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Perceived Overspending Risk

This risk is about the ease of shopping online and how easy it is to overspend beyond one’s budget. Many older people interviewed were retired and had financial limitations and were very conscious of their spending habits. This risk perception includes concerns around the need that ICT products and software need regular updates and upgrades. In addition, the growing cost of staying connected, either through a less optimum connection services or a reluctance to upgrade devices causes concern.

For Joshua, these perceptions of risk manifest in the following ways:

Example 1
Joshua 1
“I worry about the increasing cost of using ICT devices (software, subscriptions, internet connection).”

Example 1

Overspending risks may manifest as a fear the increasing costs associated with using ICT devices and the need to upgrade devices regularly. For instance, Joshua is concerned about the costs of software, licence subscriptions and his internet connection. These costs seem to be increasing each year and he is not sure he is getting value for money. He fears he is paying too much for services he does not even need.

Example 2

Example 2

Joshua 2_edited
“I worry that the cost of upgrading my ICT devices will become too expensive for me.”

Overspending can also manifest through a fear of increasing hardware cost. Modern technology is fast-moving and new versions of phones, tables and computers is often brought to the market several times a year. Many older adults fear the cost involved in contently having to upgrade to the latest device. For example, Joshua has been using his son’s old iPhone for the last couple of years. He is relatively comfortable using it for what he needs, but it seems to be ‘slowing down’, and the battery life is no longer what it used to be. He fears having to buy a new iPhone as they are very expensive, and he does not perceive it to be value for money.


Can you relate to those example above?  Go to strategies to learn about how Joshua can address these issues.

Individual Strategies for Managing Overspending Risk

Strategy Illustration 3


Updating your ICT equipment. Do not feel pressured to update if your product is meeting your requirements. On average people update their ICT devices every 5-6 years, but it depends on whether your device is meeting your needs and whether you are happy with it.


Explore your options. Research and really consider if you need something before committing to purchase. You might not need it, or there might be a free version (if it is an app, subscription, or digital product).


Press unsubscribe. Reduce purchase temptations by unsubscribing to promotional emails.


Have a budget. Track your spending and develop a budget. This can be done using traditional notebooks or a simple Excel file.


Be wary. Always double check apps/software downloads to confirm if there are any hidden fees and costs. If in doubt, don’t do it.


Debit cards. Use debit cards rather than credit cards. This limits your purchase to the available amount on your cards.


Monitor your accounts. Regularly check your account for any unusual spending. You might overspend by accidently subscribing to services that you don’t need.

Relational Strategies for Managing Overspending Risk

Strategy Illustration


Seek assistance. Ask family members/friends who are more familiar with technology to tell you more about the devices, software, and services they use and can recommend you. If they have the same devices, software, and services they will be able to show you how to use later and provide tips around software to use and download, and overspending traps.


Ask questions. When in doubt about something, consult family and friends about the nature of the product, service, or app. It is often a good idea to cultivate safe places where family members and friends can chat about tech issues, such as overspending.


Apps. Ask someone you trust to go over your subscribed apps and, with your permission, delete anything that might be costing you too much.


Consider joint purchasing. Some software come with licences that allows use in 3 or 5 devices. Consider buying these licences with friends.


Courses. When joining computer courses for seniors, share your overspending or budgetary challenges with others. Chances are you are not alone, and others may have tips on how they manage it.
Anker 1

Strategies to Managing Perceived Overspending Risk

Overspending risks are aligned both with the person’s ICT ability and the person’s confidence to overcome the perceived risk and try to engage with the digital device. There are individual strategies people can do themselves to manage this risk, as well as relational strategies which consider the role of social influence on a person’s ability to try new things and interact with ICT.


You may be interested in
Other potential risks that Joshua is facing:

will this digital device work the way I want it to – it includes forgetting instructions and managing passwords.
concerns about feeling incompetent, getting frustrated and being overwhelmed with digital technology.
fears focused with online payments, losing privacy, identity theft and automatic payments.
worries about online transactions, not receiving the purchased goods and processing errors.
concerns that digital devices encourage physical inactivity and becoming addicted to the devices as well as the strains on eyesight.
Joshua Strategies 5
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