for that account. I also like to mix up the birth date to be unique for every account, so I know who leaks it in the future.
24. Keep Track Of Non-Account Passwords
A non-account is anything that is not related to any website.
For example, I keep my tax documents on an encrypted flash drive. I want that info secured with a good password, not something simple like a pet’s name.
So how do I keep track of that?
I do this by creating an item in my password manager called “P01” and having the password manager generate something unique. Then I encrypt the flash drive with the P01 password, and write on the flash drive “P01”.
I know to get the password, I look for “P01” and that is the password that unlocks the encrypted drive.
As I get more things, I add to the P to get P02, P03, P04, etc.
25. Keep Track Of Past Accounts
I may be the only one who does this, but I like to keep track of past accounts. Some of these websites don’t exist anymore, and some I’ll never use again.
It’s not a trip down memory lane but more of a security thing.
For some stupid reason, a lot of websites won’t let you delete your account. And the ones that allow you to delete don’t actually delete the account anyway.
If I’m stuck with these stupid accounts, I might as well make the passwords stupid strong and put them in my archived pile.
A reason why I don’t put a random password and not save it is that there has been a couple of times I needed to get into an account.
One great example of this is the college I attended; It’s in my best interest to not get rid of this account. It’s easy to get transcripts even though I may never need them, but if I do, I can quickly get them.
This may be a sign of hoarding, but I don’t care. I sleep better because of it.
26. A Brain Is An Idea Machine
One of the biggest reasons to use a password manager is that the brain is good at coming up with ideas, not storing them.
A significant push back I get from people not wanting to use a password manager is because they can handle their passwords. They probably can, but the fact is that the brain is better at coming up with ideas than storing them.
Get the passwords out of your head to free up your mind for more important things.