There is a surprising (or perhaps unsurprising) lack of sophistication with how many people set PINs and passwords. A study done by Data Genetics analyzed passwords from released or exposed password tables and found that the most common 4 digit password was "1234." "1111," "0000," and other strings of the same number were also very common. A list of most common passwords published by SplashData include "password" and "123456." Others on the list that might be slightly more sophisticated include "qwerty" and "qazwsx" for passwords and "2580" for PINs. You can easily see that these just have to deal with the placement of the characters on the keypad or keyboard to help people remember them easily. However, this makes it extremely easy for someone to just guess what your secret code is if you lose your ATM or credit card.
Roughly 60% of Americans do not have a passport according to the State Department as of January 2012. If you belong in that majority and plan on staying in it, this post will probably not be very relevant. However, for those of us who do have a passport and plan on using it, we have to prepare before going abroad. Especially within my age group, many students study abroad, backpack across a different continent over the summer, or even attend college in a different country. For those of us who haven't, learning how to get access to money is the first step.
There is a lot of talk about an upcoming "fiscal cliff" in the U.S. where current policy has a lot of tax increases and spending cuts going into effect in the beginning of 2013. If a different solution cannot be agreed upon by both parties, it is said that the economy will go off this "fiscal cliff" into another recession and have the U.S. face a similar crisis in Europe. It seems like higher taxes will be a certainty in the future; it is only to what extent. A lot of it will also depend on the results of this year's election as well.