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Understanding my (50+) world

50+ are not digital natives, hence they have apprehensions, perceptions about using technology. We need to understand their drivers & blocks

Photo of Gaurav Lal

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FS domain uses lot of jargons which really puts off lot of people. Hence the need of advisors/ call centres to know very basic things. FS has to move away from offerings products, to designing solutions for the individual.

Provide a solution where all financial tools can be at one place. Then based on life stage provide guidance on fulfilling ones need/ wants


Financial Services as a domain has been disrupting the space. With digital/ technology advancements managing money (retail banking) has become a lot simpler. Many have stopped going to the branch any more.

50+ year old users (not all) are not naturally digital natives and hence they perceive today’s technology with lot of apprehension, like (some blocks)

  • It will be too fast for me to understand.
  • I will have to be quick – motor skills
  • I have to be intelligent to use it
  • What if I make a mistake?

This age group does lot of complex cognitive processing, like driving cars, playing golf, financial decisions. If we can address their blocks and assist them with their drivers, it will have a huge impact.

Adaption to facebook, skype and what’s app has been great. This group (not all) still wants to goto a branch to get their work done. Why?

  • Trust – I see a face
  • Prescriptive – someone is guiding through the process
  • Extra care

Let’s use the above to make online medium less complicated.

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

Understanding the ecosystem, their driver and blocks. be in their shoes

Tell us about your work experience:

I have 16+ years of experience and have been part of various digital transformation projects for various banks across the globe. an example -

Specifically, please check all that apply:

  • I'm not currently involved in a credit union, but am curious to learn more!


Join the conversation:

Photo of Adhish Patel

Hi Gaurav Lal ,  Do you think segmenting 50+ in brackets of 50-65 and 65+ can result in different experiences? I totally agree with you on the jargons associated with Financial services and a need to simplify them. Regarding the tech savviness of elderly aged between 50-65 (medium to high income) residing in the US, I really think they are open to new tech. in financial services. One of my professor, who is 50+ uses venmo to send money to his daughter. I was quite surprised when he told us that. As venmo is targeted towards Gen Z and Millennials. I think it's due to the fraud protection laws in the US.

Do let me know what are your thoughts on the same.

Photo of A Bin

I completely agree making it simpler for 50+ to understand and utilize is the solution 

Photo of Lauren O'Donnell

Very interesting and relevant article that highlights a big opportunity for financial services companies.

Assisting 50yo+ Personal Investing customers with online tasks is a large part of the role of a Client Services phones Associate in financial services, having worked in this role as my first grad rotation at FIL. Online assistance is going to become the primary activity as more of our customers get online accounts and their confidence using computers increases. Technological advancement will also contribute to a growth in online assistance within call centres - soon Associates may be able to screen share with customers, and provide a better, 'virtual' customer experience.

I think it is important that we support our older, less tech-confident customers who have every potential to became 'tech savvy' and self-sufficient to perform tasks on the web by themselves.

The domestic violence advert really showcases how technology can help in the ad space!

Photo of Kate Rushton

Thank you for your post, Gaurav! I watched the video and really like the futurist SBI InTouch bank. It reminds me of the Apple store in a way.

You have provided some valuable insights, especially into the use of language in the FS and the importance of offering solutions. Outside of the FS and looking at other sectors, can you think of any solutions that provide a good online or online/offline solution for this generation? Maybe there are some useful insights out there.

I look forward to seeing more of your insights in this challenge. You have a lot of expertise that would be invaluable.

Photo of Gaurav Lal

Thanks Kate.
You make an important point. Online/ offline capabilities for a brand is very important. This group often does get put off when there is no internet available... like Spotify works great in online/ offline.

Let me come back on this...

Photo of Gaurav Lal

Found an interesting way to interact

We can use a similar kind of campaign to drive more savings, retirement planning

Photo of Kate Rushton

Thank you for the link, Gaurav! I look forward to reading more of your insights as the contest progresses. 

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Hi Gaurav, interesting insights. thanks for sharing. Like several people below, I will put a caveat on the 50-60 not being digital savvy. I also think that while there is work to be done around the online experience, it is worth thinking of creating multiple touch points (digital and physical ones) to support different needs and different users.

Photo of Brooke

I definitely agree with the idea of implementing a technology that is approachable and easy to use. The age range is wide and as another colleague stated, some of the users in their 50-60s have spent a large portion of their career in the digital age, while users over 80 have little to no experience. I also agree that some users will simply prefer a personal relationship that exhibits trust. I think a mix of a face-to-face interaction and technology that explains the jargon of the financial world would be valuable. Great research ideas!

Photo of Nigel

This deserves some thought: 1. A few years ago the topic of the "Greying of the Internet" was popular - the idea of how older adults can adapt to moving interaction from face-to-face to face-to-digital. Brain functioning requires making new neural connections in order to cognitively operate in the digital world and older people's brains are slower to forge new connections, whereas digital natives's brains are laredy wired for digital interactions. 2. But attempts to build "simpler" products such as limited function phones have failed because older people do not want to be thought of as less capable. They do not think of themselves as old! 3. Despite concerns about adaptability to digital fluency, the older generations are proving the skeptics wrong as 50 to 60 year olds are using the mobile channel from investing to leisure and travel. Having said all that, I believe that there is a real need for customer service in banks and insurance companies to increase their personal human touch rather than decrease the human touch in favor of digital. This is because as retirement age comes closer, older people need careful guidance of their pension options and planning. Its natural to have the reassurance and guidance of a person to help transition for their next stage of life. Banks that recognize this will have the competitive edge in my opinion.
11:19 AM
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Photo of Tom Short

I'd be a bit careful about characterizing people over 50 as not being digitally savvy. While it's true there are some of us who may not quite understand how to properly use an iPhone to do day-to-day things, there are probably as many or more of these over 50 folks who have been around computing since it first started in the 1970s.

if you'd like to identify a segment of the population that is mostly uncomfortable with digital I think you might need to increase the age range to those who are over 60 or over 70.

And yes, the idea of simplifying the financial services being offered to retirees is important and has great merit. See my post about this.