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Take Charge of Your Digital Assets

Financial by Deirdre McGuire , Wealth Advisor
May 24, 2022

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We now live a significant portion of our lives online. According to Pew Research Center, 85% of Americans own a smartphone, and 75% own a desktop or laptop. Inevitably, by spending time on the Internet, anyone who uses email, has a password protected cell phone, makes online purchases, or pays bills online has accumulated digital assets and property.

Making plans to keep your digital assets in order and managing your digital legacy is another way to ensure your financial life and cherished possessions are organized and secure.

As with your offline, real-world assets, it is wise to keep your digital assets in order by identifying them, tracking them, and arranging for their transfer after you pass away. Taking charge of your digital legacy is another way to ensure your financial life and cherished possessions are organized and secure.

What Are Digital Assets?

Digital assets are the artifacts created by your computer and smartphone activity. Technology consulting firm Gartner defines the term as follows:

A digital asset is anything that is stored digitally and is uniquely identifiable that organizations can use to realize value. Examples of digital assets include documents, audio, videos, logos, slide presentations, spreadsheets, and websites.


Where To Start

As your digital footprint grows, reviewing your digital assets may seem like a daunting task. Nonetheless, there are some simple steps you can take to tidy up and protect your digital life.

Your digital assets may include:

Your Digital Inventory

The more technologically connected you are, the more items you will have to manage. Make a list of where your most important information lives, especially digital photos, videos, and documents.

Store this inventory in a secure location that is accessible only to you and your trusted successor in an emergency. There are several tools you can use to create and store your list, whether it is an Excel spreadsheet or a phone app like LastPass. You can also create your inventory the traditional way, on paper. What matters is to find a storage tool with which you are comfortable and use it.

However you choose to store your digital life, please make sure the people who need to know can access it such as have a key to the locked cabinet, code to the safe, or password to online storage. The goal is to have your digital property organized and protected.

Protecting Your Assets

Once you have an inventory of your assets, there are additional measures you can take to protect them, especially should you become unavailable to do so yourself.

So much of your life is a digital life. Creating a digital estate plan by making an inventory of your digital life and planning for disposition of your digital assets will help you stay organized and help bring you peace of mind.

For further tips on managing your digital life and protecting your digital assets, read our articles “11 Ways To Protect Your Account From Fraudsters” and “Worried About the Capital One Data Breach? Here’s How To Protect Yourself.” For a checklist to help organize your offline financial documents and estate paperwork, read our Financial Concierge newsletter “Are Your Affairs in Order?

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