When I first started out in financial services more than 30 years ago, most folks received quarterly paper statements from their advisors or custodians updating them on how their accounts were doing. Today, retirees can use their phones to check on their nest eggs minute by minute if they want to … and, potentially, drive themselves crazy in the process.
Fortunately, technology is also making life less stressful and more enjoyable for seniors. Online banking and bill payment can streamline managing your household finances. Post-pandemic, you’re probably a video chatting pro. And you might find that some of the items on this list can improve other aspects of your daily retirement experience as well.
1. Smart watches.
While there are plenty of folks who are still devoted to their Fitbits and other fitness trackers, smartwatches that connect to your cell phone include many of those same features in a more robust package. Smartwatches can count your steps, monitor your heart rate and blood oxygen levels, and track your workouts. You can also use them to set reminders for your medications and other important events on your schedule. And if, deep down, you know you spend more time on your phone than you should, a smartwatch can be a great baby step towards unplugging. Put your phone out of reach and it’s still connected to your watch, so you’ll be notified if an important phone call or text message comes in.
2. Grocery delivery.
Food delivery services have been around for years, but during the pandemic many local grocery stores started their own programs. If you have trouble getting around, ordering your groceries online and having them delivered can be a real lifesaver. Or, you could request curbside pickup and have a friend or family member grab your groceries for you. In addition to the ease, ordering your groceries can also help you stick to your monthly budget, eat healthier, and get creative with your meal rotation. You could even learn something new! Instead of another week of fast food, plan out a week of cooking through one of your cookbooks and let someone else do the shopping for you.
3. Smart home devices.
A smart watch isn’t the only thing that you can connect to your phone. If you’re willing to invest in some new household tech you can click, swipe, and even use your voice to turn on your TV, adjust the lights, check who’s ringing your doorbell, call your grandkids, or cue up your favorite episode of Keen on Retirement (or another podcast). For additional peace of mind, folks who spend a large part of their day alone can install smart sensors that monitor movements and send out alerts if something seems wrong. If you don’t enjoy setting up electronics, getting all these devices to talk to each other might be a bit of a challenge. It might be worth paying for professional installation or bribing your grandkids with fresh cookies.
You have probably read about ChatGPT, the revolutionary chatbot that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to do all sorts of things. The tech is so impressive that professionals in every field from copywriting and website design to college professors are worried AI might soon put them out of a job.
If you use Microsoft’s Edge browser, you can try ChatGPT through the Bing search engine. You can also go to OpenAI’s website and create a free account, although sometimes the website does get overloaded.
Once you’re in, type questions or requests into the chat window, just as if you were Googling something. Instead of sending you to a list of ranked webpages, ChatGPT will scour its knowledge base and respond to you like you were having a conversation. You could ask ChatGPT:
• Act as a travel agent. Suggest an itinerary for a trip to Phoenix over the 4th of July, including the most affordable airfare and hotels.
• Act like you are a party planner. What are some creative ideas for my husband’s retirement party?
• Be my personal assistant. Create a new morning routine for me that includes time to walk one mile, read the news, and cook myself breakfast.
• Act like you are a standup comedian. Tell me a joke about golf I can use the next time I’m at the club.
• Summarize the following article for me using bullet points.
• You are a youth soccer coach. Design a one-hour practice plan for a team of 8-year-olds.
ChatGPT can also handle simple language tasks, like proofreading and translation, and answer math and science questions.
A lot of the work ChatGPT does is amazing. But, like any internet search, sometimes its answers are not totally accurate. Depending on what you ask it to do, you might get a very good rough draft of an answer that still needs a human touch.
Which is why you shouldn’t rely on ChatGPT for financial or investment advice!
Sure, tech is going to become a bigger and bigger part of our lives, even as we age into our golden years. And you can search online for basic information about big topics like Roth IRAs, Social Security, the 4% rule, and estate planning. But unless you’re working with human advisors, like my team at Keen Wealth, you’ll be less likely to find the accurate answers about your money that are specific to your life’s situation.
Get in touch with Keen Wealth and let’s talk about what our personalized, comprehensive planning process can do for you and your money.
Bill Keen is a financial advisor with nearly 30 years of industry experience. As the founder and CEO of Keen Wealth Advisors, a registered investment advisory firm, he focuses on providing personalized retirement planning designed to help people thrive before and during their retirement years. With a passion for educating others, Bill regularly blogs about retirement planning, hosts the podcast Keen on Retirement, and has contributed to Forbes, U.S. News and World Report, Reuters, Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch, Yahoo Finance, and other publications. Based in Overland Park, Kansas, Bill and his team work with clients throughout the greater Kansas City area and across the nation. To learn more, connect with him on LinkedIn or visit www.keenwealthadvisors.com.
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