How to best setup an account for myself and my wife

Please be gentle I’m not all that experienced with password managers. After the breaches with LastPass it’s time to move on for us. We are basically a couple that share all their passwords, kids are gone so we don’t need the LastPass Family plan anymore. Can we set this up using just one premium account that we both can use on our computers, ipads and phones?

If we can / do it with just one premium account what are the drawbacks?

Trying to figure out the best setup so that we can share all items in the vault. Concerned about how to deal with say a fire at our house that looses all our login devices. Can we access our vault when we are offline…I store some program login info in the vault as well?

Would something like 1password be a better option? Seems to have phone support which might benefit at least my wife as she is not tech savy at all.

I pretty well locked down with either BitWarden or 1Password so just looking for the best solution between the 2 of them.

thanks in advance for your help,

You can do almost all of what you want with just a premium account. You’re wanting the premium account mainly for the TOTP (aka “Google Authenticator”, or those codes that change every 30 seconds or so) and for the 2-factor authentication if you want to add a physical token (like a Yubikey or Duo) to “enroll” a computer or phone to access your BitWarden vault. You get both with the premium account for $10/year. it’s a no-brainer.

You will want to have your wife/spouse/partner get their own BitWarden account. The purpose is for them to have a “Recovery” account that you can setup in your main BitWarden account.

For every day use, you both “login” to BitWarden using your account on your PCs and phones. You will want to setup each device (PC and/or phone - both the standalone app and browser extensions) to enable the “Vault Timeout Action” feature to “lock” the vault and setup the “Unlock with PIN” feature (or use biometrics in the case of your mobile device if it has a fingerprint reader). Some devices I have lock after a minute or two (e.g. my phone), others after 5 minutes (a laptop I use out and about that might get stolen), and desktop PCs I work at all day don’t lock until after 4 hours of not using the BitWarden extension or standalone app.

Daily routine: You only use your master password to login to BitWarden when you restart the machine (or browser, which is when the extension loads). Whenever your vault times out, you enter your much shorter and easier to remember PIN (that isn’t your secret master password keys-to-the-kingdom). Each device can have its own PIN, but you probably don’t want to have to remember which PIN is for which browser or which device. So just set the PIN to the same value. Just don’t use the same code as my luggage. Hint: It doesn’t have to be a number, or even 4 digits. It can be a word or a longer number that is easy to type. Weird characters and upper/lower case only complicate things in the context of this PIN. Especially the limited special character keys on the default Iphone virtual keyboard. The purpose is to quickly unlock your vault and use it, and you can change it somewhat easily if you think there is a risk of shoulder surfing. Adjust your timeout accordingly as well. The good news is that you’re not exposing your master password while you hunt and peck for the special characters and enter in that long phrase every time you want to automatically lock your vault after not using it for a while.

Now for backups/recovery. Also super easy. Download and install VeraCrypt (from This program is a “encrypted virtual drive” program. Basically, you take a thumb drive and create a big file that acts like another disk drive to your PC. Except is is encrypted and you need a password to “unlock” it and use the new “drive”. You can then store important personal documents (like lists of assets, bank accounts, life/home/auto insurance policies, property deeds, important contracts, powers of attorney, wills, scans of identification documents like drivers licenses, passports, birth certificates, marriage licenses, death certificates, etc) on it, just like regular files. More importantly, you can export your BitWarden vault to that encrypted virtual drive in JSON or CSV formats for easy backup and recovery, or even manual use because you can read a JSON or CSV file with notepad or any text editor. You can then create a text file and put your BitWarden master passphrase in it if you want to (for an easy quick recovery), because the virtual drive is encrypted, remember.

Then you close the virtual drive (“unmount” it) and it just looks like a big giant file on that thumb drive (i.e. 250GB on a 256GB thumb drive), except that file is encrypted, with the VeraCrypt password, not your BitWarden master password. You can then write the VeraCrypt password onto a note and seal it in a security envelope. Make copies of the thumb drive and the envelope and store in secure places with people you trust to handle your affairs in the untimely event of your demise. Be certain you really trust whomever you give them to - e.g. your family lawyer who is also the executor of your will. Be careful about where you store this backup - thumb drives will melt before paper burns in a “fire safe”, so consider a “data/media safe” which protects at lower temperatures.

Remember to update all of the copies every time you make a backup of your vault or update your personal documents. When I make an export, I include the date in the filename so that I know when that Vault backup was made (and I don’t over-write an old one by mistake) and I keep the last 3 backups.

That’s probably plenty to get you thinking about and how to handle the various usability and recovery scenarios you mentioned. There is a Reddit article/thread on /r/lastpass or /r/bitwarden (I don’t recall which) that goes into great detail on how to use VeraCrypt for an encrypted thumb drive you can use for backups of your password vault (and other important files/documents).

Then, once you have your backup routine worked out, start a note on step-by-step how someone (not you, because something will have happened to you if they’re using this note) would follow the steps to mount the VeraCrypt encrypted drive file (using the password in the sealed envelope - making sure it is still sealed) and then access your documents and your BitWarden plain text export file to access your accounts. i.e. insert the thumb drive (e.g. as drive “F:”), install VeraCrypt (you should put the installer on the thumb drive as a regular file, alongside your big encrypted drive file, and alongside a plain text file version of this note when you’re done), launch VeraCrypt, open envelope, enter the password and mount the “encrypted drive file” (e.g. as drive “Z:”), open File Explorer to access the now decrypted files on drive Z: (in whatever folders you setup), and how to find the password for some entry in your vault if you want to recover a specific account first (like your email account), and how to import your BitWarden backup into a new, fresh, empty vault.

Sorry for the long post. Here’s a potato.

I am curious how good “Share vault items with one other user” is in a scenario where one person has premium and the other has free

This is $10

Otherwise for couples should consider spending $20 for two premium accounts

Hi @Kcd Welcome to the community! You can use the free 2-person organization to share with one other user. If the 2nd user does not have Premium, the will not be able to generate TOTP codes for a login, or store file attachments and such. You can always try it and see if it works for your use case before adding a 2nd premium subscription.

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Thanks @go12 , I didn’t even know of this option! Looks appealing for a 2 person family

For others there is this comparison to premium: Organizations Quick Start | Bitwarden Help Center

I don’t need TOTP yet as I started with another authenticator app. Unsure which premium feature I would need, yet. I might get a long way with two free accounts and a free org. The tipping point to a Family plan might be if it proves easy enough for my mother in law too. Curious what other people found most useful out of the paid plans