Technology and Later Life Finance: The Changing Retiree Demographics

Steven Bromley Technical Services Department Manager

Published on 13th February 2022

Ask anyone who works in retirement planning, and they'll all say the same thing: the era of the stereotypical slippers and rocking chair retiree has long been a thing of the past.

These days, those enjoying their later years are more active, more ambitious, and more aspirational than ever before. They know what they want, they've a fair idea of how to achieve it, and in the instances where they might not, they've very clear expectations when seeking assistance.

Retirees and technology

That increasing confidence in seeking assistance has undoubtedly filtered into their relationship with technology - aside from the odd exception or outlier, we're likely seeing the tail end of the final generation of retirees who've never interacted with modern technology.

As a minimum, many who've worked up to and including the 90s would have almost certainly have had a need to interact with computers as part of their job, while the increasing move towards online banking and accompanying mobile solutions will have given many a reason to further develop their technological literacy.

Think of it this way: someone who is retiring today at 65 will potentially have had 10-12 years of smartphone usage (whether for work or leisure purposes.)

Indeed, research from technological giant Ericsson released in 2021 actually pointed towards seniors rapidly closing the gap to younger generations when it came to smartphone usage in the run up to the pandemic, with a particular spike among those aged 60-69.

Furthermore, the likely reason for this trend plateauing was not due to this cohort using technology less, but rather younger generations using it more, as meetings and many of their daily activities pivoted to online mediums. Naturally, this pattern will continue as greater numbers of digitally experienced seniors enter retirement (and the adjacent age groups) with a greater ability to pick up new skills alongside their existing skills and technological literacy.

Online behaviour among the over-55s

Looking at the patterns among this generation of eight countries - Brazil, China, Germany, India, Italy, Spain, the UK, and the US - Ericsson's research saw that the frequency of people aged 65-69 who used their smartphones for daily internet browsing rose from 47% to 81% between 2016 and the early stages of the pandemic in 2020.

Additionally, the research found increases in:

  • Daily instant messaging (71%, up from 45%)
  • Social networks (69%, up from 43%)
  • Watching videos (51%, up from 18%)
  • Full-length movie watching (46%, up from 18%)

As a consequence, there's a duty among those of us who work closely with the later life demographic, to recognise these changing patterns and ensure that provisions and offerings are in place to meet these changing customer needs.

Technology's role in later life finance

Many will have experienced the added convenience of digital financial management platforms through online banking and insurance management and will have come to expect this level of convenience and self-management ability across their financial products.

As a result, we created our MyPure online account management platform for our lifetime mortgage customers, enabling them to:

  • View their accounts, balances and transactions
  • Download documents such as annual statements
  • Receive new document notifications
  • Complete their Certificate of Continuing Occupancy online

Customers with a drawdown lifetime mortgage will be able to apply for a cash release online, streamlining the process compared to postal methods.

The potential for additional queries will also be reduced as applicants will be guided throughout the journey to ensure all necessary information is captured. Ad-hoc payments can be made via MyPure as an added convenience for plan holders, with the platform also enabling the set-up of recurring regular payments if customers so wish.

The impact on the equity release market

With the equity release market having grown sixfold since 2018, we have seen greater audience diversification and a real need to identify, understand, and meet their varying needs. Technology lies at the heart of that, adding convenience and additional ways to achieve their financial goals, and we're incredibly proud to be leading the way within the equity release space.

Click here to learn about how MyPure is enhancing our customers' journey

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