It started as a bit of a joke on Facebook since I’m looking at turning 50 sooner than I care to admit. And then the thread picked up with more voices, from the forty-year-olds to seventy-year-olds. Is the AARP membership worth it? What do you really get? According to my family historian, it's worth it just for the 20% discount on Ancestry.com.
No one likes to think of themselves as an active deal seeker or coupon cutter. But who doesn’t want to cut a few coupons and save money -- even if your income isn’t fixed? We all like saving money, that’s for sure.
Joining a club that offers its members discounts makes the most out of the power of a group. This is why so many people choose the Auto Club by AAA. Who doesn’t like discounts on travel, dining, and vehicle repairs? Sign me up! (Just kidding, I’ve been a member for 28 years.)
Once you start adding up the discounts you get from Auto Club, restaurants, health insurance, those savings help your dollar stretch a bit further.
Back to the topic at hand, though. Researching family history can be an addiction (okay, passion) for many. For example, my family’s historian has found over 100,000 members of the McCann family. One Hundred Thousand! It’s crazy and amazing. It’s so cool to find out that all of the men on that side of my family have fought in wars starting with the Civil War (north). But that’s no surprise knowing I’m Irish.
If your family historian is passionate about Ancestry.com, you can give them a gift membership. (These memberships are nothing to balk at.) That 20% discount my aunt got saved her $100! Sadly, it is a one-time thing. (So now we know what to buy our aunts for their birthdays, right?)
Besides being part of a network that fights for the rights of older Americans (or senior citizens), it’s nice to have access to medical and vision insurance plans -- even ones that work with Medicare! (We all get sort of a rude awakening when we find out what Medicare doesn’t cover.)
It’s rather nice to know they have insurance plans for property (home, auto, boat) information on caregiving, and partnerships with companies like Consumer Cellular and Silver Cuisine. They support community building, diversity, and career growth. (Yes, older Americans still work.)
Memberships cost $16 a year (we spend a lot more on eating out) but are only $12 and change if you join with automatic renewal.
Many seniors write that they don’t have a mobile and never intend to. So the double opt-in text is a barrier to entry. They basically will never join AARP.
Many members were reluctant to join because of their political activism but joined anyway. Still, others who decide not to join AARP, along with their barrage of advertising, are opposed to them as one of the largest lobbies in Washington.
“AARP, with its nearly 38 million members, is one of the most powerful lobbying organizations in Washington. Thanks in part to AARP, the federal government spends $6 on elderly people for every $1 it spends on children. The National Rifle Association, by comparison, claims 4.5 million members.” Stephen Miller, Washington Post
This may also be a concern for you as well which is completely reasonable. Never sign up for something that causes you to doubt your belief system. Saving a few dollars here and there may not be worth it.
Whether or not you choose to join AARP isn’t important to us. Here at Senior Life FYI, we want to have the conversation. My personal experience with Boomers, Senior Citizens, and Older Americans tells me this is a generation that is tough, smart, and savvy. No one likes to be condescended to, least of all The Baby Boomers.
Our goal is to provide information, resources, and make you laugh a little. Life’s too short for boring and dry articles about Medicare. Am I right? I mean, surely you have more research to do on your family tree.