Retiree raises a good question

Every so often a question gets asked that really gets people thinking. Last Friday at 'Coffee and Computers' a recently retired person said that he had been in business for over forty years and wondered if the computer could be used in a money making business in retirement. He further asked if the computer could ease retirement in other ways. It was interesting to hear the responses of the people present.

One person suggested Ebay (, the Internet auction site. They buy and sell items and make some money in the process. A couple of years ago when I attended Ebay University (, the Ebay traveling road show put on for interested users, people told of how Ebay had become a full or part-time time business for them. They picked up items at garage sales or company liquidations for later sale on the auction site. Some people bought and sold tens of thousands of items each year on the Internet. It's easy to see how Ebay offers a way to use lifelong business talents during retirement or any other time for that matter.

Another person asked about publishing newsletters or other information on personal web sites. This led into a long discussion of how easy it has become to develop personal web sites for whatever reason. A search of the Internet shows hundreds of such sites that make specialized information available for a nominal charge.

Others simply stated that the computer had become a way for them to develop new talents. John Ellis has become very talented at producing greeting cards, calendars and other personal graphics that he shares with family and friends. Lloyd Denny uses his computer and complex imaging programs to further his photography hobby. Jim Dalton, a retired bank vice president, refurbishes donated computers and makes them available to needy children. There are many examples like these.

And of course, many people said that the computer has become a way for them to correspond and keep up with far-flung family and friends. They find that not only has email become indispensable but also that they can search the Internet for those with whom they have lost contact.

While this column normally isn't devoted to the computer and retirement, this person's question was very timely and thought provoking. The computer and the Internet now offer a new way to stay connected to the world during retirement years, whether for continued business or just personal enjoyment. And there are many community courses and programs that allow anyone to learn and sharpen the skills needed to use this new medium. In our community the Tustin Senior Center (714-573-3340) and the Tustin Adult School (714-730-7394) offer a number of courses for adults while the various community colleges offer a full range of more technical computer courses for those with very specific needs. There is no excuse for not taking advantage of this new technology to make life fuller and more enjoyable whether pre or post retirement.

If you would like to hear more about using computers during retirement, or other computer topics, visit 'Coffee and Computers' at the Tustin Area Senior Center, 200 S. 'C' Street, any Friday morning from 9 a.m. until noon. Bring your questions or just come in and visit.

In the mean time, keep the neurons happy, synapses snapping and enjoy computing.


Dr. Art Holub is a long time resident of Tustin and teaches computer and Internet courses at the Tustin Area Senior Center and the Tustin Adult School. Visit his web site at: This column is written to address the computer adventures and concerns of older adults. If you have comments, questions or suggestions for future columns, Email HIM at:

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