I joined AARP not once, but twice, for a number of reasons. As soon as I reached the magic “red hat” age, I joined for the first time as a means of embracing the joy of growing less young. The second time I joined for other benefits that membership brings.
AARP has the reputation of advocating for those of “a certain age,” and I joined for the benefit of their voice and presence that membership brings. At the time, I was still working full-time and had medical benefits through my employer. However, I took advantage of benefits such as hotel and shopping discounts. In fact, one of my fond memories involves checking my father into a hotel and competing to see who could whip out the AARP card first for the hotel discount.
I let my membership lapse when work life and personal life became quite hectic, but in the back of my mind, I knew I would join again.
Recently, I became an AARP member for the second time for two reasons. First, while shopping, I asked a merchant about discounts. AARP membership was the only discount the merchant offered, which reminded me of the various AARP benefits. Secondly, both my husband and I have retired, and so our access to benefits changed, especially dental and vision benefits. Currently, we have extended these benefits through COBRA but are looking for benefits beyond COBRA.
In addition, AARP offers cell phone plans appropriate for seniors who have little need for a cell phone but keep one for convenience.
Finally, a major reason I became a member for the second time is the sense of community. Not only have I exchanged stories with my peers regarding AARP membership benefits, but I enjoy the AARP “Magazine,” “Bulletin,” and emails. The “Bulletin” offers practical information for seniors, such as how to avoid scams, how to manage retirement financially, and how to manage a second career in retirement or simply earn some extra money. Recently, the “Magazine” published feature stories on famous seniors, such as Jane Pauley and Susan Sarandon. Also, the e-mail edition offers a combination of practical information and human interest stories, such as where-are-they-now stories of the child stars from our younger years.
Advocacy, discounts, and community are a few of the reasons that AARP is twice as nice for me.