Abbie Richie: Empowering Seniors in the Tech World 🌎

Abbie Richie Cover
Abbie Richie


Abbie Richie is an entrepreneur, mother of two school-aged children, wife of 16 years and devoted daughter. She is the founder of Senior Savvy, which provides Zoom workshops and technical support at senior living communities throughout the US. Senior Savvy is the marriage of two things Abbie loves – helping older people and technology.

After helping many friends’ parents and her in-laws, she realized there was a huge need for personable and patient tech support for older folks. In 2018, Abbie started Senior Savvy, though she will tell you that Senior Savvy started in her a long, long time ago.

Growing up in Los Angeles, she spent a lot of time with her grandparents. Nana and Papa fostered a deep respect and admiration through their commitment to her family and their community. After college in Boston, she moved to the SF Bay Area for grad school, right before the “dot com boom” and received an in-depth education on all things tech. Since then, she has continued to learn everything about technology while patiently teaching seniors the skills they need.

In April of 2020, her workshop students began requesting she transition to teaching on Zoom. The pivot allowed her to expand Senior Savvy tech support to senior communities around the US.

Interview Transcript Abbie Richie

Richard Lowe  00:01

Good day. This is Richard Lowe with conversations with influencers and I’m here with Abby Ricci. She is the founder and CEO of SR savvy, the host of Tech Tuesday, TED speaker and tech correspondent. I am Richard Lowe, the writing King, I’m a ghostwriter, a writer, a writing coach. And I also do LinkedIn branding for people. So let’s get started. How are you today, Abby?

Abbie Richie  00:26

Pretty good. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much for having me on.

Richard Lowe  00:30

Oh, it’s my pleasure. It’s my pleasure. It’s, you’ve got a lot of things to say. I’m can tell because you sent me a big long description. So let’s get started. What Why don’t you tell me about yourself?

Abbie Richie  00:41

Okay, I live in Phoenix, Arizona. I’m a fourth generation Entrepreneur on both sides. And what that means is that we are hardwired in our family to do things. So I started this company SR savvy about five years ago, second company that I’ve started. And I started this in 2018. It’s truly the marriage of two things I love, which is all things tech, and helping older adults. I grew up with my Nana and Papa and I have a deep love and admiration for older adults. And when I found myself, I’m unemployed, and my other and in need of work in 2017, nothing was panning out nothing. And it was pretty depressing because I had been working since I was 13. So, but nothing was panning out. And I remember talking to my dad at the time, about how distressed I was. And nobody wanted me and he said, Abby, there’s a golden pony under all this poop. Things that dad say, right? Well, not long after that, I just decided you know what I’m just gonna serve. In the meantime, I’ve got some spare Tom’s time I’ve never had before. And I’m just going to start helping people who need help. And at that time, my in laws had downsize and they needed help with their technology. And then their neighbor needed help. And then their neighbor needed help. And I thought to myself over the course of a month or so I was like, You know what, I really like this guy, I really like it. And I can only do something that I’m passionate about. And something I really enjoy. It serves a need. And and so I decided, You know what, I’m going to see if there’s really a greater need for this. Now I live in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Arizona, we have a lot of retirees, I didn’t start that company. Because of where I live. I started it simply because I just was passionate about it. And so I decided I was going to call senior living communities in my area, I had no connections there at all. In fact, I’ve been driving by them for years and didn’t even know they were there. That’s how unaware I was. They made five phone calls in one day and asked if they wanted a free workshop. And the workshop topic was uncertainly and made this up on the spot. I called it cellphone secrets for seniors. I hadn’t written it. I didn’t even 10 never taught it. In fact, I hadn’t even done anything on PowerPoint in 10 plus years. But I know what I’m a teacher, I’ve always taught I can do it if if I need to. And that’s the entrepreneur in me, right the ingrain entrepreneurial positioning. So I offered this free workshop, I got three bookings by the end of the day, by the end of the week, I had the other two and then just start going in to the senior living communities. Now, these are not nursing homes. These are luxury senior living communities, where people with a lot of income, a lot of planning a lot of desire to connect with family and friends and they want to use their technology, that that’s the type of person who lives here and I started teaching this class and then getting private sessions, one on one sort of billing for the class. And then I just started to grow the services out come 2020 Things changed dramatically. All of the senior living communities closed. I had no access to serving the people I loved. And one community here in Arizona, it’s called SAGE wood. They weren’t really tech forward. In fact, they have been doing their community wide meetings on Zoom for years because they didn’t have a large enough meeting room to house everyone. So they started teaching all of their residents had use Zoom years before COVID. In fact, they taught me how to use Zoom. And they and my students, they just kept asking me, Can you just please can you teach on Zoom? Right? We can’t come here. But can you teach on Zoom? Seriously, I hate it to go on and nothing to do with Zoom. So excessively complicated, right? And if you’re thinking about maybe getting, you know, a dozen or two people, people over the age of add on to a zoom call. I mean, who would ever want to do that? Right. But these residents knew how to use the technology. So I started teaching them on Zoom. I wasn’t happy with it. It was weird. And it was unusual, but I got used to it. And then I just started kind of piloting out the same model, and other places, and seriously was able to get so many people on Zoom, blindfolded. Like, you’re like, all right, click here, right? You know, that it really just became a victory after victory after victory. And senior savvy went from serving five communities here in Arizona, to five states, to 25 states to 35 States and international. So we really just grew because there was such a need for this type of programming at different senior living communities.

