AARP – Worth It?

A few years ago, when we turned 50, we were greeted by invitations to join AARP, the American Association for Retired Persons. My birthday is 8 months before my wife’s, but for some reason hers came first.

We didn’t join the organization, even though it’s only about $15 a month. I didn’t even give it much consideration, even though I’ve checked out personal finance articles on their webpage occasionally. I guess I’m not quite ready to commit to joining a group that is depicted with the pictures of the white-haired seniors playing golf in the sun.

Recently a group of ‘avid early retirees’ on early-retirement.org got into a discussion of whether to join AARP or not and so I was interested to see if I was missing something.

I rallied up the comments people made and was surprised to see that 30 of the 49 respondents (61%) are AARP members. Another 6 (12%) belong to AMAC, which bills itself as a politically conservative alternative to AARP.

Those that join generally do so largely belong to benefit from the discounts members get on travel and restaurants. A few of the discounts are quite significant. Others join because they subscribe to AARP health insurance.

The key reason people don’t belong is because they don’t like AARP’s political positions. In general, it is viewed as a liberal organization – that some feel operates as a PAC for electing Democrats. I’m not sure about that, but even some subscribers complain about AARP’s political activity not representing their views.

The one area that everyone agrees on is that AARP floods people with junk mail. Some people find the AARP magazine interesting, but it comes with tons of other junk mail that results from AARP selling their mailing list to other companies.

Since I’m too young for a senior discount on anything, I think I’ll see if AARP or AMAC offer any good deals for us. Do any readers have any additional thoughts on these organizations?

7 thoughts on “AARP – Worth It?

  1. Well, Chief, first thing the membership price is only $16 a year (not $15 a month). That’s equivalent to a couple lattes at the local barista. Negligible cost. Just one use of one discount can pay for it. In my Medicare years, no more dental insurance – except through AARP. Big help to us. They also keep me posted on legislative chicanery in all-blue Corrupticut, as it relates to potential bills that may negatively impact seniors. All in all, worth it for us (even though my wife hates their “politics.”)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been an AARP member for multiple 5yr rounds ($12/yr?) and while I dislike their politics, I do like using their discounts. One night at a hotel or a couple tourist site entrance fee discounts and I’ve saved my membership. They probably make all their money from advertising in the mass of magazines/newspapers I receive. This is one area “print” man not go away quickly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I suppose AARP estimates that their reader/member base is less likely to be online and that print is a better way to reach the audience.

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  3. We joined AARP purely for the discounts as well. At only $16.00/year, about two discounted hotel stays pays for the membership. I can recycle junk mail with the best of them. ~ Lynn

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  4. I have the same question: is it worth it? I look at what they offer and just shake my head.
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    Bbbut, I don’t travel much, my wife, however, loves to – I have to stick around the house to take care of the livestock.

    Liked by 1 person

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