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Planning Retirement Online

Sources of Information

The internet is now the prime source for information on any topic. We no longer need to take up acres of shelf space with the Encyclopaedia Britannica - all the information we need is on the internet and, by and large it's up-to-date. (By the way, you can buy the Britannica in book or DVD form over the internet from their website. You can buy the online version, too.)

However, be careful because, just as with newspapers, you can't believe everything you read. Sometimes you will come across websites that are clearly someone's opinion rather than absolute fact, so you need to exercise your judgement, just as you would when reading anything else. Anyone can create a website and put whatever they like on it, so be aware and beware of that when you are reading material on the Internet.

Making the Most of the Internet links

Having said that, the internet is a real boon for people who want or need information on any topic whatsoever. Using it as an information source is a convenient and effective way of gathering the facts that we need.

For example, many people in later life are concerned about their health and want to find information on the latest research, for example, into illnesses so that they know the best places to go to for advice. We can go to our GP, of course, but they can't be an expert on every single aspect of health, so it very often helps to do our own research. So if you want to find out about a particular type of cancer or about general aspects of cancer such as how to eat a healthy diet and so on, you can go to the Cancer Research website and find out about it.

You can do the same for any illness. Just type the name of it into Google ('Diabetes', for example) and you will be shown websites that will provide you with all the information you need.

If we are interested in news and current affairs, then the internet can also provide us with everything you need to know. Most, if not all, of the national newspapers have online versions, so just click on The Telegraph or The Sun and you will get all the news from your favourite paper. Similarly, the BBC is a very good website for news, sport and all sorts of other information. You can put your favourite sources of news into your favourites or access them through Google.

Of course, the weather always goes with the news, so if you want a weather forecast, your newspaper or the BBC will provide one for you. You can get a 5-day weather forecast for wherever you live by clicking here. If you want it from the horse's mouth, go to the Met Office website. Again, put your favourite one into your favourites or find it through Google. Never again need we be caught out by the weather when planning a barbeque or a trip to the seaside. we can plan what clothes to take on foreign holidays by finding out the weather patterns for wherever we're going. Just type into Google, 'weather in' plus your destination and you'll be able to choose from a number of websites.

If it's general information that you want, then you can go to the internet's own encyclopaedia, wikipedia. Just go to wikipedia, type in what it you need information on and you'll be presented with probably far more than you could ever need! Anyone can contribute to wikipedia and, whilst it is constantly monitored, you should realise that there may be one or things that you see on it may not be authoritative.

It may be that you have a hobby and wish to find some information on it. Genealogy is a good example and an activity that is very popular with people in later life. Just type genealogy into Google (or your own search engine) and you'll find lots of websites to help you. Click here for a good one to start with. You can do the same with whatever your hobby is, from bell-ringing to wine-making.

So you can use the internet for research into anything you wish to find out more about, for general knowledge and interest, for planning events, for health issues and much, much more. Remember, too, that if you want to find out information that is particularly relevant to people in later life, then the website you are now on probably has the answers. Click on the Site Map and Site Search at the foot of the page to find what you're looking for.

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 read the rest of the Guide by clicking on the links in the boxes to find out other ways in which you can make the most of the internet.

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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