Richard Lowe  06:22

Very interesting that it sounds like a success story to me. Is this what you gave your test to talk about?

Abbie Richie  06:28

No, not at all. I didn’t. And so the TED talk, I really wanted to talk about the fact that the way we’re teaching older adults how to use technology is dead wrong. Okay. They’re not dinosaurs, they’re scholars and are really saw that people have been trying to teach older adults how to use technology as if they are 20 year olds, you know, in the Apple Store, it’s loud. And there’s like a lot of reverberation off the walls, and people are talking and even if you do take a class, the instructor speak very quickly, it’s it’s hard to hear and hard to understand what’s being said. So in the other, the other part of that is that older adults, I’m talking about older adults, I mean, like people who are 80 9100, they’re very traditional learners, they took notes, they wrote dissertations, they hand they type things, right. And they they like to learn in a to more traditional form. So and they want to learn from the basics. And there’s so many apps, so many cloud, there are many classes these days, online classes, there’s YouTube, whatever, but they like come at it from a place where you are, you might already be somewhat of an expert, and that you may already have your basic knowledge, foundation terminology, but my students want a basic foundation, and a basic understanding of the technology they’re using, so that they can build on it and feel more confident and empowered to continue learning. And so we’re, we’re skipping some of the steps when it comes to teaching older adults. So that was what I really wanted to talk about. But here’s what happened. It’s kind of funny. I had applied and applauded and have it. Have you ever tried to apply for a TED talk before? Richard?

Richard Lowe  08:22

No, I haven’t. It’s on my bucket list.

Abbie Richie  08:24

It’s very rigorous. And you know, we could definitely talk about that sometime. It’s incredibly rigorous process. It’s like you’re applying for residency, and and you have to apply uniquely at all these different places. But the fact is that it’s 100% possible, they’re doing TED Talks everywhere, every single day. And the first thing I did was I consulted with a Ted. Ted coach, and I gave him my idea builder out of the way we’re teaching older adults is dead wrong. And I you know, I had like this outline, I hadn’t didn’t have it written. And as you know, I don’t I pilot things first, right? See if it works, then I’m gonna build on it. But the TED, the TED coach, his name is Cesar Cervantes, he listened to me he said, You know what? You got this you got this like this is an original idea we’re sharing no one else is talking about this. Just keep applying you’re gonna get swooped up don’t give up and I really was committed every single Tuesday to complete three applications okay, like when I get an idea in my mind there’s just nothing that’s gonna stop me right. And you know, if you need more support, get into a Facebook group get into Caesars Facebook group get some help. So you know, because it can be rigorous and, and it could be a like a real determination. So midway into the year I started in January of 2022. Midway into the year. Someone from Ted emailed me and said, we like your application, but we want you to talk about something dif Right. So I was like, Okay, what do you want me to talk about? We want you to talk about AI. This was last year, and I was like, Alright, I’m really not an expert on AI. But I am an expert on older adults and technology. Can I talk about how AI will impact older adults and technology? And they said, Yes. And I said, Okay, you got a deal. So, because I’m not an expert in in AI, what I did was I’ve researched every single TED talk on AI, and I watched them all, there were like two dozen, but I’m sure there are a lot more today than there were a year ago. They do a lot of research. And then I kind of felt like an expert. Hit that point. And this is even before I ever started using, like chat, GBT, right, this is before that really even came on the, into our daily vocabulary. Nonetheless, there’s many ways in which AI is going to impact the longevity of our older population, okay. And that’s really what I focused on in how you perhaps as a family member, can help an older adult adopt to the AI technology instead of running from it, lean into it. And that’s what my Ted was about. And I was ready to deliver that on stage. And, and then they were still involved in COVID, because it was going to be in California. And so I just delivered it. I just recorded it and sent it in. So it actually got off easy, right? I didn’t have to go stand on stage and use a clicker. I could just do it from the comfort of my office, which I was really pleased about. Now, I want you to know, I do have another Ted baby in me to deliver the original one, right. My, my motivation is not as strong as it was. However, I’m not opposed to it either. I would do it.

Richard Lowe  11:58

You should apply for it. It sounds interesting.

