AARP Membership?

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texasdiver
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AARP Membership?

Post by texasdiver » Sun Feb 02, 2014 11:31 am

So on the day of my 50th birthday what arrives unsolicited in the mail? My AARP membership package. Talk about a slap in the face. They are nothing if not efficient and must keep a good database. They want $16/year for it. I've always assumed this was something like AAA where you get discounts and a magazine you don't read or want. But I thought I'd toss out the question. For those of you a bit ahead of me on this journey, do you do the AARP thing and do you use the benefits? If so, which ones? Does it just duplicate AAA for most travel discounts? Inquiring minds want to know.

investor
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Re: AARP Membership?

Post by investor » Sun Feb 02, 2014 12:12 pm

OPINION:

I think they are a sales/lobbyist organization that dos not necessary have the best interest of senior citizens as a prime objective. Long ago dropped them..

investsor

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Kenkat
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Re: AARP Membership?

Post by Kenkat » Sun Feb 02, 2014 12:16 pm

I just turned 50 in January and I got my AARP packet in the mail. They had my middle initial wrong which made me feel like they bought my address from some bulk mailing list (I've seen the combination on other junk mail too) and were mostly interested in getting my money.

I decided to keep my 16 bucks and threw the whole thing in the trash. Unless they are willing to enable me to retire at 50, I'll wait. :D

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ResearchMed
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Re: AARP Membership?

Post by ResearchMed » Sun Feb 02, 2014 12:22 pm

We only "renew" AARP membership (assuming it's lapsed, which often happens) if there is a discount (hotel or whatever) that doesn't also have something similar for AAA or just anyone "over <some specified age>.

The AARP emailed "newsletter" is ridiculous and simplistic, and full of ad/links to things/services of zero interest (or less!).

RM

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FrugalInvestor
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Re: AARP Membership?

Post by FrugalInvestor » Sun Feb 02, 2014 12:36 pm

I agree with others who have posted saying that AARP is primarily a marketing organization. Unfortunately we have friends who don't understand that and purchase products with the AARP name on them believing that AARP has their best interest at heart. I don't like the fact that an organization pretending to advocate for seniors seems more interested in extracting money from them, more often than not for substandard products, rather than providing objective information and advice.

That said I still belong in order to take advantage of their discounts, primarily hotel. We have newer vehicles (which include roadside service) and so have no need for AAA.
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CABob
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Re: AARP Membership?

Post by CABob » Sun Feb 02, 2014 12:55 pm

I have been an AARP member since I turned 50 [mumble, mumble years ago] because I had been told the discounts particularly on travel costs were very good. I have since learned that their discounts are no better than Auto Club or even just asking whether a hotel offered a "senior discount". The magazine and journal they publish is okay, but I find that often I don't get around to reading them.
So to answer your question, Yes, I do the AARP thing, but, No, I don't think their discounts are worthwhile.
Bob

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dual
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Re: AARP Membership?

Post by dual » Sun Feb 02, 2014 12:57 pm

I have never found an AARP discount that I could not have gotten with AAA, a senior, or other discount.

Also, so they raised their price to $16. Not so long ago it was $12 and I thought that was too high :D

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SpringMan
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Re: AARP Membership?

Post by SpringMan » Sun Feb 02, 2014 12:58 pm

AARP sells United Healthcare Medigap policies. They pushed their policies so much it drove me to Blue Cross. No regrets and I don't have to join AARP to purchase BC/BS Medigap plan C. Thanks to Mel for recommending Plan C, so far have not been disappointed.
Best Wishes, SpringMan

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Ged
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Re: AARP Membership?

Post by Ged » Sun Feb 02, 2014 1:00 pm

Since they get most of their income from selling insurance I regard them as primarily an insurance marketing company that uses its income for political and lobbying purposes.

It might be worth being a member for their Medicare Supplemental insurance that seems to get occasional good reviews from Boggleheads, or the large number of discount offers (especially hotels) that their affiliates offer. However be aware they are also politically active and check out that their lobbying efforts before buying.

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FrugalInvestor
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Re: AARP Membership?

Post by FrugalInvestor » Sun Feb 02, 2014 1:13 pm

CABob wrote:I have been an AARP member since I turned 50 [mumble, mumble years ago] because I had been told the discounts particularly on travel costs were very good. I have since learned that their discounts are no better than Auto Club or even just asking whether a hotel offered a "senior discount".
I agree, but I don't want to call and make all my reservations (and have no need for an auto club membership). I make a lot of hotel reservations during certain times of year and find it much more convenient to do online. When making reservations online (and I suspect offline, although it may not be stated) the senior discount requirements are typically that you be '62 years or older' or have a 'valid membership ID of a retired person organization.' That doesn't work for those under 62 unless you're just trusting that verification of age won't be requested.

