I’ll be honest. I used to hate the AARP. They started sending me mail when I was around 50 and I so hated to be reminded that I was going to be of an age much sooner than I expected or wanted where their offerings might be relevant to me. I was also leery that they had been investigated by the government a number of times in the 1980s and ‘90s for various reasons having to do with their origins and their non-profit status. After reading the first two or three mail pieces asking me to join, I just routinely tossed it all away for about the next 20 years.
Recently, however, I have come to realize two important things: 1) they no longer call themselves the “American Association of Retired Persons” and 2) they really are pretty wonderful.
I joined a few months ago so I could take advantage of their Medicare Supplement plan (I had one before but my Massachusetts-based insurance company could not sell me the different policy that I wanted because I had moved out of state). My first surprise was how inexpensive it is to join. It costs $16 a year with a free second membership to someone who lives with you, which when I joined struck me as being a very reasonable price to pay to get the insurance policy I wanted.
Soon after, I began to learn much more about all of the other benefits that AARP membership offers. First of all, you get all kinds of discounts including on restaurants, movies, and car rentals. The discounts on travel are extensive and wide-ranging, and include cruises, hotels, and vacation packages. Then there are discounts on many health-related items such as eyeglasses.
The AARP website contains tons of useful information. You can read about staying healthy by eating right and being motivated to exercise, find ways to consider your financial picture, and my personal favorite, delve into pages and pages of travel information. You can also subscribe to a variety of newsletters to keep you up-to-date on the topics you find of greatest interest.
A fun thing if you like movies: last week, the award show for Best Movies for Grownups was televised for the first time (even though these awards have been handed out for 17 years and yes, another hats-off to the baby-boom generation) and – you guessed it – it was a production of the AARP. The show itself was delightful with all of the award winners making politics-free speeches! Highlight: Helen Mirren won the Lifetime Achievement Award.
I know this probably sounds like a puff piece or an ad for the AARP. It isn’t, I promise. For someone like me who was so dead set against them for so long, I have been very happy to now be able to take advantage of what they offer. If you haven’t checked them out in a while, you should. After all, their motto is, “Aging is changing – no limits, no labels” and who of us is going to argue with that?
I'm Linda Fleit. My husband and I were lucky enough to retire when we were 61, about nine years ago. We love being retired and want to share all that we've learned over the years about this wonderful stage of life.