Retired? Don’t Spend More Than You Need on Your Mobile

Post written by Riaan De Jagger

Not long ago people had to spend more than $600 in order to get a powerful smartphone, and if they wanted to get them for less they had to commit to long contracts. Today, as the market overflows with new smartphone models every day, retired people can afford quality handsets with decent or above average specs, and yet they can get them at very low prices compared to in the past.

You need to find out what you need exactly out of a mobile. Are you going to be using it just for talking with your family, sending SMS, making high-quality pictures of your retirement and vacation days with your spouse or nephews or do you want to surf the Internet and play online games because you are more sophisticated retiree?


If you want to use it just for talking and SMS, then you don’t need a smartphone at all. Just go for the old models with analog buttons that go for very ridiculous prices and are given for free when you sign a contract with a service provider and you are done. If you are trendy retiree that wants to make a full use of a smartphone that offers entertainment throughout the ages by taking pictures, surfing, using apps and play games, then you should really consider some important specs.

In such a case you will need a smartphone with enough RAM memory and processing power. Don’t forget the camera quality as well, which should be at least 5 mega-pixels so that you can have crystal clear pictures of all of those funny moments with your family or friends during your retired days.

If your budget is between $100 and $200, then Motorola Moto G is the right choice for you. It’s mobile for a retired person that doesn’t want to spend more than he needs and still get a great mobile. It has lots of processing power and comes with up to 2GB RAM memory and 13MP camera which is more than enough to document your finest moments. Moto G is probably the best cheap phone that money can buy.


A very good alternative with the same price range is the Sony Xperia M2 Aqua, a perfect choice if you are spending your retired days out on the sea or mostly on the beach, or fishing on a lake or a river. It has similar specs as Moto G, but its best virtue is being waterproof. You can virtually drown it for hours and it will continue working.

It’s all about finding out what you need from a phone, and these two are best in what they do and offer: seamless performance while surfing and using apps, and quality pictures. You can get them for under $100 if you get a two-year contract with a provider, so make sure to choose an affordable data plan.

If your needs are something more modest, but you still want to be a trendy retiree that can document his retired days with a smartphone camera, then you can get a free phone when signing a contract, but with only up to 512MB RAM and much less processing power. This means that your phone will be below average, but will perform everything that you need at minimum.

Anyway, set your budget, and always buy the phone with the most RAM memory and at least Dual core processor that you can get for the money. Consult an IT expert for guidance and read reviews on the Internet to help you make a choice. After all, if you are retired you should have all the time you need to do the research.

Who will speak for the retired?

Before retiring I tried to make sure all my bases were covered. I had a good idea what it would take to finance the lifestyle my wife and I hoped to live. I did my due diligence to identify as many as possible of those interests, passions and hobbies that would keep me engaged and stimulated for the next few decades. My wife and I decided where we wanted to live while retired and made the move. And I did in-depth research to make the best choice to provide us with quality affordable healthcare (wishful thinking I know). This past month has been a rude awakening showing just how helpless we can be when it comes to basics such as medical coverage. Allow me to elaborate.

When my wife quit her job back in July she opted for COBRA coverage to extend for 15 months the medical, vision and dental plan we had been enrolled in while she worked. We figured we could research other options during that 15 month period but for now this made the most sense. She filled out all the required paperwork and began making monthly payments as directed. Easy peasie – everything should be fine for that time period, right? Not so fast.

About a month ago I noticed one of my prescriptions was not being refilled. I called the provider and was informed I was not covered. What? And so the saga began. My poor wife – bless her – began the long painful process of clearing up the mistake in “the system”. For weeks, multiple times a day, she talked with representatives from COBRA and the insurance company. Each time she made a call she had to start at the bottom of the call pyramid, explaining over and over who she was, her information and what the problem was. Often after explaining the situation she was put on hold and then suddenly rerouted back to the beginning or disconnected all together. Return calls never materialized – ever – whether promised by the initial contact or escalated to a supervisor. Sometimes the account showed we were covered, sometimes it said we were not. Our frustration was building. I could not have done it but my wife – bless her again – stuck with it.

Our salvation came from the fact this kind of thing was what she had done while employed. Luckily she had a contact for the broker who managed the health plan for her previous company. By getting her involved we were able to rise above the noise and get some attention. The broker made some calls and things started to happen. According to a call this morning everything should be fine now. We will see.

The sad thing is without an inside connection we might still be spinning our wheels while our blood pressures rise and resolution of the problem remains wishful thinking. What about all those who are on their own? You can be sure potential problems are not limited to healthcare. We have experienced challenges with regards to phone services, internet services, as well as electric and water services. It’s a jungle out there.

I believe companies and the people they employ generally want to do a good job. It may be naïve but that is the way I roll. However, it seems too often that service is subpar. The focus on profits has driven many companies to look for cheaper ways to do business. I get it but what is the real cost in terms of customer satisfaction? Automation reduces the need for people but also removes the personal touch. Those blasted call trees that you have to walk through – step by step – every time you make a call may save money but can try the patience of a saint. Outsourcing may be cheaper but when the person answering the phone cannot be understood what kind of service are we talking about? My biggest fear is things are only going to get worse.

And when things get bad and you feel you are getting nowhere, what can you do? How do you escalate a problem if you are just one of thousands of customers each relatively insignificant in the grand scheme of things? It is scary what the future may hold. I only hope my wonderful wife will stick with me and continue to make the bad things go away. In the meantime I remain cautiously optimistic and continue to work on my patience for all things frustrating. I am sure to get a lot of practice…