As I approached my 50th birthday, I didn’t think it would be that much of a big deal. I wouldn’t fall into a depressive funk and lament my lost youth, but neither was it something I’d shout from the rooftop. Then my brother suggested I look into joining AARP, a guide to aging and retirement, and gave me his latest copy of its magazine. I didn’t just browse; I read it front to back and I was hooked. I was astounded at the great discounts, free health information, and financial advice, all because I turned 50 years old.
I immediately joined, received my membership card and within three months found that this magic key would save me almost $200 when I needed a rental car if I used an AARP approved service. I choose the one nearest to me, Budget Rental, and drove off the lot in a newer model cherry red Camero, the dream car of my youth, with a huge grin on my face.
Later that day I discovered I could save 15 percent on a motel rate at nice places like The Hilton Garden Inn, Days Inn, and Comfort Inn, to name a few. Living on a fixed income made this benefit one of my favorites, and I use it often. During these mini vacations, I discovered how being an AARP member could get me a sweet breakfast deal at Dunkin’ Donuts and a delicious steak dinner at Outback.
When I started the complicated process of applying for Medicare and switching from my employer’s plan, it was AARP that I contacted, and they helped make the transaction easy and less stressful. They explained all of my options for supplemental insurance and a prescription drug plan that was affordable, being patient and kind when I needed more clarification on some issues.
The magazine that comes with membership is full of financial advice, social security concerns and issues, and current events that directly affect us and of which we need to be aware. On the lighter side, there are jokes and quizzes and beautiful photos taken all over our country. Most of all, AARP gives each and every one of its members an opportunity to express opinions, suggestions and concerns, and make certain our state representatives never forget we are still a force to be reckoned with. Whether you’re 50 or older, giver yourself a birthday gift of membership in the AARP and see what you’ve been missing.