Improving your digital and financial security is a great way to reduce stress in the new year. So take a little time and consider these four pieces of advice to help make 2024 a safer and more financially secure year for you and your family!

New Year, New Password

One easy move to make to start a new year; change your password. The longer you keep the same one, the more likely it is a thief or hacker will get ahold of it.

Consider resetting your passwords to something completely new, not just tweaking a couple of letters or numbers. Before you start typing, a few things to consider:

  • Make sure it’s a strong password, Avoid using the obvious, ie; address, birthday, and anniversary dates.

  • Use a combination of letters (capital and lowercase) and numbers.

  • Don’t save the password on your computer or phone.

One trick is to use a sentence or phrase you can remember but to misspell certain words or replace letters with numbers. For instance -- and don’t use this one -- “Don’t Forget Your Password” can become D4GetUrP$Wrd.

Improve Your Financial Literacy

A great way to be both financially safe and smart is to educate yourself! Enhance your financial knowledge this year.

Consider things like:

  • Find a magazine or online publication to read.

  • Subscribe to a podcast or YouTube channel about finances.

  • Attend a workshop.

Be sure to choose wisely – ask friends, look at reviews, consult a financial advisor – so you know you’re getting good advice.

Start an Emergency Fund or Increase Your Contribution

A good way to be more financially secure is to know that you have a fallback if/when an emergency comes up. Whether that’s a surprise lay-off, an impending recession, or a major purchase or medical expense you weren’t planning on, having some money stashed away just for the occasion will make an already stressful situation a little easier to get through.

If you’ve never started an emergency fund, now is a great time to do so. The best and easiest way to do this is to set up a separate account – one with a high-interest return if possible – and have money automatically deposited to it whenever you get paid. That way you know the money goes there without having to worry about it.

If you already have an emergency fund going, consider increasing your regular deposits. Whether that’s from your regular paycheck or by picking up a part-time job or side hustle, it’s a good idea to be prepared given the fears of a recession coming.

One other way to boost your emergency fund; move it to an account paying a higher interest rate. That way you’re earning more without contributing more.

Update Your Devices

No matter HOW vigilant you are, you could fall prey to a hack or cyber attack at any time. They are always finding new ways to get to you.

That’s why companies like Apple and Google are constantly releasing software updates for the phones, tablets, and other devices they build.

But, those updates don’t do you any good if you don't use them. You’re already on your phones and tablets every day. Just take the time now and then to check to make sure you’ve installed the latest OS and all its updates to keep your devices secure.