Digital days of our lives

May 2018

Transitioning to retirement is one of life’s biggest adjustments. Another adjustment is embracing the fast-paced digital world. Combining both doesn’t need to—nor should be—a colossal challenge. Does the thought of a smart device or online access intimidate you?

Australians aged 55 years or older are least engaged with internet usage. And as people live longer, they’re spending more time in retirement and keen to get the most out of these years. Could the digital world play a major role later in your life? There are some major benefits to becoming better engaged and familiar with advances in digital technology that can help shape a more positive ageing experience.

So how can the digital world benefit you?

Staying sharp

Not so long ago, the definition of retirement was ‘tools down’ and much needed time for leisure activities. As society, and our life expectancy, continues to change and evolve, retirees are considering a variety of options to fill their retirement. While some might continue to work but scale down their hours, others entertain the idea of taking a break and then returning to work, but might find themselves battling preconceptions of being an ‘older’ worker re-entering the workforce.

Technology is offering new options and flexibility for retirees keen to keep working and the freedom to accept whatever opportunities might be available while also aligning to their lifestyles. The ease and convenience of smartphones and tablets allows retirees to be productive from home, the beachfront or the playground with their grandkids.

Listen to our podcast to find out about the new wave of finance disruptors are changing the way we spend, save and grow our money.

Staying connected

While physical health becomes a growing concern later in life, our wellbeing relates strongly to our ability to maintain a social life. Gone are the days where an international phone call, or even a written letter, seemed the most obvious ways to keep in touch. In the digital age, more people are opting for applications like Skype—with its video functionality—to easily stay connected with family and friends across the world.

More broadly, other online platforms deliberately target ageing retirees to encourage them to stay online and connected with their peers. Online community forum Connected Living (currently available in the US only) is helping to achieve this and has already signed up more than 60,000 users. 

Staying healthy

Keeping track of one’s physical data can be an administrative nightmare. But electronic devices such as Fitbits, activity trackers and other apps designed to monitor your health, exercise, food, weight and sleep continue to be refined over time, making it even less of a burden for retirees to record and report. Monitoring weight, blood-glucose levels and other vitals has never been easier.

Other materials such as clothes are also slated to go high-tech. Smart minerals and sensors woven into underwear will detect retirees’ activity levels and heart rates.

And if that seems like a great digital advancement, the development of robots (operated by a remote nurse) can roam about the home to check in on retirees and perform a health check.

Other tech that could redefine how we go about our lives

Digital advice

While robots continue to make awe-inspiring advancements in manufacturing and medicines, a new platform to offer people financial advice delivered online via computer, tablet or smartphone (known as robo-advice) is starting to gather firm interest. While it’s gathering pace in Australia, it’s inevitable that this new service could see people getting their financial advice without having to speak a single word to a financial adviser.

Driverless cars

We’ve already been introduced to cars that can park themselves, and driverless trains are a common part of a commuter’s life in Singapore, but what about driverless cars?

Taking the hassle out of driving will help those no longer physically able to drive. The race to create this invention is well underway, with Tesla and Google already making leaps and bounds over other car manufacturers.

3D printing

3D printing is a recent creation which continues to find new ways to innovate our daily lives. It’s enabled developers to create a myriad of customised products and scientists have dipped their toe into 3D printing which has led to the creation of human joints and prosthetics.

Checkout-less shopping

Imagine a world where you wander through your local convenience store or supermarket, filling your pockets or trolley with all of your grocery items, only to walk out of the store without opening your wallet? This is already a reality for some shoppers.

Amazon has recently opened their new checkout-less convenience store, Amazon Go. Their brick and mortar store is so hi-tech that it even makes online shopping seem tedious and frustrating. Customers are required to present their Amazon Go app at the gates located at the store’s entry point and exit through those same gates on their way out. The gates act as sensors, so after the customer walks out the door, the app charges a credit card and provides a digital receipt.

It’s ok to embrace change

Keeping active with the digital world well into your retirement can work to your advantage and work to keep you healthy and happy. It might be time to reimagine your retirement and brace for an exciting new world.