The fastest growing group on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter is not 20-somethings but their elderly counterparts, the G.I. generation, among whom social networking has quadrupled since 2008, according to the Pew Research Center. And with a struggling economy and longer life expectancies, what’s on the mind of this generation is more than just photo-sharing, wall-posting and ‘poking,’ but considering their savings, investments and assets.
Depending on who you follow and where you go, social media can help you keep up with the latest retirement research and interact with the company that administers your 401(k) or handles your stocks. It’s never too early to start planning, so whether you’re a 20-something or a boomer, here are 5 ways to social network your way to better retirement preparedness.
Download the IRS2Go Smartphone Tax App: When tax time becomes painful, remind yourself that at least some of what you’re doling out now will come back to you in your golden years. And if that doesn’t ease mind, download the new IRS app on your Smartphone to at least make things easier, and get your refund faster. You can use the free app on your iPhone or Android to check the status of your refund, receive benefit confirmation and access tips on tax planning and preparation, including how to plan ahead and how to keep your taxes as low as possible in retirement.
Update Your Twitter Feed: Twitter isn’t just for your grandkids anymore. Nearly 11 percent of Internet users between ages 50 and 64 used Twitter in 2010, according to Pew, and one of the hot Twitter trends among that group is retirement. Use the site to follow government agencies like the Social Security Administration, get a heads up on the latest research, find a financial advisor or follow a financial firm like Vanguard, which alone has more than 2,000 followers.
Let YouTube Be Your Guide: Sometimes seeing is believing, so if you’re more of a visual learner, latch on to YouTube where a search for “retirement planning” yields over 5,000 results. Forget about cats dancing or cute kids watching TV, these videos cover everything from “Retirement Planning in a Financial Crisis,” to “Thinking Outside the Box to Retire,” to “How to Calculate Your Retirement Online.”
Become a Fan on Facebook: Instead of ‘poking’ your friends and family, make the most of this social networking giant to ‘poke’ a financial advisor and tap into some real expertise. One influential to ‘friend’ is David Ning, advisor and founder of the personal finance blog MoneyNing.com, who also has a Facebook page with more than 3,000 followers. Or become a fan of the more general “Planning for Retirement” page where you can seek advice from a variety of sources and join a community more than 10,000 strong.
Query on Q&A Sites: All signs point to question-and-answer site Quora as the breakaway social media hit of 2011. How it works, and how you can make it work for you, is simple. Just ask the, in this case, retirement-focused question you want answers to, and watch the results pile up in a Facebook-like news feed. You can follow other people, like financial advisors, follow topics, like retirement, or follow specific questions. The benefit with Quora in particular is that it draws from a pool of experts and allows for in-depth answers. If you’re not happy with Quora, there’s plenty of other Q&A sites to dig into, from About.com to AskJeeves, Yahoo Answers, and Formspring.