Abbie Richie  12:01

Yeah. Thank you. i I’ll pick it back up. You know, you know, since I started the company, I I’ve also become known not so much as the AI expert, but an expert in technology for older adults. It’s kind of a niche thing, right? And this really isn’t in alignment with the influencer aspect. You see, I have a very specific messaging. My messaging is very specific. I’m not talking to everyone about technology. Although there are plenty of times they get called in to talk about consumer tech on the news, for instance, and I’m more than happy to do that. I like a good charger as much as the next person. But typically, my the discussion that I’m asked to have is on how technology is impacting older adults, specifically those living in senior living communities. And I have a show on every Tuesday. It’s called Tech Tuesday. It’s on a live stream platform that gets broadcasted out to over 60,000 C suite, Senior Living executives every week. I have loved doing the show is made me so knowledgeable and so connected on many, many levels. Then, like just this week, my topic was toilet tech, also known as the smart bathroom. I like I like alliteration. I’m sure you know that by now seeing your savvy cellphone secrets for seniors. I like the toilet tech, right? No one wants to talk about it, really. But it is a massive place for data collection. It’s like the next frontier of blood test.

Richard Lowe  13:46

I’ve actually written articles on it. Have you? Yeah, absolute smart the potential of a smart toilet now it can take all kinds. There’s all kinds of, I mean, what do you do? What happens go to the doctor, they do urine tests and all that kind of stuff? Well, I could do that really easily. You’re right there. And I wrote several articles on that. It was quite fascinating. There’s not a lot of it actually better at this point.

Abbie Richie  14:09

I had a couple of people on had a panel on I’m interviewing my panel, two of them have, you know, actual toilet technology. One is toy labs. And the other one is called kisana care and where they’re collecting data. And then the other one I their panelist was from dignity lifts so that you know, it’s actual lifting you from the toilet seat so that you don’t have to have a care giver support you in that way.

Richard Lowe  14:40

Yeah, when my wife was sick, I had to basically help her off the toilet and that was a lot of work a long time ago. She’s passed away since but I had to go through the whole thing. But yeah, that’s actually a very interesting niche is the older generation myself. I left tech 10 years ago, about 10 years ago, I was the Director of Technical Services and computer operations at Trader Joe’s. And then I decided, okay, I don’t want to do I don’t wanna work for corporate. I’m going to be retiring in a few years. So let’s start my own company. So I became a ghostwriter. And, and never looked back. It’s because tech and ghost writing for me go together real well. So I had a similar story on AI. I had a client coming to me said he wants to book on AI. It’s like, I barely seen it, seen it before. But there’s Google, there’s research tools there libraries, there’s, you know, there’s experimenting, there’s all kinds of ways. This is way before chat. GPT saw all kinds of things on AI. So I wrote a book on AI, and it became a pretty good seller. Not My name is not on it. But that’s okay. I got paid for it. And then I wrote a second, and then a third and a fourth. Did the same with the metaverse and secure cybersecurity. Now, I am a cybersecurity expert. So because that’s one of the things I did. So that was the did four books on that. And already eight books later. I’m doing very well. Even though, the first boss that I got after I left I went to work for ghost writing company told me it wasn’t going to make it. And I just love being gaslit because then it gives me a chance to prove them wrong. So I made it. And now I’m actually a premium ghostwriter. Charge good rates make good money, and expanding through DRM through the United coast that can go straight from anywhere. So my, one of my favorite customers right now he’s a current customer is a 90 year old. And fascinating story. And, you know, all facility. I mean, he’s totally healthy, you know, his mind is healthy. And we’re writing a book together, and it’s going very well. And he is sharp. My Lord, he has sharp he, he hand wrote these notes out, it’s like 50 pages of notes, literally not handwritten, but you know, hand typed. And it took me a while to I’m still working on making the book out of that, because that’s just notes. And he likes what I’ve written and, and he wants to do a second one, which I never would have expected to have a 90 year old, soon to be 91 year old as a ghost writing clamp. But it’s, it’s most of my clients tend to be like from 40 on up, because I’m a premium ghostwriter. So it’s a little more expensive, and they have to have the income to do that. So anyway, similar story, different different area. never given a TED talk though. That’s one of my goals. But I’m going to start from Toastmasters. I think it think I’ve been to some local Toastmasters before the pandemic, I want to start going back now that they’re coming back, because they went all zoom. And that’s not the way I want to learn to speak to people in person. It’s hard to speak to people in person when you’re on Zoom. And it seems like a good way to get over the I tend to, I tend to be extremely introverted and extremely shy. broke that we can get into that later if you want. And now I’m less introverted, still introverted, but less, not social. So I can have these kinds of interviews. And that was a big, big, big change in my life was being able to speak to people like you. So that’s kind of my story. So what So you’ve done a TED talk, you run a run a company, I assume you’ve hired many, many, many, many people for that now. It’s not just you started off with just you, right?

