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Should You Join AARP?


Around the time of your 50th birthday, you probably received (or will receive) an application in the mail to join the American Association of Retired Persons , better known by its initials AARP. Your first thought was likely, “How did they know I am about to have this milestone birthday?” The second was, “Should I join?”


Founded in 1958, AARP is an offshoot of a group called the National Retired Teachers Association. Ten years after only serving the needs of retired educators, the group changed its name to include all people aged 50 and over.

AARP is a powerful advocate for senior issues. It lobbies state and federal lawmakers to support initiatives that benefit seniors, giving voice to a sector that might not otherwise be heard.

But lobbying is just a small part of what AARP does (of its estimated $1 billion in revenue in 2006, for example, $23 million was spent on lobbying efforts, just 2.3%). Instead, AARP concentrates its efforts on helping seniors directly, and this is why you might want to consider joining the estimated 40 million people who have already signed up.

For the $16 a year membership fee (which becomes even cheaper if you sign up for multiple years), you get a vast array of benefits and discounts. This includes a discount on ADT medical alert systems (see its website for details). There are also discounts from hundreds of stores, restaurants and services. You will easily make that $16 back in the discounts you will receive.

An AARP membership also makes you eligible for home, auto and most importantly, health insurance. AARP has relationships with a number of insurance providers to make sure you get the top-notch coverage you deserve.

This is just the tip of the iceberg for what an AARP membership can do for you. At the very least, wouldn’t it be nice to know that you are a member of a huge organization that has your best interests at heart?

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