It's an ongoing thorn in our collective side. The ongoing festival of confusion that is driving us all to varying shades of madness: Managing our passwords.

It's just a daily part of our reality so we may try not to complain about it. What are ya gonna do? Hackers and scammers are always prowling about looking for a way into our private online worlds. Comforting thought, I know.

Obviously, it's not a smart idea to use one password for everything so we vary it up as much as possible. On top of that, we're encouraged to add weird characters and numbers to we can earn that coveted "strong" rating from whatever website password god we're seeking to appease at the moment.

I guess we could just keep a hand-written list in a drawer, but then we have to worry about keeping that safe, too. Not to mention, many of our daily work sites prompt us to change our passwords ever so often and so the crazy-making process continues. Which brings us to the idea of employing a Password Manager.

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I don't know why, but I had initial skepticism about using one of these tools. See how suspicious we've all become in the digital age? And with good reason, too. But, there's quite a few who've earned a solid reputation and are worth considering. How do they work?

According to Consumer Reports, "password manager services help you stay safer by creating new, complex passwords for each of your online accounts, storing the whole lot in a digital vault protected by strong encryption."

Doesn't that sound like a life-easing miracle? It does to me. No more trying to come up with some brilliant vague word that would be hard to crack but also something you can spell, much less remember. Then, when you go to log in, your service with make sure it's you and boom, you're in.

As marvelous as this sounds, one might worry. If you're trusting all of your accounts to one manager, you really, really want to be able to count on it. Make sure you double check your options with online reviews and verification. A couple of things you want to make sure they excel at would include how strong they are against getting hacked AND what their own privacy practices are in regard to how they use YOUR data.

Some that I've heard good things about are 1Password and Keeper, both of which have received the Consumer Reports check of approval.

It's worth considering. I mean, if we keep going the way we are we're gonna spend a good portion of our lives just trying to remember and manage our ever-changing passwords. And that would, frankly, suck.

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