Americans 50+ Are Becoming Financially Tech Savvy
Now, this new generation of seniors is changing what it means to age, challenging stereotypes and ageism that is pervasive in American culture. One of the biggest ways they are doing that is through their use of technology. New research by AARP has found, despite what many people think, adults fifty years old and older are becoming increasingly tech-savvy.
Updated on Aug 28 2019
There’s no question that the Baby Boomer generation has changed the world. Now, this new generation of seniors is changing what it means to age, challenging stereotypes and ageism that is pervasive in American culture. One of the biggest ways they are doing that is through their use of technology. New research by AARP has found, despite what many people think, adults fifty years old and older are becoming increasingly tech-savvy.
Learn more about the benefits of technology and the top tech activities for people over 50.
Top Tech Activities for People Over 50
A recent survey from AARP challenges the assumption that seniors rely less on technology than younger generations. In fact, 91 percent of respondents over the age of 50 reported using a computer and 94 percent said technology helps them keep in touch with friends and family. To further challenge the stereotype, more than 80 percent of Americans between the ages of 50 to 64 have smartphones, the same as the general population.
Additionally, the survey revealed that more than 55 million Americans over the age of 50 are interested in technology that can enrich their lives, or make their lives easier. Top tech activities among adults over 50, regardless of device, rank as follows:
- Communication (90 percent)
- Surf the web (86 percent)
- Shop or make purchases (81 percent)
- News or current events (80 percent)
- Directions (77 percent)
- Social media (71 percent)
- Banking (71 percent)
However, even as 71 percent of adults over 50 are using technology for banking and financial services, confidence in online safety remains low. In fact, only 18 percent of adults over 50 said they were confident or extremely confident in their online safety.
The Role of Technology for Financial Planning
Even as low as confidence in online safety is among seniors, more seniors trusted banks and financial institutions to keep their information private. The survey found that 48 percent of seniors over 50 banks and financial institutions, much higher than other organizations like healthcare companies (32 percent), online retailers (25 percent), and even the federal government (22 percent).
While it is important to be safe online, especially with financial accounts, there are several benefits of technology for seniors when it comes to financial planning. Financial technology is becoming so pervasive in the industry, that it is referred to simply as ‘fintech’. Fintech developments can greatly benefit seniors, allowing them more financial freedom and insight.
Online bill pay and automatic withdrawals can help seniors manage bills, even when traveling. This can be especially helpful for seniors transitioning into retirement, moving, or coping with the early stages of dementia.
Fintech can also help caregivers and trusted family members gain greater insight into the financial situation of a senior loved one. Being able to see a loved one’s financial status, with their permission, can be critical in a medical emergency. It can also help families discuss long-term care plans, end-of-life care options, estate planning, and wills.
Today’s seniors are using technology in new and exciting ways. They are among the top consumers of technology and their impact on fintech can not be understated. As helpful as technology is, especially in the financial sector, it is always a good idea to have a trusted financial advisor review any online financial investments. Financial advisors, who are fiduciaries, act in the best interest of their clients and can conduct a holistic financial review, helping seniors spot security concerns or pitfalls in retirement planning.
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