Here‘s a brief tutorial on how to encrypt all the files in your home directory so that they will need to be decrypted with a password at startup.
It works by using public and private key cryptography. Basically the computer generates a few small files that are used to encrypt and decrypt all your files as you access them. This encryption key is initially encrypted with your password since passwords are mainly just good for encrypting small files.
The advantage to this is that if you lose your computer no one will be able to get your personal files since they are encrypted. The cost to this is that it will slow your computer down by a small amount and if you delete this encryption key then you won’t be able to decrypt your files.
You should also probably create encrypted backups of all your files in case that key is deleted. For backing up your data I would recommend “backintime-gnome” and here is a tutorial on creating an encrypted partition for backing up your files to.