Abbie Richie  18:35

That’s right. It started off with just me. I hired an assistant about three years ago, that was a big thing. I didn’t I knew I needed someone I needed some help. And, and yeah, and like I tell people, because I do work with a lot of entrepreneurs and like to tell people you know, when you bring on a new person, it doesn’t have to be a, you know, 30 hours a week kind of thing or whatever, you can bring them on really small, start small and build from there and make sure that you have the rapport right make sure that you’re on the same page. So you know, I just started small with my assistant couple hours a week and started building from there. And that’s actually the model that I’ve put in place and anytime bringing on someone new, let’s start small, let’s make sure it’s good fit, and then continue to build your responsibilities out from there. So you know, I think is a really fine combination of skills and compassion, looking for someone to help with technology and when it comes to working with an older adults, there can be frustrating sometimes they don’t, they will ask you to repeat things often. And and a lot of it no job no It is when I’m working when I have worked with people one on one, a lot of it has to do with shopping my own agenda, so that I can be present for them. And what I found is that older adults, you know, I absolutely think they are the best people on the planet, because they’re present. And anyone under the age of 50, or even Yeah, is, aren’t is not that present. There are a lot of things competing with your attention. But my clients are very present, and they’re incredibly wise. And they have learned so much. And so we know if they want to share their story. In fact, quite often, I’ll just say what, you know, what kind of work? What kind of work are you doing? What kind of work did you use to do, and I’d love to hear about them. And And mostly, with the people that I started working with at these communities, they are some of the most accomplished folks I have ever met. We have, you know, judges, and I worked with one person who was the who was it an ambassador in a foreign country, another person who was the former CEO of mayo, just like, all these incredibly distinguished folks with so much wisdom. And, you know, a lot of my clients are women, they’re, you know, they’re their grandmas in there. The really neat thing about it is that, well, prior to COVID, used to bring my kids with me everywhere I had, I’ve got two kids, they’re teenagers now, and I wouldn’t bring them with me almost anywhere. But at that time, you know, I could pick them up from school, and I would just take him to a client session, and just say, You guys sit here, go sit in the library, at the community and do your homework, and they’re good kids. And they will do that occasion and bring them into to a into a client’s home and the clients just loved on them. Let me give you some cookies. It was like this full intergenerational blessing, right. And I have some clients and my kids would just say like, she’s our second grandma, she’s just so wonderful. And they and still are to this day. And I just really feel like there’s something completely holistic about, you know, serving older adults in their home with whatever their need is, and then also having this intergenerational thing with the kids. And in fact, a lot of my tech support specialists are moms of school aged children. And I’m just like, you know, what, this is an ideal. This is an ideal role for mom, because all of the tech support takes place during school hours, you know, nine to two, and not on the weekends. And I you’ll, you there’s just no homework involved here as a tech support specialist, because it’s really everything you already know, up here. That’s what we’re teaching along with some grace. And some patients. Since I’m in June, doing a quick Google search here, there were for me when they when I’ve seen my clients, and I always feel like they’re the universal mom. That’s what I like, like you have a universal remote. It can be used on a TV, right? But there’s like a universal Mom, where they’re gonna, they’re gonna give you wonderful advice. You know, you can ask them anything. And they they’ve just been lovely, lovely, wonderful people. And I couldn’t be more blessed to have like, fallen into this wasn’t what I didn’t have any notion whatsoever to start a company that was going to help older adults. In fact, I had already had my own company for 15 years before I started this one. And I really was like, gosh, you know, who wants that again, kind of thing, then honestly, I love having the flexibility. Working from home, I always work from home since my children were born. And my oldest is 16. And I it’s just very flexible. I can go pick them up now with all those holidays and early releases and stuff like that. So it’s just been an immense blessing. And people will say like, Oh, you must have you know, the patience of a saint or something like that. And I, I would never think of myself as someone with saintly patience. Just think of myself as someone in the right place. And so when you’re in the right place, you you have you know, the right mindset and the right spirit about you to help people.

Richard Lowe  24:44

I understand actually, a lot of my best clients have been older people. They have lots of stories to tell, and they want to write them down. They’ve made a business and they want they’re in and a lot of people I think fall prey, including myself fall prey to the idea that, that you can’t, there’s nothing to do in your older years, because you’ve retiring, you’re gonna go on cruises and stuff. And I like meeting the older people who have rejected that myself included. And hey, you know, the second you’ve got your, your money in the bank, you’ve had, you’ve had your kids now go out and go out and make a business for yourself or whatever you’re going to do, you know, whatever your dream is, mine was to become a writer. And, and pursue that. Because I think that we look at the older years is winding down of life. And actually, it’s not. It’s not most of the older people that I’ve met. You know, there’s always the older people who are winding down, but there are a lot of older people, especially my clients, like you’ve said, tend to be winding up, actually. But they’re in a different phase. Yeah. They, they know what they’re doing. Yeah. And it’s very interesting. That’s the kind of client that’s probably on my ideal client list. Is, is older people who have created a company who aren’t distracted by the running of the day to day company anymore. Who have of course, the means to do their book, and who wants to do it have a story to tell? That’s what I’m looking for my client base? A lot. And when I find them, it’s a joy. It really is.

