My retirement account sent me a message that a new statement was available.  I don’t think the account actually sent it.  I think someone programmed something, and a message was sent alerting me. 

I logged into the account, trying to remember the user name and secret password.  At this point, between my bank accounts, ATM, computer logins and what not, there are so many user names and secret passwords to remember that I am grateful I don’t try typing in my gym combination lock numbers. 

It’s only a matter of time before there is a data dump in my head and I forget everything.  Once at the gym this actually happened.  I emerged from the shower and completely blanked out on my combination lock.  This was a difficult situation because it was me and the towel around my waste, and that was it.  For several minutes, I panicked and floundered.  I tried old numbers.  I tried to remember the formula which I had developed to help me remember the numbers.  It was useless.  I had forgotten everything, and I was doomed to slink out to the front desk, dripping wet, with a request for the bolt cutter. 

Resigned to my embarrassing fate, I took some deep breaths, and at that moment, my memory returned.

My retirement account was easier to log into than that, and just in case, I had a separate backup file listing the relevant information.  But the account was on to me.  If it was that easy to log into, security must have been lax and it was time for some upgrades.  To gain access, I was requested to answer some new, additional security questions.  These were questions with answers only I would know.  I had seen this type of thing before, and usually the questions were along the lines of “What town do you live in?” or “What city were you born in?”

But not this time.  The special security questions this time were designed to be really secure, delving in issues that no one could possibly know or remember, including me.  I had a choice of questions, and I had to answer three.  The questions included:

  • What is your wife’s first cousin’s maiden name? 
  • What did you have for breakfast on New Year’s Day, last year (please be specific, and spelling counts)? 
  • What is your grandfather's second pet’s middle name? 
  • What is the solution to world peace?

I did my best to select three questions with answers that maybe I could remember.  It was all somehow comforting.  Now the retirement account was completely secure.  No one would gain access to the confidential information.  Including me.