I know most of us, like the companies we do business with, are careful with our personal information.  This is not enough, though!   Sometimes it is not data we shared recently that is to blame for a breach in our identity.  It could have been from something we shared 15 or more years ago with a company or organization or even a friend.   All it takes, in most cases, is a Social Security number and Date of Birth.   Think about how many people and companies you might have given this information to over the last 20 years!

Succeeding financially is usually the result of implementing a combination of strategies and tasks that require us to protect what we have accumulated and what we will accumulate over time. Basically, we need to be on both a financial offensive and defensive footing throughout life.  And it is not as simple as a list of five things to do or  not do.  

One of the defensive strategies I find important to implement is an Identity Monitoring Program.  These programs have come a long way and are well worth the $10 to $25 a month price tag.   

There are a lot of ways for a thief to steal and use that stolen identity and impact us negatively, but the frontline of defense is to not allow financial accounts to be opened using your Name, Social Security number, and Birthday.  And I can tell you from personal experience most of these programs work to keep this from happening.

I was shopping with my wife, we were in different parts of the store, and I got a text saying someone was applying for a new credit card in her name. Of course, I freaked a bit and thought someone was stealing her identity and so I called her right away.  When I reached her, she was still standing at the checkout line where she had applied for the store card to get some instant discount.  This is when I knew it was worth the relatively small cost to implement this defensive strategy and try to protect our identities.

Here is a list that consumersadvocate.org put together of the 10 Best Identity Theft Protection Services of 2017.  

In summary, as you prepare for retirement and start implementing retirement strategies — or maybe you are already there — remember we should be on both the offense and defense financially…an Identity Monitoring program is a simple and inexpensive strategy.