Wish I had another better option but haven't found one yet.
Last edited by FrugalInvestor on Sun Feb 02, 2014 1:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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boater07
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Re: AARP Membership?

Post by boater07 » Sun Feb 02, 2014 1:18 pm

I have never been able to beat their Hartford auto/HO insurance. Also, their disappearing deductible is quite attractive for claims free driving.

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cheese_breath
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Re: AARP Membership?

Post by cheese_breath » Sun Feb 02, 2014 1:19 pm

For reasons I can't disclose (because they would be classified as political) I cancelled my membership a couple years ago. But they keep sending me renewal packets every few months anyway. Now they're starting on my wife. She just got one last week.

I get all my discounts through AAA.
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BigFoot48
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Re: AARP Membership?

Post by BigFoot48 » Sun Feb 02, 2014 1:25 pm

We were members for a few years before I decided they were a marketing/political organization who had never once, as in never, asked my opinion on what the organization's positions should be. It's a private company and I decided I didn't want to be a supporter/member and contribute my money and membership number to it anymore.
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Julieta
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Re: AARP Membership?

Post by Julieta » Sun Feb 02, 2014 1:33 pm

Agree, it's not worth it, and the magazine they mail is not of interest to me.

I would have used the small discount for the Safe Driver Program, which I believe is worth a $5 credit, but that is all I could see of benefit. If you have not signed up for the Over 50 Driver Refresher Class, it is worth a nice discount on your auto insurance. There is a link to that on their website. No need to be a member to take the class.
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frugaltype
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Re: AARP Membership?

Post by frugaltype » Sun Feb 02, 2014 1:34 pm

I joined when I wanted their Medigap insurance. Before that, no. I have them not send me stuff like the magazine, since it's just wasted paper.

jonbois
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Re: AARP Membership?

Post by jonbois » Sun Feb 02, 2014 1:44 pm

I agree with the previous post i.e. an insurance marketing company masquerading as a consumer advocate.. The magazine in uninformative and the discounts can be had elsewhere. Their platform has a liberal bias.
I chose not to extent my membership after 10 years.

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ThereAreNoGurus
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Re: AARP Membership?

Post by ThereAreNoGurus » Sun Feb 02, 2014 1:47 pm

I will never join AARP. They lobby for political causes that I vehemently oppose.
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beardsworth
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Re: AARP Membership?

Post by beardsworth » Sun Feb 02, 2014 2:07 pm

texasdiver wrote:So on the day of my 50th birthday what arrives unsolicited in the mail? My AARP membership package.
kenschmidt wrote:I just turned 50 in January and I got my AARP packet in the mail.
What I've never understood is: How do they know someone has turned 50? Where do they get this information with a person's name and birth date? From credit bureaus? Other?

IMO it seems kind of creepy.

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LadyGeek
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Re: AARP Membership?

Post by LadyGeek » Sun Feb 02, 2014 2:33 pm

As a reminder, political comments (which includes lobbying) are off-topic.
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Snapper
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Re: AARP Membership?

Post by Snapper » Sun Feb 02, 2014 2:50 pm

I will provide an alternate opinion. We read and enjoy the publications and our much less than 50 kids read it when we are done. I think they do a good job of interpreting issues affecting seniors and I occasionally get a discount on something. Maybe AAA has it too but but I do not exhaust myself proving AARP is not offering exclusive deals. You may not agree with all of their positions but you will in my experience get a good explanation of the issue.

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whaleknives
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Re: AARP Membership?

Post by whaleknives » Sun Feb 02, 2014 2:57 pm

I've found the National Park Service/Forest Service/Bureau of Land Management Senior Pass to be as good as AARP for senior motel discounts. You have to be 62, but it's a one-time $10 fee. The motel clerks seem to be looking for any excuse to give you the discount.
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Re: AARP Membership?

Post by S&L1940 » Sun Feb 02, 2014 3:10 pm

investor wrote:OPINION:
I think they are a sales/lobbyist organization that dos not necessary have the best interest of senior citizens as a prime objective. Long ago dropped them..
investsor
agree they are an insurance marketing group with a presence in lobbying for senior issues. Kinda like those promos where the department store boasts that 1% of profits (not even purchase amount) goes to XX charity!
you can buy their products without being a member - I have their Part D and supplemental policies.
strangely, after my last membership expired and ignoring repeated efforts to sign me up again, I received a 5 year freebie membership courtesy of an advertiser of theirs. so I continue to receive their magazines. and no one has yet to ask me for an AARP card when offering a discount - that is almost automatic.
but, I do not think they are evil...
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wilpat
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Re: AARP Membership?

Post by wilpat » Sun Feb 02, 2014 3:22 pm

I dropped them for "political comments (which includes lobbying) are off-topic." .
Contrary to the belief of many, profit is not a four letter word!

