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Planning Retirement Online

Making the Most of the Internet

People over the age of 50 now spend more time on the internet than young people do, according to researchers. In a way, this is not surprising because those over-50s who have retired have more time to spend 'surfing the net'. However, it is interesting to see that computers and the internet are no longer the preserve of the young: neither should they be!

Making the Most of the Internet links

This Guide is not for those of you who are already familiar with, and experts in, the use of the internet. It's for those people who perhaps have more time now in which to use and take advantage of it but who are still finding their way around and those of you who are thinking about discovering the world of the internet but have not yet taken the plunge.

It's not a technical Guide (technical issues and problems are best resolved by technicians, not writers!); rather, it's a vehicle that will introduce you to the possibilities of the internet. Neither is it intended to be a comprehensive Guide; it would be impossible to be comprehensive because everyone's needs are different so the permutations are endless.

What it does set out to do, however, is to suggest some basic uses that might be useful for you. Once you have investigated these basics you should then be familiar enough with the internet to do your own exploration of it so you can use it effectively for your own specific needs.

The internet is a tool that is for us to use to do jobs for us or to give us some pleasure. Like any other tool, we have to learn to use it effectively. Once you have done so, you'll wonder how you ever did without it.

Some of the benefits of the internet are:

  • It can help with 'shopping around' thereby saving you money
  • It is comprehensive; you can see everything that's on offer
  • You can see a variety of options before deciding on the best for you or going to see things if you wish to
  • It is very convenient - you don't have to leave the comfort of your own home to achieve things
  • It can be a gateway to various forms of social contact
  • It is educational
  • It's an excellent research vehicle
  • Used properly, it can help keep us mentally active

However, there are dangers, too, of which you should be aware:

  • It can be a great 'time-stealer'
  • Like any technology, it can be frustrating when it goes wrong or doesn't appear to do what you want it to
  • It can cause people to become insular - because they spend far too much time on it
  • It costs money. You have to buy your computer and then you pay for the internet connection and broadband, if you have it (broadband does make it much quicker and easier). Having said that, you can also save a great deal of money through using the internet to buy things or swap them.
  • As well as all the good things on the internet, there are also lots of bad things that you should steer clear of
  • Some people are worried about the security of the internet and therefore limit what they do on it

Bearing in mind the benefits and the dangers, we have to decide if we want to use the internet and, if so, what for. Once we have made those decisions it's full steam ahead; we can use the tool to do exactly what we want it to do for our benefit.

So now read the rest of our Guide to Making the Most of the Internet, by clicking on the links in the box, and see how you can use it to your advantage. If you have any specific questions about the internet or information technology in general, you can go to our 'You Can Do IT' section. You can also see the answers to questions that other people have asked.

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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