All in One Place- The Internet’s Role in Financial Support for Seniors

According to research by the University of Alabama, as individuals age one of the first things to slip is their ability to manage their finances. As we age, even the slightest cognitive losses affect the extent to which we can handle our money, ranging from forgetting to pay bills to misjudging an offer that had always seemed “too good to be true.” Luckily, for every problem there is a solution. And today, for every problem there is someone developing the technology to help.

That being said, developing technology that older generations are willing to embrace can be a challenge. Especially as it is often assumed that older individuals tend to be technologically adverse. However, according to data by the Pew Research Center, the percentage of Seniors age 65+ who go online is rising, up to 59% in 2013 from 14% in 2000. When broken down by age group, 68% of those 70-74; 47% of those 75-79 and 37% of elders 80+ report going online. Of those who do go online, the majority does so on a daily basis. And these are the generations that did not grow up with the internet as a part of their daily lives. As younger generations age, Senior participation on the internet will continue to climb. For this reason, there is a call for developers to provide more efficient online support in order to improve the quality of service offered by companies.

A new services offered by a big-name player is the Vanguard Personal Advisor Services which will manage your investments as well as give you maximum access to their financial planners. In other words, for 0.3% of assets a year, the service will allocate your portfolio, manage your distributions, rebalance your holdings, as well as allow you to talk to a human being on the other end of the phone. In addition to all this, it will also allow you to coordinate with you children so as to provide support in the case that you desire to pass money to your children. The service is expected to officially launch sometime next year.

Another services recommended for the elderly is PersonalCapital.com, an online dashboard on which you can link your accounts and allow them to be monitored by someone (for example your child) you trust. Whoever you choose to help you monitor your accounts for you cannot access the accounts themselves, but can see transactions go through and can look out for any strange looking purchases. PersonalCapital puts all your accounts in one place, making it easy to keep an eye on things.

The biggest problem in the financial lives of affluent Americans is chaos,’’ says Bill Harris, CEO. “They have so much money in so many accounts at so many different financial institutions, that it’s just a circus.”

As life continues to become more and more chaotic, the role of the Internet is and will continue to become the glue that holds many aspects of our lives together.

 

Read more here- “New Online Services Could Help Elders Manage Money, Avoid Financial Abuse,” (Janet Novack, Forbes)

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Olivia is a graduate of Villanova University where she studied Economics and History, minoring in Gender and Women's Studies. She also has experience working with federal legislatures on health care policy, women's issues, and Internet safety.

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