Four More Things You Should Be Doing but Probably Aren't

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh

In follow up to the article, "Five Things You Should Be Doing but Probably Aren't" here are four additional tasks that help to prepare for unforeseen events. With a little time invested now, we can avoid hassles in our future. Take the time to complete the tasks that should be done but most likely aren't.


Alternate Your Passwords

Do you use the same password for everything? Is it something obvious like your dog's name or your favorite sports team? This isn't the best method to achieve security. One secure and easy method is to choose that one password that you love. Then, for each institution add a different acronym to the front or rear of it. Choose a system for finding the acronyms that makes sense. For example, if your password of choice is your dog's name, Fido, use it as your base password. Then, for your access to on-line billing with your Cingular Wireless account, add the acronym 'cw' to the base, cwfido. Or, use something that makes more sense to you such as 'cell' creating 'cellfido.' Whatever you choose, use the same system for all passwords. When banking at Citibank create the password 'cbfido,' or use 'bankfido.' This allows for variety without confusion.


Change the Passwords

Now that you've gotten a system for creating passwords, it seems pointless to go through all the trouble to change them. If your password is secure enough and you haven't given it out for some reason, most are safe for accounts like merchants who do not store your credit card information and utility bills. However, for on-line banking and ATM machines it is important to change your password often. Again, create a system to make remembering it easy and change them every few months. Set a date; for instance, every time you pay the water bill change your banking password. Don't alternate between two passwords, either. Create a new password each time.


Fire is one of the last catastrophes you want to think about in your home, but it does happen. Invest in a fireproof box. They are pricey, but a large vault size isn't needed. One that is small enough to carry will suffice. Place the most important papers you have in the box as well as any cash you keep around the home. A small fireproof box containing passports, birth certificates, savings bonds, and cash is a priceless investment in home security.


Advance Directive

Without dwelling on the morbid, take the time to complete an advance directive. What this paper does is state your wishes to health care providers should something happen which renders you unable to state your wishes. The largest advantage of this directive besides having ultimate control over your healthcare decisions is the relief it provides family. During a time of crisis the family needs to question, "What would he have done?" Instead, spell it out for them in these papers which no longer need to be notarized to be legal. Most doctors offices and hospitals have the forms and directions needed to complete an advanced directive, as does your health insurance provider. With a simple phone call, you can make things easier in times of crisis.

About The Author: Kelly Ann Butterbaugh is a freelance writer who regularly contributes to a variety of magazines as well as online newsletters. She teaches writing in the public school as well as at the collegiate level. Contact her at or visit her website at
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