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Why People Don't Take Advice


Recognizing the irony and hypocrisy of what I am about to say, I really don't believe in advice. I have a whole theory about why people don't take advice (and it even covers why, when they do follow advice, it's likely to be bad for them). But never mind that now. I have a specific example.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/25/your-money/forgotten-in-estate-planning-online-passwords.html

The useful suggestion in this context (what if someone dies and they've gone paperless?) would be, hey, set up a password manager and make sure that the login information for the password manager is stored with your will/estate paperwork/etc. That's a complete solution: everything you went paperless for should be in the password manager and if you use it consistently, it'll be up to date. Voila. One login, one password and you're good to go. Lock it in your safe deposit box and you don't have to worry about your heir, executor, lawyer taking everything and running away to Somewhere Else while you yet live. (After you are dead, presumably, you don't care and/or it's someone else's problem.)

But no. That's not what this article suggests.

"Mr. Heilmann said people needed to think about five things to ensure that everything goes smoothly with their digital financial lives if they become incapacitated or die: they need to maintain a list of their digital information; send the information to someone they trust; make sure other people know who has the information; leave instructions for how everything should be handled; and note all of this in an estate plan and update it regularly."

This is stupid. People who can access your brokerage account can do really bad shit to you. People who know who to grab to access your brokerage account can do really bad shit to them and then to you. Really, people, this is simple. Password manager. Info in the safe deposit box. Key where your executor or whoever knows where to find it. Maybe with your lawyer! Who keeps a copy of your will on file anyway. I don't know. You know your situation better than any idiotic advice giver.

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