Internally we have a fun debate about which is the better technology, Apple or Android. I will not tell you exactly where I fall but let’s just say I do not like apples…the fruit variety or the technology variety! Anyway, many stories will be shared for years about the uniqueness of this time period caused by COVID-19.
Technology, both Apple and Android, have helped to bridge some of the gaps that Covid-19 opened between us, our loved ones, and our communities. In my family, we had at least two birthday parties via Zoom, my kindergartener connected with his classmates weekly on Zoom and our Sunday after church lunch with friends was replaced with a Google Hangouts video chat.
For those who were not comfortable with technology before the pandemic began, they were put in the uncomfortable position of being forced to adopt technology into their everyday lives to keep up with their family and friends. Online news services and social media became essential to keep up on current events and important health and safety developments.
So, now that you are a Zoom aficionado, you might be wondering, what is next? How can you use the technology skills you were forced to develop during this pandemic to develop the ideal version of yourself and your family’s future?
Here are three areas that technology can help with that process:
1. Monitoring and improving your health.
Admittedly, I am a tech geek. My watch tells me exactly how far I have biked, hiked, kayaked, run, how well I slept…and it even tells time! You may not need or want that much information, but fitness tracking has exploded beyond the Fitbit bracelets many people are wearing. Most smartphones have basic apps built-in that keep track of how much you are moving during the day. Dig a little deeper into those apps and you’ll find ways to track your diet, notifications that will nudge you off the couch, remind you to take medication, and even exercise routines you can follow at home.
To maintain social distancing during Covid-19, many doctors are moving some of their services online. Video chat can be a safe and secure way to get non-emergency medical advice without having to go to a doctor’s office. These advances could also put more of your medical information online, where it is easier for you to access and share with other doctors and specialists.
2. Developing hobbies and pursuing higher learning.
I have a hobby problem…too many. So many skilled professionals used their talents and expertise to help us learn and grow during Covid-19. Online videos and mini-classes taught us to exercise, bake, draw, play an instrument, and learn new languages, all from the comfort of home.
If learning something new during Covid-19 has sparked an interest in continuing your education, keep going. It is likely your local university or community college offers a wide variety of online classes. Many institutions also offer heavily discounted or even free tuition for seniors. There are also sites like Coursera or edX that let you choose between auditing classes or taking a more serious track towards college credit.
For something a little less regimented, many online platforms will help you develop hobbies and casual interests into real talents. Scroll past the nonsense and YouTube can be a fantastic educational resource. Many content creators even structure their videos as sequential lessons designed to ramp up challenges as your skills increase. Your local gym, art studio, or country club might also have branched into online classes during the pandemic.
3. Tracking Your Financial Picture.
Getting comfortable with accessing your financial information online can be a little scary. However, if you follow the same common sense you use when you banish fishy emails to your spam folder, you will be able to check in on your accounts with confidence and ease. You might also start moving more of your bill payments online. Automated Bill Pay can help ensure you are making payments on time and sticking within your budget.
Speaking of budgets, one of the biggest adjustments that retirees face is transitioning from living off a regular paycheck to living off a fixed income. Retirement might be the first time in your life that you have had to set – and stick to – a strict monthly budget. Apps and online services can help you get started with budgeting and adjust, as necessary. You can also use these apps to track progress towards some of your retirement goals. Watching the money you have earmarked for a dream vacation will keep you motivated to hit that goal and brings excitement to plan with your spouse.
Of course, there is another important part of your financial planning that you can access online: your financial advisor. We are always available for a video chat or to work through one of our retirement planning tools with you. In addition, our client portal allows you to link outside accounts, like a 401(k), 403(b), or track your home’s value through Zillow so you have one place to see your entire financial picture.
The old saying, “necessity is the driver of great invention” may not perfectly apply to this situation. After all, technology has been a part of our lives for quite some time, but COVID-19 made it necessary to adopt technology, whether we wanted to or not.
We would be happy to schedule a video call or phone call to discuss the technology available at Stewardship Advisors that can increase your confidence in your financial future.