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Planning Retirement Online

Convenience

Maybe the biggest advantage of the internet is that, for a whole host of tasks, it is very convenient. We can do lots of things that would normally take hours on end and involve many phone calls or trips out to places quickly and efficiently in the comfort of our own home. The other pages of the Guide all show things that we can do that will save time, effort and, in many cases, money.

However, before you use the internet to do all these things, do take heed of the word of caution on the Social Contact  page. There is a danger of spending too much time on the internet and not getting out enough so do beware of that.

Making the Most of the Internet links

Having said that, there is no doubt that the internet can be a boon when doing lots of things upon which we may not want to spend too much time; it's a question of getting the balance right.

A very good example is shopping. If we have a big food shop to do, we can do it all online and get the supermarket to deliver it for you for a small cost. Try Tesco or Sainsbury's to see how it works and to get a feel for it. In certain circumstances, delivery might even be free.

We can, of course, do any sort of shopping over the internet and it should, indeed, form part of our shopping around process (see the Shopping Around page of this Guide). Amazon is a very good example of an on-line shopping website that is quick, efficient and cheaper than the shops. We can buy a whole range of items through Amazon, not just books, for which it is probably best known.

Banking is another example of an activity that is made very simple and convenient over the internet. All of the major banks have a facility through which you can conduct your everyday banking over the internet - paying money in, paying bills and so on. There are also exclusive online banks. These are owned by the major financial institutions but are independent of them. An example is Cahoot, which is owned by Abbey National (which, in turn is now owned by the Spanish bank Santander!) You can do almost all your banking through these banks and you also get a much better rate of interest on your money. If you are not concerned about the security of your money in an internet bank, they are worth investigating.

Booking tickets is another area where the internet is very convenient. Train tickets are a very good example. Through Trainline, we can buy our rail tickets and have them delivered to us by first-class post at no extra cost. Never more need we stand waiting in a long queue at the station waiting to get our ticket. Similarly, we can buy theatre tickets and have them sent to us or we can collect them at the box office when we go.

Through lastminute.com we can buy a whole range of things online, from theatre tickets to flights and holidays. We can even reserve a table at our favourite restaurant.

Another area of activity that has been made much simpler and more convenient by the internet is buying and selling things. Previously, to buy or sell things, we had to hawk them round various dealers, send them to auction or spend time at car boot sales. Through websites such as ebay we can now buy and sell anything we wish from the comfort of our own home.

Similarly, there are various websites through which we can swap things, which can make life cheaper and easier. Try freecycle, which is a voluntary organisation run in local groups through which we can swap all manner of items. The overall objective is a green one in that it aims to keep things out of landfill sites. If you want to swap books with people and therefore save money on them, go to Read it Swap it where you can swap all your reading material. You can change your personal library without leaving the home.

These are just a few of the things that we can all do through the internet that will make life easier and more convenient for us. Depending on what we wish to do, there are lots of other ways in which the internet can help make life simpler, but get a feel for it with some of these ideas and then expand your internet activities to fit your own needs.

You can do your research through typing in the relevant words into Google or your own search engine. You can then put the web sites you think you'll use regularly into your favourites so that you're only a click away.

Now click on the links in the box to read the rest of the Guide. Laterlife is, of course, a convenient place to look for all sorts of things to help you enjoy your later life; just click on the site map and site search below and find what you're looking for.

This Guide to Making the Most of the Internet is written by Retirement Specialist Dave Sinclair supported by members of the LaterLife team. As well as writing on retirement matters Dave is Training Director at LaterLife and responsible for the content and continuous improvement of LaterLife's Retirement Courses.
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