Abbie Richie  26:26

Yeah. Yeah, I can see that for sure. So I was gonna say, you know, yeah, I would, I would never look at someone in their older years, and think that it was time for them to settle down. And actually, this was modeled for me by my parents. I told you, I’m a fourth generation entrepreneur, they will probably never stop working. Because they love what they’re doing. Right? I don’t think my dad would ever stop working ever. Like maybe the nature of his work is changing. Right now my dad only works on days, it starts that start with T. And he’s just continue to work from home since COVID. Because that works best for him, right? My mom is a retired interior designer, she will never stop working. She loves treating beautiful spaces for people. And while she may not need to, it’s inherent. It’s her talent, right? And you would eat that’s the kind of thing that keeps your you passionate and excited for the next day being able to use your God given talents and skills. And I think that when you find something and you have, you have knowledge to give back, this lens purpose to your day to day, and we all need a sense of purpose. And what could be better in you know, later in life to be able to mentor to write, you know, to give back. There’s this one gentleman I meet with Ray Gurley, he, he was like the VP of Sales for Procter and Gamble, and another GM and he and he’s, he’s also my business mentor. That’s what he does. Now. He does mentoring for small businesses, you know, and he just loves to be able to help people see beyond their limitations.

Richard Lowe  28:33

That’s very interesting. Yeah. Yeah, I got my first taste of working with an older person when I was 17, which was many years ago, longer than I’d like to admit. My grandfather was in World War Two. And he, we go to the family dinners, he would be the cook and he was always kind of dunking your grandfather. He’s grumpy. He has a temper, blah, blah, blah. He’s weird, blah, blah, blah. Well, one day I decided, you know, I should know my grandfather and to heck with everybody else. So kind of boldly went up to him and what’s your story? And first thing he did was teach me how to cook. Because he was a cook. It turns out he was a cook on the Yangtze River patrol just before World War Two. So he was on a little boat. There were five of them going up and down the Yangtze River, and then he was captured on curricula and took place in the Bataan Death March. It’s been four years in a POW camp. And he wrote his goals for this book. We never published it, but I wrote a book about his life. And after interviewing him a few times and reading his journals and things, what I realized is, you know, if I went through a Japanese hell camp for four years and watch people die around me, I’d be a little off to

Abbie Richie  29:41

you would be, that’s for sure.

Richard Lowe  29:43

And I’m totally fine with him now. But I thought at the time, I mean, he was a cool guy. He just, he was hard to approach because obviously, they don’t think they had the words in PTSD. Probably, you know, a lot and all the other things go along with that. And then coming home and having the shock of things have changed. Just all these things came out when I wrote his book. And it was amazing working with an older person. That was my first time working with somebody who was literally old. And it was funny. My second time working with somebody old was nothing new with ghostwriting. He was a World War Two, German Nazi Yubo commander, he was my boss at a liquor store. And it was he used to tell me all the stories, you know, he was the enemy, and stuff. And I learned a lot from him. Boy, he hated us. Oh, my God. But I stayed with him for two years. And I asked him why everybody else got fired within a month. You know, they come they go, they come here, he says, because you’re competent. And that’s when I learned something, as an 18 year old was be competent, and he can survive anything. And he was robbed. He was tough. He believed in discipline, obviously. And you know, he was doing okay is an immigrant to the United States. And he pretty much dropped all of the Nazi stuff. He wasn’t, he wasn’t likely to hardcore nuts. I mean, he still had the underpinnings of it, but he didn’t show any of it. But it was fascinating. These two older gentlemen, I think he was in his 70s, when he hired me, maybe 60s 70s. Same kind of thing. I mean, I’ll second and third and fourth, what you’ve said is the older generation has so much value. That it even as a young child, I mean, child at age 1718. I recognize that. And I would seek out those people for mentorship for coaching for just to talk to. So you’re absolutely right.

Abbie Richie  31:50

There’s a program, speaking about veterans that my daughter has joined in high school in high school called the veterans heritage project. Have you heard of this before?

Richard Lowe  32:01

I have not. So

Abbie Richie  32:03

what they do, and I think it’s been around about 18 years now, it’s different high schools. What the students do is they interview a veteran, and they tell their story. And for a lot of these veterans, no one’s ever they’ve never told their story. You know, you kind of you take your story, and you keep it close to home. Right? Have you found that to?

