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Actionable Steps for Retirees to Becoming Tech Savvy

As the world locked down during COVID, many aspects of our lives changed, in some cases, permanently. One of these changes is the reliance on technology, and unlike the mask mandate, which is largely lifted, there's no end in sight for digital transformation. 

In hindsight, the glide path for digital transformation was evident prior to the pandemic. 

The retail industry has witnessed a massive digital transformation with the rise of e-commerce. Traditional brick-and-mortar stores have expanded their online presence, offering customers the convenience of shopping from anywhere at any time. Retailers have implemented online catalogs, personalized recommendations, and streamlined checkout processes. Financial institutions have implemented advanced security measures, such as biometric authentication and encryption, to protect customer data. 

In the aftermath of COVID, technologies like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are being utilized to enhance the online shopping experience by allowing customers to virtually try on clothes or visualize furniture in their homes. Digital meetings (Zoom) have become an industry standard, no matter which industry. Telemedicine, Contactless deliveries, and E-Learning Platforms are also more commonplace than ever. 

Although change can be overwhelming, it can also be helpful. As a financial advisor working with retirees, I see just how often technology's potential is overlooked. There are so many little ways that technology can be implemented to make life easier and more efficient, and I'll provide examples of when (and how) you can use it. 

In conclusion, technology is hard to escape — helping your grandkids with homework, looking at a restaurant's menu, or even having a meeting with your doctor or financial professional may require you to be a Tech-Savvy Retiree. Here are some best practices to help you navigate today's digital world and utilize technology in your daily lives: 


You need a password for everything nowadays, and keeping track of them, especially as they change, can be daunting. Just this week I helped a client get signed up for online portals, and as we sat there, he pulled out a contact book and flipped through it until he found a blank page and wrote down his password. Two days later — I got a call requesting a password reset. 

If you think forgetting the login info to a website is bad, imagine being the beneficiary of a deceased family member and having to figure out ALL their logins to pay bills, get statements, tax returns, etc. — it's a nightmare! 

Fortunately, technology can help you organize your login credentials and keep them that way using password managers.

If you have a smartphone, you likely have a password manager built in. If you're an iPhone user, you have something called iCloud Keychain (How to Use iCloud Keychain! (iPhone & Mac) and if you're an Android user, Google Password Manager (support.google.com) is the default option.

What is a password manager? 

A password manager securely stores and manages passwords for online accounts. It can generate strong, unique passwords, auto-fill login fields, and encrypts the stored data. Users access their passwords with a master password. Benefits include enhanced security, convenience, time savings, and improved password practices. 

There are other Password managers available outside of Google and Apple. I personally use LastPass (youtube.com) across both operating systems. 

TIP 2:  Calendar & Reminders using Siri

Organizing your calendar and making reminders with technology could make your life so much easier. It's more and more common that people to reach for their phones instead of pen & paper to mark their calendars. But I'm here to tell you, you don't even need to do all that — you can just ask your phone to do it for you!

Next time you're marking your calendar, just say 'Siri, put Meet with KWB on my calendar for June 29th, 2023, and create a reminder 5 days prior" and you're done. Not only did you mark your calendar, but you'll also get a reminder notification 5 days in advance. 

The reminders feature is especially cool because you can link certain reminders to certain situations/events. 

For example, I can never remember my friend's gate code to enter his apartment complex and I don't want to scroll through my messages until I find it. I can ask Siri to 'remind me the gate code is 0000 when I approach 617 S. Ivy Ave, Monrovia'. 

This means the reminder doesn’t pop up until you approach the location. 

Another useful feature of the Reminders app is its shareability. Whenever I'm at home cooking and notice I'm running low on something, I say 'Siri, add Milk to my grocery list reminder'. I can share this list with anybody, and it's updated in real-time. So if my sister is shopping for groceries, she can open the reminders app and see the newly added item, once she gets it, she marks it complete and it goes away. This makes collaborative planning for camping, trips, etc. so much easier. 


I often see retirees come into meetings with neatly organized binders, divided up into different topics, some containing statements, others — taxes. But each year the binder would get thicker and thicker and if you needed to find a specific page, you might need to do some flipping around.

While I admire the organization of it, it takes time to print the statements, and put them in the binder, just to throw them away a few years later. This is another area that technology can simplify. 

Before I began keeping digital files, I had different folders for different things/topics. I had a file for coursework, educational content, investment account statements, bank account statements, car insurance info, etc. 

It took me a few hours but one evening I was able to scan everything and save it on my computer. Not only did I clear up space and got rid of all the paperwork, but I also made it much easier to find information. I can simply search my computer for key terms, and it'll show me the files that contain them. I can also copy/paste the contents of the scanned documents — another time-saving benefit of scanning.

I understand not everyone has a scanner, but for those of you with iPhones - you can use the Notes app to scan, search, sign, mark, and magnify, documents (support.apple.com). 


You don't want to connect to public Wi-Fi (at airports, coffee shops, hotels, etc.). On one hand, it's free and it has gotten a lot safer than it used to be, but there's still a risk of hackers accessing your information. Without getting technical about WPA2 connectivity issues and the upgrades in safety that were released, it's still not advisable to connect to public Wi-Fi, especially if you can connect to the internet without it. 

iPhones and iPads have a 'Hotspot' feature, which uses the phone’s cellular connection to create its own Wi-Fi that your computer can connect to. This works anywhere you have a decent cellular connection. The only downside is that it can eat up your data if you don't have an unlimited plan, so use it with caution. 


Individuals who are less familiar with cybersecurity practices and may lack awareness of potential risks are often more vulnerable to attacks. This includes seniors, children, and those who have limited exposure to technology or lack digital literacy. Here are some of the most common scams individuals deal with:

1. Phishing Scams: Phishing scams typically involve fraudulent emails, messages, or websites that impersonate reputable organizations or individuals to trick recipients into revealing sensitive information, such as passwords, credit card details, or social security numbers.

2. Online Purchase Scams: These scams involve fraudulent sellers on e-commerce platforms or classified ads. Victims may pay for products or services that are never delivered or receive counterfeit or substandard items.

3. Tech Support Scams: Scammers pose as technical support representatives and contact individuals, claiming that their computers or devices are infected with malware or experiencing issues. They persuade victims to provide remote access or pay for unnecessary software or services.

4. Romance Scams: Scammers build fake online romantic relationships, typically on dating websites or social media platforms, to gain victims' trust. They often exploit emotions and request money for various reasons, such as medical emergencies or travel expenses, without ever intending to meet in person.

5. Lottery or Sweepstakes Scams: Scammers inform individuals that they have won a lottery or sweepstakes and request payment of fees or personal information to claim the prize. There is no actual prize, and victims end up losing money or becoming victims of identity theft.

6. Investment and Ponzi Schemes: Fraudulent investment schemes promise high returns with little risk. Scammers convince individuals to invest money in non-existent or fraudulent ventures, often relying on the funds of new investors to pay returns to earlier investors.

7. Charity Scams: Scammers take advantage of individuals' generosity by posing as charitable organizations during natural disasters or other crises. They request donations, but the funds never reach the intended beneficiaries.

To protect against these scams, individuals should:

  • Be cautious about sharing personal info and verify when in doubt, especially if there are requests for payment for services or prizes.
  • Keep software and devices up to date with the latest security patches.
  • Use strong, hard-to-guess passwords (or a password manager).
  • Avoid public Wi-Fi. 


Technology can be overwhelming, especially when its widespread implementation is happening so fast. But it's important to see that technology can also be helpful. These tips should help make navigating the digital world easier and safer.

~ Igor Nikachin