6 Things Baby Boomers can find on the Web Right Now (or why can’t I find it in the Want Ads)

Looking in the Want Ads

You don't need to find the paper, look on the Web

Wanted, young man single and free
Experience in love preferred, but will accept a young trainee
Oh I`m gonna put it in the want ads, I need a love that`s true
Gonna put it in the want ads, my man and I are through(Honey Cone, 1971) #1 Hit US Billboard

Most of us in the baby boomer generation remember the want ads. Probably a lot of us still look for that classified section in the newspaper if we want anything. Need a plumber? No problem, just look it up under Services in the want ads. Need a job? Well the first place anybody looked was the want ads. Do you remember your grandparents looking in the Death Notices? Yep, that was right there in the classified section. Or maybe you broke up with your last girlfriend/boyfriend and you need to find someone new. Well, like the song says, “put it in the want ads.”

So, Why Can’t I Find it in the Want Ads?

Well, maybe you can. But today, many newspapers are cutting back on resources. Want ads cost money. They cost money for the newspaper and they cost money for the advertiser. It also costs you the price of the newspaper, not to mention that you  have to go out and get one somehow. And those newspapers were all over the place. You had tons of paper all over the house (poor trees). So many newspapers have much smaller classified sections today. It cost them too much and advertisers have much cheaper alternatives that reach more people. So where do baby boomers turn today? You guessed it, the World Wide Web (also known as the Internet). So let’s open our browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, or Chrome) and let’s look at 6 things you can find on the Web right now. Some of the stuff would have been hard to find in the want ads.

 Gotta Get Away  (Plan a dream vacation or just a weekend)

The Internet is a great place for finding travel spots. Remember the old days? You found a deal in the newspaper and then called the travel agent. Cost included the agents fees. (Sorry if you are or were a travel agent, I know how the Internet has eroded your business, but it really has helped the consumer). Or, you went to the trusty Yellow Pages. Remember the huge yellow book with listings for every business you never needed and a few you didn’t. You looked up Travel Agents, and they found you a “deal.” They called you back and gave you two or three options and you picked one.

Maybe you just wanted to visit some of the great places nearby. You got in the car and drove to Gettysburg. You stayed at a nice motel in the area and you had fun. How did you find the motel or your way to Gettysburg. You probably went to your local AAA offices and got a Triptik. For those of you non-baby boomers who may be reading, a triptik was a series of maps held together by a plastic spiral. You sat with one of the agents, who took a yellow marker and drew a line along your route. If you were really bold (like me), you just got your free maps and the AAA Tourbook. The Tourbook listed all the attractions, hotels, and restaurants in the area. And if you forgot to bring all that stuff with you, well you were lost. Not to mention the books and maps that ended up all over your house when you got back. I hate to admit it, but I think I still got a couple of those Tourbooks laying around.

Well with the World Wide Web things are much easier.  Here’s what you can do:

  • Make your own reservations. That’s right. With sites like Travelocity, Orbit, or Expedia you can make airline, car rental, and hotel reservations directly. Type in your starting city and your destination city and you can plan your whole itinerary. Aggregator sites like Kayak.com will check out all of these sites for you. Be careful, because some of the airlines are no longer allowing these sites to list them. So you may have to check the airline sites, too.  Don’t worry, they let you make the reservations online, too. Sometimes it’s even cheaper. Just type the name of the site or airline into Google and you will find them right away.
  • Find the type of trip that suits you. Don’t want to be at the beach with all those Spring Break kids? Well just create a search in Google that defines the type of trip you want. Type in “baby boomer travel” or “senior cruises” and you will get a list of what you want. Special sites, like the AARP site, have travel listings that may suit you. If you are a member of AARP, you may be able to get some discounts. Look at their site for more information (I’ve provided the link). Or just Google AARP to find them.
  • Find really good deals. If time isn’t a problem for you, then you may find some good last second deals. Just type “last second deals” into Google (or any search engine) and you will find a list of them. There is even a Twitter site for a company called “Last Second Deals.” If you sign up to follow them you will get a list of deals as they are tweeted. Don’t worry, I will write a post on Twitter and its benefits another time.