Richard Lowe  32:25

Very much so very, yeah.

Abbie Richie  32:28

So this is an opportunity for high school students to interview a veteran write their story. And then the story gets published in a in a book with like, 30 other stories, and then that story gets sent to the Library of Congress so that the high schooler then becomes a published author. And, and I knew that’s probably why my daughter was interested in maybe she had a little peer pressure to do it, because we actually don’t have any vets in our family that are living. And so the first year she just, they just matched her with someone. And she interviewed them, and went to the they had a book signing event and ceremony, and it was just so wonderfully patriotic, and intergenerational, and really just brought you into a space where you could be proud for these high schoolers. And you could be proud for these vets. Right. It was great. And last year, she interviewed my sister in law’s father, and which was just such a blessing. And my sister in law and her folks and my sister in law, her mom attended the interview with my daughter and my sister in law’s father. And it was the first time my sister in law, and her mom had ever heard his story. Right? And how beautiful to have my daughter, which is, you know, the nice writing about it, right? Just so beautiful. So, so beautiful. So a lovely, lovely thing that kids are doing high schoolers are doing it school, and just bringing the you know, the story, the experience and the honor back to a veteran. So this year, I had to my one client, Bill, my daughter is known because she used to go with me to his sessions. And Bill is a veteran and he was a a medic. Right? And so I can’t wait to hear this story. I really can’t. And then we have another friend of ours, who served as a As a OB, in Vietnam, for women working in the rice paddies in the rice fields, right? I can’t wait to hear that story. That’s going to be she’s she’s going to interview both of them this year. So, yeah, you know, I just think it’s just a fascinating way to bring honor and preserve people’s legacy.

Richard Lowe  35:23

Yes, well, that’s that’s what I do for a living is sometimes for business, but oftentimes, they hire me because they’re older people who want to tell their story. And and it’s that simple. And they want to leave a legacy for their children that’s actually quite common. They want their children to learn the morals and ethics of the older generation. Yeah, Trader Joe’s, I used to hire a lot of vets. They hired probably more vets, anybody else in the country, as consultants, my boss was not really happy with that. Don’t know why. But I heard a veterans group. They were all special forces, ex Marines and things. And it was quite fascinating. Because I would say, I need this done, and it just be done. There was no they weren’t late. They they gave me no, no, no, no, no backtalk, no, nothing. No ifs, ands, or buts. They negotiated a price if they went over, they ate it, you know. And it was awesome. They were ruthless as far as getting it done.

Abbie Richie  36:24

And I’ve hired a lot of recent retirees as well. And they’re wonderful to work with. These are motivated, self managed folks, you know, and they don’t, they’re not, they don’t want to change the world, they want to give back, right, and contribute. So that’s been really a real blessing. Because there’s this whole workforce of people who are overlooked, and which to give.

Richard Lowe  36:53

They’re overlooked because of the, the ethic, I guess, or the way that the mindset that people looked at things. Back when I was growing up was the American dream. You you grow up, you have a family, you have a job, you stay at that job until you die, you retire. And then you stay in retirement for a while, and then you die. And that was the American dream. For the whole time I was growing up. And I didn’t figure out that that wasn’t my dream, until I hit my 50s. And then I realized that’s just dumb. Companies don’t work like that anymore, if they ever did. And people shouldn’t be be locked into a company just because, you know, I mean, my grandfather was he worked at an assembly, assembly plant, he put together car parts and things and don’t don’t do that anymore. It’s all robots now. But which is kind of sad, because he was a vet. And he’s he stayed in a camp for four years in Japan and served for his country. And he works on he worked on an assembly line. Should have had gotten more honors than that. But anyway. It’s interesting, yeah, there’s this whole generation of people who who are there for us to give the wisdom back that they’ve learned over the years, one thing

