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Can I set up a second account on the message boards? Why would I want to?

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If you have an existing account on the Message Boards (i.e., you've registered), you have a user name that appears next to any message you post. Your user name might be your real name (which generally is a very good idea for reputation and hence marketing purposes).

But you also might want to set up a second account on the Message Boards so that you can post a message (i.e., start a topic or post a reply to an existing topic) without revealing any information about yourself. Think of a second account as an "anonymous" account.

For example, the "profile" for your existing account might already show your real name, the name of your firm, your interests, and so forth. This is a Good Thing, because it helps people know how to contact you offline, which is a Good Thing because they might be potential customers or clients as a result of having seen the wise and helpful things you've said in your posted messages (each of which shows your user name next to the body of the message).

Perhaps you've also taken the time to enter a "signature block" into your profile, so that each message you've posted has a block beneath it that shows your name, your firm name, your web site, your telephone number, etc. (To edit your profile, select Profile from the drop-down menu that appears when you click the arrow next to your user name, toward the top right corner of any page on the message boards.)

But perhaps, from time to time, you'd like to be able to start a topic or post a reply message under an existing topic without revealing any identifying information. Maybe you ...

* want to talk about something that's controversial ("Most of our clients just aren't providing enough benefits for the rank-and-file employees; should we tell them?")

* want to help without anyone misinterpreting it as advice upon which they can rely and come after you in the event you're wrong ("In your situation, you probably don't need a Required Minimum Distribution this year because... ").

* want to say something without any chance of compromising your customers or clients ("An IRS agent says she can force us to provide her with a list of our clients -- has anybody else had this happen?")

* want to ask or comment on something and, for whatever personal reason, you'd be more comfortable with saying it anonymously

You'll need an email address that's different than the one you're using with your primary account. It might be a different username (or "alias," in tech-speak) at your existing firm, if that's easy for you to set up -- "jack@pensionpowered.com" in addition to your existing "john@pensionpowered.com".

Or, you could set up a free email account with any of the many companies that will provide one for you, such as gmail.com from Google. Here's a list of the places that offer a free email account:


Once you have such a "secondary" email address, sign out of your primary account if you see your user name displayed toward the top right part of any page on the message boards. (To sign out, use the drop-down arrow next to your user name and select Sign Out. The web page then refreshes itself.)

Click the black "Sign Up" button you'll see toward the top right part of any page on the message boards. Assign a user name that's different from your primary user name. Enter your secondary email address (not the email address used with your primary account).

You'll need to be able to pick up email at your secondary email address at least once, because an automatic email is sent by the message boards software that has a link on which you must click, in order for you to use the secondary account (i.e., confirming your sign-up).

Once you've confirmed your secondary account, you can sign in using the user name you've assigned to it (or by entering the secondary email address; the message board software allows a sign-in using either way). Now, whenever you post a message while signed in with your secondary user name or email address, the secondary user name will appear next to such a message (rather than your primary user name).

Messages you've posted under your primary user name won't change at all. It's as if a completely different person has registered to use the message boards, so there is no effect on your existing messages.

By refraining from entering any identifying information in the profile associated with your new account, you basically have created an anonymous account for yourself.

* Nobody will see your email address (which already is the case for all accounts)

* Nobody will see the IP address from which you're posting a message (which already is the case for all accounts), except the message boards administrators (meaning yours truly, and two other people who work at BenefitsLink, as is already the case for all accounts), who would need to see the IP address only for some kind of temporary diagnostic purpose (e.g. you ask for help signing in)

When you want to return to your primary account, just sign out of the secondary account and then sign in using your primary account's user name or email address.

Questions? Post a reply message in this topic, or email me at davebaker@benefitslink.com

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Thanks, Dave!

If we see a name of "ClevelandIndiansFan", we'll know who it is. 

I'm a retirement actuary. Nothing about my comments is intended or should be construed as investment, tax, legal or accounting advice. Occasionally, but not all the time, it might be reasonable to interpret my comments as actuarial or consulting advice.

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