I’m a big fan of keeping things simple, but it isn’t easy in this complicated financial world. A typical family has multiple credit cards, debit cards, loans, investment accounts (RRSP, RESP, TFSA, RRIF) and often non-registered accounts as well.


Add to that a raft of bills from utilities to cellphones and it’s a staggering number of client IDs, PINs and passwords to remember.


A few years ago, when I logged on to my bank account from my husband’s computer, I was asked a series of security questions “for my own protection.” I’ve had the account for years and, for the life of me, I couldn’t remember the answers to the questions I’d posed way back when. After three incorrect answers I was shut out.


A vast number of my financial activities are controlled through that account and I was paralyzed for two days, during which I hoped the bank computer would simply “forget” I’d already struck out. No such luck. Finally, I summoned the fortitude to enter the dreaded call centre queue.


Fortunately, I had recorded my telephone pin on what I call a Financial Bomb Shelter -— a spreadsheet of my cyber and telephone life. Lesson learned. I went back into each account and recorded all my security questions on the spreadsheet.

My system is handy in case of disaster or something as mundane as a memory lapse. And while we’re exhorted not to commit things like passwords, PINs and ID numbers to paper, I defy the average working Joe or Jill to remember every single cyber code in their lives.

Keep your Financial Bomb Shelter safe and it will keep you safe.