Abbie Richie  38:10

you mentioned just a bit ago was the legacy. And I want to bring this up, because I just, I feel like it’s so important. And it’s not just your legacy, your story, but it’s but it’s also physically what you’re leaving behind, for your family, when you passed. And what I mean by that is there because I do work with so many, much older adults. I’m always talking to them about making their files, making those files and those passwords and those accounts as easy for family member who’s grieving as possible. So if there’s another type of legacy that I’m calling the digital legacy, right, it’s the legacy contact and digital information. You know, I remember firsthand when my grandparents passed away, this is 20 years ago, and they they had planned for years in the event of what would happen, which I find to be very loving, right? Because you you don’t want to leave the people you love with this mystery of what to do, right? They’re already alive decisions that you have to make. Say I remember my grandparents having a meeting with my mom and my uncle and say, Okay, here’s where all of our documents are, they’re in this, you know, metal file cabinet, portable, if you need it. It’s here the title, you know, all this stuff. And, and I remember them being really organized about it. But even when they did pass the world, there’s a lot of unraveling to do nonetheless. And so when I work with some of my clients and actually with some of their children who called me and said, You know what? My mom passed away? Do you have? Do you know how to get into her computer? Yes, I do. I do. Let me let me think about it. Let me think about that. Okay, here in her file, she has a file with all her passwords in it right? And let’s so I have had a lot of calls from adult children trying to now recover a Mac password, right. And so I really believe that especially with the people that I’ve worked with, who are what I call legacy leavers, because they have planned their lives so that they could then retire and in a certain place, that they also need to take the extra step and plan their, you know, their sounds terrible, their death or their files. And you know, what happens when, so that it’s not so hard for family to unravel the mystery?

Richard Lowe  41:01

Yeah, my, when my parents passed away, my dad passed away from COVID. And my mom passed away earlier, he lives in California live in Florida. And I had to, I wasn’t going to go on an airplane in the middle of COVID, that would have, that probably wouldn’t have been a good thing. So I had to find people in California who had helped manage that. Turns out he was a hoarder, he was a hoarder. And a little apartment up in Big Bear Lake and it was at his place was just full of God knows what. And we couldn’t get back his legacy. And when I realized when as we were going through that, nobody knows for sure what happens after death. But what we do know is that we have the ability, the power to leave a legacy. And if your legacy that you want to leave is that of being a hoarder, and a cranky old man, and whatever else that legacy is, then that’s your legacy. That’s how you’re going to be remembered. If you’re going to be if you want to be remembered as something different. And that’s how you’re immortal is your legacy, then change it, do what you said, you know, make those records available, I’ve kind of become the family photograph, pound, because I like that. So have I got 1000s 10s of 1000s of photographs, I got them all scanned, they’re all on the computer. They’re on the cloud, my sister has passwords. And it’s all there. It’s all organized, although I don’t know most of the people are. Because my parents didn’t leave any, they just let their photos. They’re just photos. Like, okay, there’s 10,000 photos here. I don’t know how many of these people are, there’s no way I’m going to find out who these people are. Because it’s an older generation, they’re gone. And I am second thing. And third and fourth thing, which you just said is that legacy that you leave behind is you. It’s what people will remember of you. I was doing genealogical research. And you come back and you hid the treasure hoard of somebody who kept journals, and pictures and things. And then you hit, that’s fine. And they have an okay life, and it looks pretty good. And then you hit the the person who has the really fascinating things they weren’t she was in a circus, and she had these brilliant costumes and things and the that’s all you know. And it’s like, two pictures, and maybe three words and three, three sentences. But you can leave together something but you never know if it’s true. And all she needed to do was leave a diary, you know, or something. And you’re absolutely right. It’s else, you are in charge of your legacy. And you don’t know it throughout your life, you should probably keep it maintained. And as you get older, you know what’s coming? Yeah, make it make it available.

Abbie Richie  43:45

I know, I really do encourage my students to make the whole password thing more transparent for the people they love. That’s it, you know, and what I find, you know, when I’ve worked with a lot of people one on one over the summer, I had a lot of people in my, in my staff that were out. So it’s just like, Alright, I’m back in the field. And I’m meeting with people again, which is great, because it really does allow me to create more content and more more workshop topics, that kind of thing. But, you know, I keep they keep seeing and meeting with people and they’ve got their passwords written under here. And there, you know what I mean? Not sure what it is and stuff until a lot of the work that we do with our clients is helping them come up with a password strategy and tracking that and logging it as well. Because you would think you know what, typically, we would think of as Oh, well why not just use a password manager. Right. But the thing is, is that a lot of older adults don’t want to do that and they are they don’t completely understand it or they don’t trust it. And I and because of that There has to be other alternatives for coming up with unique and secure passwords and ways to track them. I’ve found so many my students reusing the same password across multiple accounts. And that’s like, a terrible thing to do. And yet, overall statistics will tell us that typically, people are reusing the same password across three accounts. So one thing we do is like, we do a lot of education on coming up with unique insecure passwords for each and every account. I started to build on a theory and teach this theory to my students, and it’s one that they can remember, so that they don’t always have to rely on a book to look it up. So um, and that might be a topic for another discussion, please don’t get me started on it. Because once I start talking about cat, I cannot stop talking about security and passwords. It’s kind of been sort of my pet peeve topic, you know,

Richard Lowe  46:08

we should do another talk on it. Because I am a security expert too. So we could have a nice talk.