That’s only the tip of the iceberg. I’ve typed almost a thousand words and I still have more things to talk about, so let’s go!

Writing a Will or Trust, You can Trust the Internet

Well, yes you can, but I must start out by saying be careful. You should be sure that any lawyer (or other professional for that matter) that you find on the Internet is licensed and that there are no complaints against him or her. You can check this out on the Internet, too.

First of all, the best place to go is to an organization you can trust. Once again AARP is the best go to site. They have an entire section on estate planning. Don’t be afraid to use their contact features if you have questions. They will most likely refer you somewhere, but you know you can trust them.

If you search for “wills and trusts,” you will find that there are even sites that let you know how to do it yourself. For many people who have a very simple estate, this may be a good idea, but you should always have the final result checked by a qualified lawyer. This should be a less expensive route, though.

If you find that you need to be the executor of someone’s estate, then there are articles about how to do that and what your responsibilities are. Be careful when searching, every country and even each US state have their own specific laws. Make sure that the information is relevant to you.

 Plan your Financial Future

Once upon a time investing and saving were  simple matters. Most people didn’t bother with the stock market because it cost too much and you needed a private broker. Do you remember savings with those little blue books. You went to the Savings and Loan with your book and your pennies and made a deposit. The bank teller took your book and marked your deposit in it and calculated your balance. That is how you saved money. Later, it was possible to buy mutual funds from your uncles best friend from college who was now selling them. These let you be part of the stock market without taking too much risk.

Today you can be a part of the financial market yourself directly on the Internet. Sites like Yahoo Finance show you at a glance what the latest stock prices are. You used to need the Classifieds to find these. Although these are still listed in the newspaper today, the data is a day old and the typeface is so small you need a magnifying glass to read it. I hate to admit this, but for many of us baby boomers that type is almost impossible to read.

Today,  just go to Google or Yahoo and type in the name of the company. Or,  if you know the company’s stock ticker abbreviation, just type that in. You will probably get the latest stock price and a graph displayed right at the top of the page. Click the link and you will get even more information about that company’s stocks. This will include press releases about what the company is doing. You can invest directly with companies like eTrade, ScottTrade, or AmeriTrade. There are many others. These sites let you set up an account and buy and sell online. Sites like eToro also let you set up a practice account. That means you get practice money and you can “buy and sell” stock with this. It is all pretend, so you don’t really lose anything. And if you do well, you don’t get anything either. But you learn how to do it. Again the note of caution. There are no guarantees. Check with someone who is an expert in this field to be sure what you are doing is OK. They are not perfect either. You can lose big if you are not careful, so be careful and know that even if you do it “right” you may still lose.

The Internet is good for finding information about savings, too. Type “retirement income” or “retirement investment”  into Google and see what you get. Once again a go to site would be AARP. They have plenty of information about this with links to even more.

There Aren’t any Jobs in the Paper to Apply For (Find a Job)

OK, we’re back to the want ads again. Did you pick up the paper to see what jobs were available. Oh, maybe you decided to buy two papers (if you live in a bigger city), because maybe the job you may be qualified for isn’t listed in the first one.

Well, save your money. Walk over to your computer and type in “jobs.”  You will find a plethora of information.

