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Retirement & Technology

Visualize these retirement scenarios in the not-so-distant future: You are checking your emails to catch up on the latest from family and friends t find out what they’ve been up to. Then you remember it’s one of your grandchildren’s birthday, so you scan a digital picture of yourself onto an e-card with your personalized message and email it; you check your favourite news websites and blogs to select the topic or discussion that interests you and therefore join in by asking questions or submitting an opinion; you want to take a trip or a cruise to the Far East or Mediterranean but want to access the most reasonable or affordable package for you and your spouse, so you check out some travel websites with packages that cater to retirees or even decide to take a virtual tour of the hotel or cruise ship to help plan in advance; you decide to start a continuing education course and search for online training with an instructor and schedule the convenient dates and times to do classes while paying simultaneously online via your e-banking system with a credit card.


Whether these scenarios represent your desired lifestyle or not, it cannot be denied that technology has revolutionized the way we communicate, learn and do business, especially given the fact that retirees and baby boomers are the fastest growing group on the internet.


So, let’s discuss how retirees can maximize the use of technology for their desired retirement lifestyle while trying to dispel any overarching fear that exists about it.


Is Learning or Using Technology Really Necessary?


Some people may ask why the need to access the Internet or use the new technological tools out there when they’ve been doing fine without them for all those years. Remember, no one is forcing you to use them but at the same time, the earlier you learn to do simple things, the easier and sometimes quicker it will be to get certain things accomplished.   Do you want to keep track of your living expenses so you can be more aware and conscious of your spending choices? Think about using a basic computer programme to assist you with this as it can cut down on the paper you would otherwise use while organizing these expenses.  Ask a relative, family member or friend who you trust and who has the patience to teach you the basic aspects of the computer, Internet and even online/telebanking.


How Does It Fit with My Lifestyle?


Technological tools can accommodate your planned lifestyle in ways that reduce time consuming activities especially if you are constrained physically. Many retirees are using Internet-based businesses to combat the lackluster economy while others use it to meet people and volunteer online via virtual volunteering such as UN Online Volunteering.


As a retiree, there are various discounts available when accessing certain services but with the advent of Internet and online services/banking, it really brings these products and services to your doorstep without having to necessarily spend money on transportation to access the aforementioned. For example, if you teach part-time or do some consulting on the side, you can go online to promote yourself in the classifieds or speak to one of your business prospects or students via Skype, a free internet programme that allows people to communicate anywhere in the world for free.  There is also TiVo and DVR that allows you to manage and record your favourite shows when you are not able to see them or just to watch again when you want to.

Risks to Retirees Using some Technology


As with most things in life, and even life in general, there are risks.  Many technological advances bring with them associated risks, such as:


1.       Cyber crimes- More and more retirees are being targeted by unscrupulous persons for online fraud and scams. An example of these is the pervasive lotto scams that consist of persons tricking senior citizens/retirees out of a lot of money by telling them they have won the lotto or a vast amount of money, which actually turns out to be a hoax.



2.       Invasion of privacy- Reconsider your privacy options, as with the onslaught of new technology, your personal information is now even more prone to hackers, not just via the Internet but also when using a cell phone or debit/credit card or the ATM.




Despite these risks, there are ways to prevent or minimize them and again it would be wise to seek assistance from a relative or friend who is tech-savvy to give you some precautionary measures to take or alternatively you could read the newspaper as they sometimes have special features on this topic.


Your retirement lifestyle will ultimately be left up to you and/or your spouse to decide and in partnership with your friends and family, your email; Facebook page; online banking website; even your cell phone will make keeping in touch and learning new things that much more convenient to do.

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