Yeah, there you go. Yeah. Yeah. So. So yeah, I just I just, but I started a new series, and I’m going to begin teaching it next month. It’s called scam savvy. And it’s a three part series on just awareness, the first part to awareness, the second parts on avoidance and the third parts on action. So I’m going to start teaching this series at all the various communities or online or wherever we’re going to just roll it out and see how it goes. And yeah, just think the more that you can bring awareness to the various scams that are out there, the better everyone is,

Richard Lowe  46:56

you need help with that I’ve been scammed successfully. I’ve defeated scams. And I’ve, I’ve helped people defeat scams. And I’ve helped console people who’ve been scammed. So I’ve been on all sides, except for haven’t been a scammer. And, you know, if you need like a guest speaker or something, I can help with that. If you’ve got any, any kind of shows where you need a guest speaker, feel free to reach out, you probably have a good idea of what I’m good at now. And obviously, if any of your older people want to are going to your clients want to write a book, I can help with that. That’s one of my jobs, to help people write books, stories, whatever they want to write about their life. I’ll finish this up with my my favorite client story. She was 78 years old, she approached me she said she wanted to do a book. And I looked at this, these people, and they were definitely not the model that I had in mind for a client. They mean, you know, they weren’t like, step out of the Beverly Hillbillies. You know, and I thought, Okay, I’ll just have a good lunch with them. It’ll be fun. Well, they had the money to do a book. And she, it was her bucket list item was to write down her dreams and make a book out of it. So I did that for her. Okay. And it was a young adult book. And it became a lot longer than she expected. And, and it went along for 16 months, it took us, we finally published it. And then COVID hit and she passed away. But she was so happy at the end of her life, that she had taken her her dreams, all of her dreams, and made it into a book, which was something she had desired from when she was a kid. And it’s still there on Amazon. And it still sells an occasional copy. But that wasn’t the important part. The important part was she got it written. And I wrote her a really good story. And she really liked it. She edited it a lot. But that’s fine as part of the process. And that’s my favorite story. I mean, I didn’t make a whole lot of money on it. It was it was it was definitely not at my premium rate. But it was one getting her stories. They were all handwritten too, and trying to decode her handwriting. But it was fun. And so I do have a good taste of what you mean by working with with the older generation. And as technology improves, and as medicine proves that older generation is going to live longer. Yes, it is living to 100 now, he’s within prime health. Yeah. Yeah. And that’s going to become more and more common. 100 200 you know, whatever. And that’s gonna be interesting. When people’s, that older generation starts realizing they still have the facilities, they still have their bodies and stuff. And that means and they have income now, and they can put that to use. Yeah, yeah, get back into the workforce, but in a different way, because now they’re smarter. I’m a lot smarter. I was dumb as a brick when I was 21.

Abbie Richie  49:57

Yeah. Yeah, you know, I get it. And it’s it’s really changing things. And yet there is a lot of systemic ageism out there that needs to be debunked

Richard Lowe  50:12

constantly. Well, yeah, it’s a, it’s a wealth of knowledge that’s out there. And it’s a wealth of people who have learned the hard knocks, know how to work in the workplace, because they’ve been there. So they’re not going to be the problem employees. They’re not going to be they’re not going to they don’t have families to support, they don’t have all these things that might get get in the way of being on the job, so to speak, all of that would be bad if I was at a company and there was HR listening. But they’re, they’re valuable employees. And with modern health, they’re going to be living longer and healthier. And it probably wise for us as a nation to put that to use. And not let it just disappear. Well, we’re coming up on definitely an hour, this was a fascinating conversation. I’d love to have more. Anytime you want. We can certainly talk about security and other things. You have any closing words that you want to mention to your audience?

Abbie Richie  51:15

Yeah, you know, and this is something that I actually mentioned in my TED Talk, is this when you are helping an older adult with their technology, rather than taking it from them, show them instead, how to do it. And that’s my Titanic takeaway.

Richard Lowe  51:35

You know, in writing, that’s actually very similar what we say in writing, you show you don’t tell your fiction and so show. Yeah, you’re absolutely right. Show them how to do it. Show them again, if you need to show them again, if you need to. They’ll get it. They’ve lived an entire life. They’re still alive. That means they got something right.

Abbie Richie  51:55

Right, right. Exactly. What Thank you, Richard, I have enjoyed it very much.

Richard Lowe  52:01

And then how do people get ahold of you? Oh, they can


reach me on on our website, are you which is sr, and ET, or you can also find me on LinkedIn and just send me a message there under Abby Ricci. And I post regularly so please reach out.


I’ll do that first. I don’t think we’re connected on LinkedIn yet. I think we connected on Facebook. Or maybe not. I don’t know. I don’t remember. But yeah, it’s been this has been Richard Lowe with conversations with influencers. And I hope you had a good time. I’m a ghostwriter. I’m also a writing coach. And I do LinkedIn branding, which means I do LinkedIn profiles. So until next time, thank you.

Richard Lowe

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