NewsNEWSFLASH: Older Australians use high-tech - sometimes enthusiastically - if it makes sense to them

NEWSFLASH: Older Australians use high-tech - sometimes enthusiastically - if it makes sense to them

News this week that one-quarter of the users of the brightest financial technology services on the block are aged over 45* helps dispel ingrained stereotypes about age.

Older people own a wide range of devices, wearables, apps etc. more confidently than is popularly thought.

But there’s a problem. Their confidence can wane with using them because there’s rarely any input from elders into their design, and if there is, it may be too little and too late.

It may explain my inability to decipher many of the ‘user interfaces’ and other ‘idiot-proof’ ways to navigate your way through websites, downloads etc.

It’s not my fault but my age - a tender 60-something. And if you expect your kids to help, forget it. YouTube and savvy grandchildren are more likely to assist - see this survey.

There’s much research that says the digital natives of younger generations which have created our high-tech future do think in different ways. Hence the disconnect.

It’s not the case with Buy-Now-Pay-Later schemes, which while mainly marketed at younger people, now find more and more older Australians using them.

The latest stats say nearly one in four Afterpay users are now aged 45 and older which is a 229% increase over five years ago - when they accounted for 7 in 100 users.

BNPL systems rely on ‘apps’ which vet you to be part of the scheme and typically instead of one up-front payment break it up into weekly amounts.

The point as the name suggests is you take it now and pay back over time. Unlike credit cards or other options, it does not attract interest, although there can be late fees etc.

We really shouldn’t be surprised at the rapid growth in our engagement with the likes of Afterpay because maybe, just maybe, we know what suits us.

If we find something useful to us, we’ll adopt it.

It’s not that older adults are technically illiterate (and younger readers: take it from me, we have been through many, many different iterations), it’s just we are choosy.

Technologies such as artificial intelligence and the so-called Internet of Things may prove very handy to those who are getting on and seeking to live independently.

But as a University College of San Diego study had it: "However, a top-down design process creates mismatches between technologies and older adults’ needs.”

So don’t feel too guilty if you go crazy trying to unravel the latest device or app. Stick to those which speak your language, and solve your needs, and always ask for help.

Question: Do you agree with this blog? What’s the biggest thing which narks you most about new technologies?

* Source: Afterpay data obtained by, published in The Daily Telegraph p31, 22 January 2021

Any information is general advice, it does not take into account your individual circumstances, objectives, financial situation or needs.

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Kerry from NSW commented:

Thanks Chris you are spot on it's the Grandchildren who help this 68 year old. Secondly thanks for explaining what 'After Pay' means. Kerry Clifford 

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