October 22, 2008

An Easy Way To Remember Important Dates

I thought I would share a quick tip that has helped me remember important dates and numbers. I think it's something that might work for some of you, being a little way to help you show your wife that you're trying to keep important information in your head.

If you're like me, you have a ton of passwords floating around in your head. We have passwords for e-mail, the ATM, computers, online banking, etc. Because we use these passwords so much we don't even have to try and remember most of them. I say, use this to your advantage. Use your anniversary as a PIN number. Use birthdays for e-mail passwords, something like Mary032875 (Mary's birthday, March 28, 1975).

This little trick first became apparent to me when I was at the doctor's office by myself filling out some paperwork. When I finished the secretary looked things over and asked, "I don't suppose you know your wife's Social Security number, do you?" When I told her that I did she said, "Wow I'm impressed! I don't even know my husband's!" I knew it because I had a bank account for years that I used my own SS# for, and so when we got another account I decided to just go ahead and use hers. And because I did, it was in my head.

Anyway, I thought some of you might enjoy that.


  1. Yikes! That's a good way to remember dates, sure, but an even better way to become a victim of a security breach of some kind.

  2. When's your birthday again? I guess you could do something like m03a28r75y, but I agree. I think most of us use things that mean something to us but I try to keep them limited to obscure things that mean something to me then try to make the even more obscure.

    Great tip though as there are lots of passwords to things that I am not as concerned about.

  3. I have to agree with timespike. many security websites tell you that the worst thing to use for passwords are birthdays, anniversaries, etc. i think i read that 80% of the time people use such things for passwords, hackers and identity thieves know this.

    not a bad idea basically, but i definitely wouldn't just put the date in there. even with "mary" etc. add some random characters too. hackers have ways of generating variations of dates and names until they lock on the one that works

  4. Just to clarify, I'm not talking making her SS# your password to your bank account. What I am saying is use it to your benefit. My wife's SS# is PART of a password, not the whole thing.

    Make it work for you, not against you.

  5. No, this is a horrible idea. While it might seem useful as a way of remembering dates, the fact that it's an important date makes it a terrible security device. People who try to break into accounts immediately try common things such as anniversaries, birthdays, spouse names, and so on.

    I can appreciate the sentiment, but you're going to want to do a fair amount of obfuscation to it before using it as a password. 0m3A@*r191919Y75 would be a far better password, and is still uses the name/date information (sufficiently obfuscated).

  6. here's a secret: many women have trouble with these dates too, but culturally we are expected to magically know everyone's birthday, anniversary, etc. For some reason, certain months escape me completely. If you're born in August or February, God help you, because I won't remember your birthday.

    I use a service called Free Birthday Alarm. I've customized it so that I get a reminder 10 days before a date, and then again a few days later. The 10 day notice reminds me to get a card. The 2nd notice reminds me to send it. Fabulous stuff.

    I agree with your sentiment, though, that it's important for husbands to make this effort too. I have a brother who is 6 years older than me. He married a WONDERFUL woman 10 years ago, and ever since then my birthday cards are bought and signed by her. This actually makes me really sad. I would love it if my brother showed at least some effort -even just singing the card himself would make me feel good. It really does get tiring being the one expected to remember all this stuff. My partner and I have a somewhat-structured arrangement: I've put all of HIS friends and family into my reminder account. When the reminder email comes, I send him a note. It's then his responsibility to either arrange for cards / presents or to ask me to take care of it - he no longer assumes that I will be the one buying and mailing everything. It works well for both of us. 9 times out of 10, I still end up being the one to take care of it, but at least he asks.

  7. I should also add that this system makes him a ROCK STAR with his family. Last year we sent a birthday card to his Aunt Claire, which he had never done himself. I bought the card, then we both signed it. His aunt was so moved to receive a card in time for her birthday (and with his signature!) she wrote us a lovely thank you note.

    Also, there's an option with Birthday Alarm to send an email out to everyone asking their birthday. I skip this option for several reasons: 1) it lets people know that I may not necessarily have their birthday committed to memory and 2) I tend to igore emails that don't come from people, and I suspect my friends and family are similar.