Clumsum
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Re: AARP Membership?

Post by Clumsum » Sun Feb 02, 2014 3:25 pm

Not a member and mostly likely never will be. Too liberal and narrowly focused.

reisner
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Re: AARP Membership?

Post by reisner » Sun Feb 02, 2014 3:30 pm

I too have found their Hartford home/auto/umbrella policy rates unbeatable by a long shot. Way better than Geico, Amica, and AAA.

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Re: AARP Membership?

Post by NAVigator » Sun Feb 02, 2014 3:47 pm

Snapper wrote:I will provide an alternate opinion. We read and enjoy the publications and our much less than 50 kids read it when we are done. I think they do a good job of interpreting issues affecting seniors and I occasionally get a discount on something. Maybe AAA has it too but but I do not exhaust myself proving AARP is not offering exclusive deals. You may not agree with all of their positions but you will in my experience get a good explanation of the issue.
Agree. I have been a member for the past 10 years and have enjoyed reading about issues relevant to seniors. I don't join for the discounts. I have found the information and interesting reading of pertinent topics to be well worth it.

Jerry
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Re: AARP Membership?

Post by Richard Kempf » Sun Feb 02, 2014 3:55 pm

I joined at 50 and signed up for a life membership for $75 (don't know if a life membership is still available). A few perks I use are:
1. Defensive driver course every 3 years yields a $51 per year discount on our 2 car GEICO auto insurance.
2. 15% off our bill at Carrabbas on Wednesdays
3 A free donut with a large coffee at Dunkin Donuts
4. Hotel discount
5.United Healthcare Medicare supplement insurance

I agree the AARP Magazine and AARP Bulletin are not worth much, but the first five benefits are well worth it for us.

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Re: AARP Membership?

Post by Pacific » Sun Feb 02, 2014 4:01 pm

ResearchMed wrote:We only "renew" AARP membership (assuming it's lapsed, which often happens) if there is a discount (hotel or whatever) that doesn't also have something similar for AAA or just anyone "over <some specified age>.

The AARP emailed "newsletter" is ridiculous and simplistic, and full of ad/links to things/services of zero interest (or less!).

RM
+1

I will not renew after 3 years. I originally joined because I thought the United Healthcare Medicare Supplemental Plan F was the way to go and you get discounts if you are a member of AARP. However, the discounts decrease each year and I found that Mutual of Omaha Plan G was better suited for me. The most annoying thing other than the cheap publication (the ink of which rubs off on your fingers) they send "honoring" some other 60+ year old celebrities is the emailed "newsletter". AARP must think I am really stupid (of course, so far, they have been right).

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Re: AARP Membership?

Post by rgardne70 » Sun Feb 02, 2014 4:45 pm

I joined many years ago. Actually enjoyed their newsletters and magazine. They had beneficial information and enjoyable articles.

But I was getting lots and lots of mail solicitations for credit cards and insurance. I asked them to take me off their mailing list for these solicitations. But the solicitations continued.

So when it came time for renewal last year, I decided not to renew.

To the best of my knowledge I never used AARP to get any discounts so other than the newsletter and magazine there was no value for me.

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Re: AARP Membership?

Post by 1210sda » Sun Feb 02, 2014 4:56 pm

Wow !

I dropped AARP many years ago (after being a member for many years as well) due to their marketing tactics and political views. I thought my opinion of them was in the minority.

Reading the comments on this post is quite satisfying. I am not alone.

1210

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Re: AARP Membership?

Post by mickeyd » Sun Feb 02, 2014 5:02 pm

AARP seems to be a wonderful marketing organization that makes a lot of money. However none of that money goes to you. Pass on this opportunity to join up. BTW, they will be giving you numerous opportunities to sign up for the next 10-20 years.
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texasdiver
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Re: AARP Membership?

Post by texasdiver » Sun Feb 02, 2014 5:13 pm

Wow...30 responses in a couple hours. Guess I struck a nerve. Sounds like there really isn't all that much too it. They make it sound like you struck gold in your golden years. Into the round file it goes.

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Rob5TCP
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Re: AARP Membership?

Post by Rob5TCP » Sun Feb 02, 2014 5:23 pm

While i have no interest one way or other in their political activities, their discounts have (on occasion) saved me several times what my membership was. I checked with
AAA/AARP and others; and there have been times when theirs came out on top.
I helped a good friend evaluate medigap policies (and in 10 years I will be); and AARP seemed to be her best option. The difference there was substantial.
So, for $16 it's worth it. Never read the magazine (wish they would just send it in .pdf, so they do waste the trees).

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Re: AARP Membership?

Post by Mel Lindauer » Sun Feb 02, 2014 5:44 pm

I think the OP has gotten a wide range of opinions, and we're walking on eggs with the political comments. This thread has run it's course, so I'm locking it now.
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