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Planning Retirement Online

Over 50s reveal their internet wish list

                                August 2007


Over 50s reveal their internet wish list


Earning money, video conferencing relatives and tracking their pensions are just some of the things that the over 50s long to be able to do online, according to research released today. The study was commissioned by public services supersite Directgov to find out what the UK population want from online services in the future.

In the study, around 1,000 people aged over 50 were asked what service they would most like from the internet in the future. One in five said that being able to find comprehensive information about local services for their age group, including transport, leisure, learning and health facilities would most improve their lives.

With empty nesters and grandparents making up a big proportion of this age group, one in six most wanted to use the net to stay in better touch with friends and family via webcams and video conferencing.

For the younger age group (50-54s), planning for retirement is a top priority, with one in seven hoping to be able to track their pensions online in the future and nearly one in ten wanting the opportunity to put their years of experience to good use by using the internet to make money.

With the lure of free time after retirement, a bespoke service that would enable them to plan their new life was the most wanted by 6% of over 50s, and the internet being specially designed to be accessible for all, regardless of any physical health condition (such as arthritis or poor eyesight) was the most desired service for one in 25 respondents.

Interestingly, some of the services most desired by over 50s already exist or will be available in the near future on certain websites. This, coupled with the fact that only 48% of over 50s feel the internet has made their life better compared with the national average of 68%, suggests that this generation may be failing to take advantage of the World Wide Web.

So what about other services already available online? Almost a third of over 50s revealed that keeping in contact with friends and family by email is the most useful service, while almost a quarter, rising to over a third of 50-54s, named being able to book travel as the most helpful service available online.

An eighth of over 50s revealed they find the internet most useful for researching information on their hobbies, such as gardening and cooking, and 6% of respondents referenced the ability to keep in touch with the latest news as their key online service.

A spokesperson for Directgov, explains the thinking behind this study: “This project helps us understand what information people want and scope out the future of online services. For over 50s, it seems that services which would allow them to feel even more connected – both to their communities and to absent loved ones – would be the most popular.”

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