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Saturday, May 18, 2024

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Managing the Technology Battle

Even if we don’t like to admit it, technology is a battle for most of us. Many now planning retirement, or those in it already, grew up without the Internet, Google, Facebook LinkedIn Instagram or anyone of the increasing number of infotech apps now taken for granted.

We have had to do our learning in the fly and most of the time we use only what is necessary to get by with making WhatsApp calls to the kids in Australia or doing self-diagnosis and amateur medical research with Google. Of course e-mail has been a reality for a long time and nobody writes letters anymore. We rely instead on text messages and twitter

The “Boomer Generation” those born between 1946 and 1964,retiring in large numbers now, grew up with a reasonably sound understanding of English grammar and the numbers that enable them to do rudimentary calculations. These skills, it appears are now less important and we are down to relying on Spellcheck and calculators

Evidence of our embarrassment and Luddite lives is how we immediately look for a child or adolescent when we have a technology problem. We laugh at it but we know that they will solve the problem we have been struggling through, in a flash.

Evidence of our embarrassment and Luddite lives is how we immediately look for a child or adolescent when we have a technology problem. We laugh at it but we know that they will solve the problem we have been struggling through, in a flash.

One of the key drivers that has helped us get some of this together has been our need to stay in touch with family and friends. The smart phone has not only provided us with a means to make payments or draw money, but parents can now keep track of their children any time of the day (or night!) The South African diaspora, spread all over the world now, can at least have some of the pain addressed by making cheap WhatsApp contact.

Gradually retirees are being dragged along the technology incline and although there is still a lot of muddling, we have been slowly getting there. Now we are holding tight and digesting the new wave of infotech and biotech. Artificial Intelligence and 3D printing are telling us that it is all, once again, going to change. Self-driving cars and robots quietly taking over many of the routine jobs. If they will admit it, it is even frightening for Millennials and Generation Xers Many competent accountants and lawyers are in line for being replaced. So are engineers and medical professionals.


It is not just that technology can be frightening. It is that for many retirees they have a sense now of sitting on the outside. They are no longer part of the mainstream of daily life. It is like being in a conversation where everyone else is communicating and has an opinion, but you can’t even talk or express yourself. You don’t even know your place in the conversation.

We are surrounded by people who don’t read newspapers anymore and who prefer not to read proper books but rather to go for the on-line stuff; podcasts and Facebook. The bottom-line is that technology can be an isolator compounding some of the sense of lonely exclusion felt by many retirees.

Technology, let’s admit it, has made our lives much easier and more convenient. But it also has a downside. It is inclined to alienate those that were not into it from the start; people who grew up with it. To bring retirees back into the fold it might not be a bad idea for colleges and training institutions to offer “catch up” programs. Maybe the banks and financial institutions that invest the pension funds and make a living off retiree savings could do the honors and set up technology coaching sessions. Technology should not be so baffling anymore.



Johann
Johannhttp://www.resetretirement.com
Johann is the founding partner of Reset Retirement where we focus on assisting people with planning for the non-financial aspects of their lives after full-time work. He had a long career in executive search and leadership as the founding partner and chairman of Heidrick & Struggles in South Africa where he was the head of the company’s board practice.

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