Wharton Pension Research Council Working Papers

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Working Paper

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Older adults (65+) are at increasing risk of being ‘digitally marginalized’ due to lower tech savviness, social isolation, and few peers who can provide the needed input. As a consequence, some seniors have difficulties and are exposed to security risks when accessing essential services which are increasingly moving online. These include making critical life decisions, understanding health information, accessing health services, staying connected to families, or simply doing online shopping. This chapter investigates how online technologies can be designed to be inclusive of older adults' needs, abilities, and contexts. Several barriers barring technology adoption include mental models; attitudes related to critical decision making; privacy concerns; and overall cybersafety concerns preventing seniors from engaging with such resources online. We also propose ways to help the FinTech sector incorporate new approaches so that services and applications better serve the needs and constraints of older adults.


The published version of this working paper may be found in the 2019 publication: The Disruptive Impact of FinTech on Retirement Systems.


Older adults, digital marginalization, technology, gerontology, FinTech, cyber-safety, robo-advisor

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Copyright/Permission Statement

All findings, interpretations, and conclusions of this paper represent the views of the author(s) and not those of the Wharton School or the Pension Research Council. © 2018 Pension Research Council of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. All rights reserved.



Date Posted: 30 January 2019