  • Job boards. Job boards are the want ads of the Web. They list available jobs  all over the country, sometimes all over the world. You can use the special search functions to only search for jobs in the areas you are interested in. By “areas,” I not only mean geographic areas but job types. For instance you can easily look for zoo keeper jobs  in Boston only. Or you can widen your search for all jobs in the state of Maine. Its easy and up to you. They are all there in one place. Two of the biggest job search engines are Monster.com and Career Builder. These sites also have articles and information about how to go about your job search and create resumes (CV). You should use this information if you need it. Other sites like Simply Hired will search multiple  job boards. The advantage here is that if Monster doesn’t have the job listed but Career Builder does, Simply Hired will find it anyway.  Another one called Indeed.com searches company Web sites for jobs they have listed but are not listed on the general job boards. Of course it is a good idea to look at the Web sites of the companies you are interested in. Many of them have a Jobs or Careers page that lists openings in the company. Often these aren’t listed anywhere else.
  • LinkedIn: Most of you have heard of Facebook and Twitter. Many of you don’t want to use these. Well maybe you should, see my last post Is Social Media an Oxymoron?. And of course there will be more discussion at a later time. But have you heard of LinkeIn. This is a social network site for business. Its purpose is for people to make professional connections. Through this site employers can easily find job candidates without even listing a job. Job candidates can find out if any of their connections have connections in a company where they want to work. LinkedIn groups let you make new connections with others in the same professional field as you or with similar interests. Most important is that you set up a profile that includes your resume (CV), which lets people find you on the Internet. That is the best way to find a job.
  • Specialty searches. When I say a specialty search, I mean you can use Google or any other search engine, or even LinkedIn, to search for what you want. So maybe you want to find places that are looking especially for older workers. Type in “jobs over 50” or “baby boomer jobs” and you will get a list of sites that have specialty job boards or sites that provide advice for older job seekers. Don’t underestimate the power of Internet search engines for anything. That is what brings you the power of the Internet. If you can think of something you want to look up, you can look it up.

 Is My Doctor on the Web (Get medical advice and information)

Well maybe she/he isn’t really there, but he might have an office listing. You can also use your insurance company’s site to find an appropriate doctor for you if you don’t have one, yet. Finding a doctor is still best when you get personal recommendations from people you know and trust. But there is still a lot of information out there.

Start again with AARP. They have a health care section that discusses many issues affecting baby boomer health. Another site is about.com. As the name suggests this site tells you about things. Oh so many things. Just look for the senior health section and you will find a lot of information there. These sites will tell you about medicare benefits and other types of insurance.

Not sure if that headache means anything. Well, you can even find out about that on the Web. Sites like Web MD have mounds of information about specific diseases, symptoms, what drugs are in the marketplace, and what are the side effects. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. Check the site out to see what you can find out. Maybe you are caring for someone who is ill. This site may help you to understand their condition better. A word of extreme caution here. Do not use this site to become a hypochondriac or to self diagnose your symptoms. Use it for information gathering only. Only a qualified physician can make a true diagnosis. Find out what you can, then take that information to a doctor and let her make the final diagnosis.

Wanted (not so) Young Man/Woman Single and Free

Yes even this type of want ad has made it to the Web. The personal section is huge here in cyberspace. If your personal situation means that you are looking for a companion to spend some time with, you don’t need the want ads, the World Wide Web is at your disposal.

How do you find the “right” person. Well you could do a search for “senior dating.” I did that (just to try) and didn’t come up with too much useful stuff. But you can use the biggest dating sites. You may think that they are filled up with twenty-year olds and you may be right. But each site asks for a profile for each person and goes out of their way to match you with the right person. These sites have categories, such as “Senior Singles” that you can go to and find an appropriate match. Being a married man, I am not an expert on these sites and I have never used them. But a quick search for “dating sites” brought up some names that I have heard of. Some of the sites that are well-known and probably safe are eHarmony and Match.com. Yahoo also has a personal site that you could check out.

Well now you know why you can’t find some things in the want ads. I will have some similar posts with other stuff you can do on the Web. In the meantime, let me know if you found this post useful and of course your suggestions for other subjects are always welcome.

Just one more note. Any site or company that I mention here is for your information only. I have not checked them and do not necessarily recommend them. I hope that this general guide will help you find things on the Web.

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Photo by: Ed Yourdon at Flicker

One Response to 6 Things Baby Boomers can find on the Web Right Now (or why can’t I find it in the Want Ads)
  1. […] we can use the Web to find many resources for doing stuff. Remember back in August, I posted about 6 things you can do on the Web. Today, I will talk about some more stuff you can […]

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Hi, My name is David Goldman and this blog is not about the World Wide Web. It will talk about that, but mostly this blog will talk about how today's technology has changed the way we go about our everyday lives. Technology, especially the World Wide Web, has changed the way we live our everyday lives. I want to empower you with the knowledge of today's technology to compete with vigor in today's world. You can click the link below to find out some more about me and this blog.

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