By Larry Klein
If social media means anything, it is the antithesis of retirement: It does not exist for people to withdraw from conversation, exit a discussion, or refuse to read and share information about vital topics of the day. For current and potential retirees, social media is (or should be) a necessity; a way for them to join a dialogue, receive and exchange facts, clarify various issues, and save themselves – and spare us – the economic and emotional costs of not having the freedom to retire comfortably.
From my perspective, social media is the great equalizer. It allows users to refer to statistics and accurate calculations – to think rather than speculate – about the rules of retirement. In so doing, social media is not just a plaything for Millennials, but a gateway for individuals and couples to learn the basics – and master the complexities – of the principles governing retirement.
I offer this comment based on experience, where I run the Retirement Income Blog, which gives users the latest news and opinion about everything from the status of the Social Security Trust Fund to the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union. I write these words with the understanding – no, with the knowledge – that social media is an indispensable tool; I issue this statement aware of the influence and power social media has – and can have – concerning a matter of national urgency.
And, to qualify my earlier remarks about the generational gap between, say, teens and seniors involving retirement, I say it is never too soon to plan for retirement.
By having this discussion on Facebook or elsewhere, we can maximize the global reach of social media in general; connecting with people in ways otherwise too difficult or costly to achieve; in ways too cumbersome to manage and too technical to control; in ways too improbable to imagine and too impossible to conceive.
Social media also affords me the chance to personalize communication, so I can transform something ordinary (perhaps even boring) into something extraordinary. That translates into more engaged users – more active and inquisitive visitors – who can further the quality of a conversation about retirement, an impromptu tutorial about savings, or a more formal question and answer session about these subjects overall.
This platform is, therefore, educational by design and circumstance: It is inclusive enough to accommodate just about everyone, and flexible enough to host an audience of international proportions.
These rewards make the discussion about retirement more relevant and timely; they make this issue more exciting, and yes, even entertaining.
By those standards, social media fulfills its mission and honors its sense of tradition. It enlightens as much as it excites, giving people a reason to read the articles and commentary about retirement and personal finance.
These benefits are the dividends of using social media well, and using it consistently well. From esoteric ideas to issues of everyday importance, social media plays a critical part in this worldwide colloquy about retirement.
Let this exchange thrive!
The founder of RetirementIncome.net, Larry Klein is a seasoned writer, financial commentator and retirement expert.