With a copy of your balance sheet in front of you, go account by account to make sure the following three (3) safeguards are in place.
As an example, we listed detailed instructions on how to implement each step once logged into the Vanguard website. For accounts at other custodians, contact them directly if you have trouble finding the settings.
1) 2-Step Verification
This feature requires you to enter the correct username and password when logging in AND a code that is sent to you via text message. This feature protects you in the event your username and password are hacked since the hackers likely won't also have access to your phone. In addition to financial accounts, you can enable this for email accounts.
Instructions: Log-into your Vanguard account. Go to Account Maintenance, then Security Code under Security Profile.
2) Account Alerts
This is an automated text or email message you will receive if certain transactions are made in your account or changes are made to your profile. For example, if you want to be notified if money is moving out of your account so you can verify it is a valid request, check the asset transfer alert.
Instructions: Log-into your Vanguard account. Go to Account Maintenance, then Account activity and appointment alerts under Alerts.
3) Authorized users (optional)
Many people choose to share their account information with someone else, whether it be a spouse, a parent or child, or other interested party. If that includes you, the best way to do this is to set them up as an authorized user, NOT by sharing your username and password. You can grant authorized users a variety of viewing options, such as view-only access, limited authority (where someone can also buy and sell assets in your account), or full authority which allows someone to do everything, including changing beneficiary information.
Instructions: Log-into your Vanguard account. Go to Account Maintenance, then Account Permissions under Security Profile.