6 Reasons Why I Love My Smartphone

When it comes to technology we have choices: what to adopt, when and at what cost – or whether to adopt at all. Take Smartphones for example. According to a Pew Research 2015 report, here’s the percent of people who own a Smartphone by age category.

  • 18 – 29: 85%
  • 30 – 49: 79%
  • 50 – 64: 54%
  • 65 & over: 27%

It appears that the older you are, the less likely you are to own a Smartphone. An obvious reason is that as people get older they fall behind technology which can make using a Smartphone a daunting proposition. A less obvious reason is that some people choose not to own one even though they are capable. While I respect their choice and even empathize with their reasons, I find myself wondering if they truly appreciate all the benefits of owning a Smartphone.

With that in mind, our mission at Retirement Journeys is not to “tell” anyone what they should do. It’s to share experience that people can (or not) factor into their own decisions. So here are my top 6 reasons for why I love my iPhone.

  1. Mobility and functionality. Being able to carry around one device that provides many functions is the number one reason to own a Smartphone. Wherever I go I take the internet (search, websites and services); apps; games; digital camera; video recorder; cell phone; GPS; music; email; texting; calculator; voice recorder; calendar and clock. I think this is amazing!
  2. Google Maps. I no longer have to write down directions, refer to a paper map or rely on my sense of direction (thank goodness). This saves me time, gas and keeps me safer. I use Google Maps locally and when visiting an unfamiliar city where I find it indispensable. For example, my wife and I decided to check out Grand Falls which is in Navajo land in North East Arizona. Our phone was able to direct us through a maze of dirt roads using its GPS capability only (because there was no cell service). That was impressive!
  3. MyRadar app. My wife and I love this app especially during Arizona’s summer Monsoon season. MyRadar shows storm activity (size, intensity and movement) across the country in near real-time. We can tell when we’re about to get hit by a big storm which gives us time to make sure everything outside is secured. The app has also come in handy while driving. When we see a signs of a storm we can check out how big and strong it is and whether it will intersect our route. This gives us time to take whatever precautions we deem prudent.
  4. In case of an emergency. Granted you can use a cell phone to dial 911 or reach AAA. A Smartphone also enables you to text or email many people, take high quality photos and video. .
  5. Stay socially engaged. There are many physical and mental health benefits to being social as we age. Check out these links for more information.

Smartphones provide many ways to stay socially engaged including sharing photos, reading and posting on Facebook, using sharing economy apps, email and texting.

  1. Entertainment. Here a just a few of the ways that I enjoy my Smartphone: listen to music; watch TV; listen to podcasts (e.g. Retirement Journeys); surf the web; and play games. This comes in handy if you have some time to kill or want to multi-task. For example, I can watch a baseball game on my iPhone while we both watch a recorded TV show on the DVR (this makes us both happy). I want to mention another handy app here – Sound Hound. Have you ever been out, heard a song and wondered what it was? That just happened to me when we were having a beer at the Wicked Weed in Asheville NC. I liked the song that was playing but didn’t know who the artist was. So I opened up Sound Hound and it told me what the song was (Wakin on a Pretty Day) and who was performing it (Kurt Vile). When we got home I bought the song.Pretty cool!

So if you don’t own a Smartphone (or have one that you’re not using) because you’re not up on the technology but are open to having one and to learning, here are some ways to get started. Ask a friend or the family “techie”. Have them show you the basics and take some notes. Ask them to set up the phone (configure) to make it easy for you to use (keep it simple). Be sure to have them show you how the help function works. Take notes and practice, practice, practice.

There’s one last point I want to make. Knowing how to use a Smartphone helps debunk the negative stereotypes associated with aging and it truly helps you stay young at heart. Good luck!

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5 Responses

  1. Luisa says:

    There’s another reason for the high % of ownership by the under 30 crowd. For many of them that is the only hardware they use- no laptop or desktop. If they want to be connected they have to have one.

  2. JPFox says:

    Hi Ted,

    Very good reasons to switch. As I transition to retirement and start a blog, I am reconsidering my “flip is hip” cellphone. However, I have an emotional attachment to it…eight years, one battery, thousands of miles, hundreds of falls without a shatter…it is well-worn and battle tested! When I do decide to “retire” this oldie but goodie, I know there will be some angst. It has served me well. Maybe a retirement party??
    – JP

    • tedcarr654 says:

      Well said JP! I have a similar feeling towards my car – 10 years old, reliable, lots of mileage and fun to drive. But…the lure of a backup camera, lane drift warning, improved safety features, internet, etc has me thinking that
      my car may have to crash your flip phone’s retirement party!

  3. JPFox says:

    Ted,

    ha! And one more thing. My phone goes literally four or five days without needing a charge, whereas everyone else has to charge up daily. But it’s a 3G and such slow web browsing that it is not worth doing, and the camera is not worth taking pictures with. Anyway, we seem to live in a disposable world. I plan to write about this on my new blog. Maybe you will visit. I will send out your excellent blog post as soon as I figure out how!!
    JP
    fresh start retirement.com

  4. Dot says:

    Good article Ted. I had a blackberry for years when someone I worked with said – Dot, you gotta join the 21st century. So that encouraged me to dump the BB and switch to a Droid…which was the coolest thing since sliced bread – for awhile. I now have a Samsung S6 and it is all that you report…great camera, easy networking, fast web surfing from almost anywhere…heck, I can work almost 24×7 due to email and texting…hmmm….maybe that’s a downside. One thing not mentioned is how easy it is to access online accounts and have a security unlock code texted to your phone to allow secure log ons. I use that all the time…faster than email.

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