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AARP..join or not?
Old 01-22-2008, 05:40 PM   #1
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AARP..join or not?

I just turned 50 a few days ago. I think AARP has a spy camera set up in my house, and knew it was about to happen. 3 days before my birthday, I got an invite to join in the mail. What I want to know is...should I join up? What's in it for me? Are they mostly hype or are they really a valuable organization to people my age and older? Anybody reccommend or un-reccommend? (I know this is not a word!). Just wondering whether there's really any value in membership or not.
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Old 01-22-2008, 05:55 PM   #2
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The greatest benefit to me is their insurance. I have auto and homeowners through them (The Hartford) and its the best rate I could find. I also have their towing service that is cheaper than AAA.

They include a monthly magazine that is well done and informative along with discounts that may or may not be a benefit to you.
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Old 01-22-2008, 06:09 PM   #3
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Marty, when I turned 50 I was offered a 10 year membership for $30 and I took them up on it. When that ran out and I was faced with forking over $12.50 for a one year membership, I had trouble coming up with anything other than their magazine that I felt was worthwhile.

None of their insurance programs are as good as I can get through USAA. Some of their discount programs might be decent if you use the services but as an example I found you could get the same or better deals on hotels and motels through some of the travel websites.
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Old 01-22-2008, 06:16 PM   #4
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I've gotten some great rates on car rentals by booking directly through their travel site.

Plus their magazines sell some cool looking three wheeled bikes and walk in bath tubs that you won't find anywhere else.
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Old 01-22-2008, 06:43 PM   #5
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Marty, when I turned 50 I was offered a 10 year membership for $30 and I took them up on it. When that ran out and I was faced with forking over $12.50 for a one year membership, I had trouble coming up with anything other than their magazine that I felt was worthwhile.
Agreed! Over the last 10 years my thoughts are that all they do is try to "sell something", not necessarily work for the benefit of the 50+ crowd.

I did not renew...

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Old 01-22-2008, 06:44 PM   #6
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It's nice that they advocate for seniors' interests. But otherwise I do not see much value in a membership (and I don't always agree with their political stance on some issues).

I have not joined, though I read their magazines which are still being sent to a friend's uncle, three years after the uncle's death.
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Old 01-22-2008, 06:57 PM   #7
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I joined it. Magazine not too bad but I doubt I will renew.
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Old 01-22-2008, 07:06 PM   #8
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Got a better auto insurance plan thru American Family Insurance, but every once in awhile the AARP magazine has some really worthwhile tip that saves me more than the $12 yearly membership. So, it is worth it to me.
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Old 01-22-2008, 07:10 PM   #9
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I don't agree with their political agenda, therefore, I choose not to support them.
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Old 01-22-2008, 07:52 PM   #10
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I don't agree with their political agenda, therefore, I choose not to support them.
My feelings exactly.
They worked against the recently passed social security state tax exemption in MO. Their reason---Anyone who earns more than 30K per year doesn't need it.
Then too, their insurance can't hold a candle to USAA.
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Old 01-22-2008, 09:40 PM   #11
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Don't know why but I was invited to join AARP at 48...didn't consider it a compliment...wasn't impressed. I don't agree with their political agenda, either. Never joined...probably never will.
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Old 01-22-2008, 09:48 PM   #12
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I'll add one more to the "do not recommend" list.

I had a ten year membership which made some sense on a per year basis for cost of dues. When that expired, they only offered 3 year as longest term and it wasn't worth it on a per year basis. I did not renew.

Auto, homeowners, life, LTC insurance all seemed to me via competitive shopping to be scams. AARP "sold rights" to the insurers to market as the "AARP" carrier for the particular coverage, so AARP was making out like a bandit, but the insurances weren't great deals at all for consumers. I beat the auto insurance price by $450 a year with a national carrier. LTC did not have any flexibility on features offered, and features they did offer were not what I wanted.

The magazine was nearly the only thing I felt of value, and I can get copies free at the magazine exchange bench at our local library.

AARP can get you motel discounts, but nothing you can't get just by asking for "senior" rate (or AAA rate). Or just doing the internet motel rate searches/bookings.

Their politics did not match mine either.

I really feel they are a scam organization. All hype, but AARP gets all the benefits, and the members get the shaft.
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Old 01-22-2008, 09:56 PM   #13
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I suggest you take a look at their website aarp.com. That might help with your decision. We've been members for 3 years now, but I'm on the fence about renewing.
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Old 01-22-2008, 10:44 PM   #14
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Do a little googleing of AARP MONEY LOBBY and it might add a little bias to your decision to join or not.

I never felt comfortable supporting an organization that spends millions to lobby congress.
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Old 01-23-2008, 03:12 AM   #15
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I got the $30 10 year offer back in 1990 and took them up on it (actually I think my Mother bought it for me after I showed her the offer letter). Never used any of the so called services and only read then scanned the magazine monthly. I have never been able to save any money with their offers. I did get the clocks from the Hartford when getting offers for Car Insurance but they NEVER could beat USAA. IMO their politics are too much to the left to suit me either. The magazine has very few original articles just more or less rehashes of others - which can be found free on the internet. They "front" for a lot of other organizations I guess for the cash concessions they get from them, but that is their business, so I can hardly fault them for it. Personally, OP, I would pass on the membership.
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Old 01-23-2008, 05:52 AM   #16
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I signed up when I was 50 for the 10 years. Dh likes the magazine, we use the discounts when we travel and I get a discount off my AOL account which adds up to about $33.00 a year, makes it worth it for me.

Oh and work pays for my AOL account.

Do I like their politics, no.
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Old 01-23-2008, 06:50 AM   #17
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What are their politics exactly?

I assume it is - 'If it puts money in the pocket of our members, we support it - screw everyone else.'? Does that sum it up?


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Old 01-23-2008, 08:00 AM   #18
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What are their politics exactly?
They did not like the idea that anybody could invest their own SS contributions (or even a portion), and fought against any change in the current SS program.

I belive their assumption is that the "masses" are not that smart ....

Maybe so, but if I had the option to direct my SS "taxes" to my own "investment scheme" I'm sure I could have retired earlier than I did..

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Old 01-23-2008, 08:01 AM   #19
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Isn't AARP the biggest lobbying group in America with the NRA (National Rifle Assn.) being second?
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Old 01-23-2008, 08:07 AM   #20
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I've been a member since for about 7 years, but don't read the magazines as much any more.

I don't completely trust AARP. One of the reasons I continue to renew is that they sometimes, not always, lobby the government for issues important to retirees. That remains important during this era when the politicians talk about cutting SS, Medicare, etc.
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