Thursday, 12 July 2018

Maybe you've heard that Baby Boomers are technophobes who are reluctant or unwilling to adopt digital tools that could improve their lives.

Turns out that's just not entirely accurate, especially when it comes to digital banking.

More financial institutions are marketing online tools to the Boomer generation, which will be the wealthiest generation until at least 2030. And more Boomers - people born between 1946-1964 - are jumping on the digital banking bandwagon. According to the American Bankers Association, about 71 percent of Boomers in the United States use online banking services once a week.

That said, Boomers are still warming up to mobile banking. The ABA found that just over 18 percent of consumers over 61 use their smartphone to monitor accounts, or perform banking tasks, perhaps because of security concerns. According to the ABA, Boomers are the top demographic target for fraud, reporting losses of $2.9 billion annually.

Because Boomers represent a growing market for existing and new financial technology, many large financial firms and other businesses have launched educational efforts designed to alleviate concerns about privacy and safety.

If you are among the more cautious Boomers who have yet to fully embrace digital banking, here are a few online tools worth considering:

  • Mobile wallets. This technology allows smartphone owners to store and manage their banking and credit card account information (encrypted) on their phones and activate them, disable them, and even change the PIN for them.
  • Digital wallets. Digital wallets like Apple Pay™, Google Pay™, and Samsung Pay™ eliminate the need to carry around a wallet filled with cards and cash, which can be used by a stranger if lost or stolen. Smartphones, however, can be secured with pass codes, preventing access to the owner's mobile wallet if the phone falls into the wrong hands.
  • 401(k) optimization tools. If you want to stay actively engaged with your retirement fund and investment performance, there are many online tools to help you do that, and a whole lot more. For example, Blooom.com actually analyzes 401(k) plans (within the options allowed by the employer) and helps the account owner understand their investment choices and the associated fees.
  • Online bill pay. This technology enables you to pay all of your bills safely and quickly and provides record keeping of your transactions along with bill pay reminders.
  • Retirement calculators. If you wonder whether you are on track with your retirement, an online calculator can help you determine where you stand in savings, when you can retire, how to manage Social Security benefits, and much more.
  • Elder financial abuse protection. If you meet the definition of the sandwich generation ( people caring for their kids as well as their parents), you may need tools to help safeguard your parents' money. Most online banking platforms allow customers to set alerts for certain account activity, such as a withdrawal over a certain dollar amount. The customer sets the parameters and if such activity occurs, the customer receives an alert, typically in the form of a text or other electronic communication.

While digital financial tools can be intimidating, the convenience they provide is undeniable. Talk with your banker or a trusted financial adviser about what digital banking tools may be useful for you and whether it's worth exploring

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