Record Keeping

  |     |   80 posts since 2020

I was keeping , in an excel spreadsheet:

Name of institution, name of owner, type of investment, principal, interest rate, maturity, phone number, account number, and passwords.

I kept all this on my computer, on thumbdrives and various places, including safety deposit box.

Then I could sort alphabetically by name of institution or maturity date to make sure I stayed on top of what was happening.

No more. I had a suspicion a tech helping person who I let "take over my computer" to fix something, took a look at or copied my spreadsheets.

As fast as I could I changed my passwords. But I also erased everything from the cloud and no more storing in excel documents on my laptaop.

I am now only on thumbdrives, but may actually destroy those thumbdrives and go to just writing things down on paper.

Any similar or different perspectives? Thank you.

  |     |   684 posts since 2020
Use the old paper system (less detail than you use) with a summary sheet maturity dates, FI (Financial Institution) and $ amount of utmost importance…give a copy to children. Backup folders in file cabinets/safe deposit boxes
  |     |   80 posts since 2020
what is FI please
  |     |   80 posts since 2020
Thankyou all
  |     |   45 posts since 2011
Passwords can be put on excel files so they cannot be opened without.
  |     |   476 posts since 2020
I use notepad files I update manually and keep a copy on an external flash drive. Seems archaic but I have all my finances, bills due dates etc. all in one place so I always know what I have and what I owe all totaled out and organized. No third party has all my info this way and no computer program I know of could deal with all the different types of accounts and investments I have anyway.
  |     |   49 posts since 2022
I use USB drives encrypted using bit locker to store information. No cloud. I started doing it that way when I got first into crypto. All my computers are protected using a yubikey
  |     |   521 posts since 2017
They do sell a thumb drive with a keys on it to lock the drive. Nothing in or out without correct key sequence. It's really nice.
  |     |   80 posts since 2020
This might be just the thing for me. Are they available at places like ‘Best Buy’ or ‘Office Depot’, etc? I definitely am interested. Thankyou for thé tip.
  |     |   238 posts since 2017
Yes, Amazon has external drives that utilize either fingerprint or keypad to access. For me personally, I use Apple’s free Numbers app, which is their version of Excel. I have a 16-character password to open the file, and I make sure that I do not select that the computer should remember the password. Ain’t no one gonna be able to brute force this password, as it would take 6 trillion years :) . The encryption is stellar. Also, I can access the document via phone and tablet and web.

As someone else has already mentioned, you can also easily password-protect Word and Excel documents.
  |     |   36 posts since 2014
consider using a password on your sensitive Excel or Word files. On my version of excel go to files --- save as --- tools --- general options --- then enter password(s)
  |     |   80 posts since 2020
Wow I can easily try this with a test document. Thankyou.
  |     |   6 posts since 2022
It's much easier if you don't allow anyone to "take over your computer".

What made you think that the tech looked at something they shouldn't?
  |     |   10 posts since 2016
Hi Sharon,
The following is not a recommendation--it's just what I do. I keep my info such as Excel files on an older desktop computer that is not connected to the internet. That computer ran Internet Explorer which is now of course defunct. Rather that upgrade or recycle that computer, I decided to keep it for maintaining a variety of Excel files. That gives me the ease working with spreadsheets without the risk of an internet security breach. I use a different computer as my computer with internet access.

I update my accounts every two months on the older computer. I use the "internet computer" to look up current data, such as account balances, from each financial institution. I record this information on the Excel files in older, non-internet computer. Counting the time to calculate some simple statistics, this takes me about three or four hours, and I actually enjoy the mental exercise. Writing this all down on paper, without the spreadsheet capabilities, would take me much longer.

By the way, I keep passwords separate from the account files.

This system has its limitations. It would not prevent a malicious actor, such as a burglar or an evil genius roommate, from hacking my older computer and stealing the data. (In your scenario, this would be equivalent to someone stealing the thumb drives.) However I do not have to worry about a tech person on the internet stealing the data at the point they "take over my computer" to fix something.
Later:  Sorry, I did not see that others have already responded to your post with excellent and more appropriate suggestions.
  |     |   80 posts since 2020
Thank you everyone. I am making security progress and still looking into some things. At least I changed my passwords.
  |     |   80 posts since 2020
Well Thankyou all. I did it.
1) looks like my window version does not have bit lock for an entire thumb drive, but..
2) I did follow the directions for encrypting excel files ( thank you so much) starting with : File , info, ……. So now all my recent excel files are encrypted. Before I encrypted them I printed them, and will hide them etc. Yay. Thank you all so much.
  |     |   36 posts since 2014
I may be stating the obvious. I keep a backup of ALL of my data files on standard USB drives. I use strong password on sensitive info.

About once a year after I do my taxes I put a USB backup in my safety deposit box. Be sure to remember your excel password(s).

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