Free email accounts offered by large, corporate providers are not private. Nothing is free. When you don't pay for services, you are the product, and your information is being sold to advertisers. We recommend using free or low-cost, end-to-end encrypted email services. Protonmail, Tutanota, and Posteo are all excellent services that protect your privacy and do not read your mail. Protonmail and Tutanota offer free accounts for a limited amount of storage, and Posteo costs less than $15/yr. Posteo supports IMAP and includes a calendar, address book, and notepad.
One of the easiest ways to improve privacy is to use strong passwords. We recommend a password manager. With a password manager, you only need to remember one password. Take the time to make it long and random, and memorize it. Then, allow the password manager to generate long, random passwords each time you need one. Your password protection will be strong, and you only need to remember the password for the manager.
We do not recommend allowing your browser to manage your passwords. KeePass is an excellent option, that is free, open source, and available for a wide variety of platforms and devices.