Why You Don’t Need to Be Retired or 50+ to Reap the Rewards
by Mackenzie Stewart
TikTok has taught me more than I care to admit. The amount of times I have opened that app and found out I was cleaning something wrong or eating something the wrong way is sometimes astounding. So it’s no surprise that a video on TikTok is what convinced me to get an AARP membership.
What is AARP and what do they offer?
It’s The American Association of Retired Persons non-profit. It’s a way for people nearing or in retirement to gain access to things like discounted insurance and medical care.
AARP also offers discounts on a lot of other things. Like a lot a lot. I found discounts on prescription medication, prescription glasses, cruises, hotels, retail, dining, financial services, car insurance, gas and the plethora of free resources they provide on their site through their blog and newsletter.
AARP’s target audience, those 50 and Over, can sign up for free but the rest of us have to pay to get in. Luckily, an annual membership is only $12. Yes, I did say that their annual membership, a full year, is only $12. You can also add a spouse or second person to your membership for free. Let me say it again. You can add a second person to your membership, for free.
Let me break down some of the things that a $12 AARP annual membership gets you.
Health and Wellness
As I mentioned, losing employer-provided healthcare coverage is a big deal especially on retirement. Because of this, AARP has a long list of offerings from discounted vision and dental coverage to prescription discounts and reduced fees for opening an HSA account if your current insurance doesn’t offer one. You can use these offers even if you aren’t retired. The main stipulation on the health care options I saw was not already having insurance or Medicare/Medicaid. Meaning you can’t use these for additional coverage. So if you’re someone that doesn’t have access to employer offered dental, vision or has crappy prescription coverage I would highly recommend these as alternatives. The 50% off at LensCrafters alone would cover the cost of your membership.
Oh lord. The travel discounts. I know a lot of you are itching to visit new places again. You should definitely get an AARP membership then. I found a discount of 30% off with Avis Car Rental that also includes free upgrades, 30% off Budget Rent a Car, and $300 off cruises through Expedia. The hotel discounts though. It’s just about every hotel chain and discounts range from 5% to 15% off with free add-ons too. Well worth a $12 annual membership.
AARP offers members access to HSAs, no-penalty CDs, credit cards and services from Marcus by Goldman Sachs. They also offer tax services, estate planning, long term care plans and life insurance. They even have discounts on fraud protection subscriptions which you can put on Nanna’s Ipad so she stops trying to send the Prince of Nigeria her bank account number.
There is so much in this category! Firstly, discounts on car insurance…and homeowners insurance, boat insurance and snowmobile insurance. In case you ever find yourself needing that. You can also find gas discounts for certain companies, Allstate Roadside Assistance (which is top notch) and car servicing. Vehicles are expensive! You’d spend more on one oil change than you would for an annual membership to AARP.
Do you like steak? You want a discount for Landry’s? AARP has it. They also have discounts with Bonefish Grill, Corner Bakery Cafe, Walgreens and Schwans. And also something called Silver Cuisine. It is AARP after all.
A Bunch of Other Services
While access to a Cheryl’s Cookies discount is a favorite, I also loved seeing that with this membership their discounts and services cover a very wide array of industries. I didn’t even get to the entertainment, real estate or technology parts. If I haven’t sold you on it already, you can check out all the offerings here.
How do you use your AARP benefits?
Once you sign up, AARP will mail you your card within 7-10 business days. You can also download the app for a digital version of your card. Sometimes you’ll need to show your membership card/digital card in person. Other times, you need to log into your account on AARP and then find the benefit you wanted to use. Then you use the AARP link to get said discount.
AARP isn’t just a discount card either. They have a full foundation to help seniors with housing, job placement, isolation and many other things that affect seniors as they age. They provide an obscene amount of free resources on their website about current events, public policy and have dedicated spaces for Black, LGBTQIA+, Hispanic, Asain and Native American communities. They even have links to local AARP chapters so you’re finding relevant information based on your states resources and policies.
Why AARP membership is different
I’m not one to buy memberships honestly. I find a lot of them are a huge sneaky way to get you to spend more money without you even realizing it. This one, however, could be beneficial for so many people.
It’s for those looking for a way to enjoy their weekly dinner out dates without going over budget. It’s for the single parent looking for affordable dental and vision coverage. It’s for the long distance truck driver who wants an air conditioned hotel room with a king sized bed and jacuzzi tub after weeks of living on the road. It’s for the couple that moved into their first apartment together and need affordable renters insurance.
There is a beautiful message here about social media connecting the young and old. Connecting both sides of the age spectrum with new information and helping each other benefit from things they wouldn’t have otherwise known. Even if you don’t agree, at the very least it provides us with discounts to Outback Steakhouse which is just as beautiful in my opinion.
Mackenzie Stewart launched her site Life at 23k to fill a void for the people who can’t afford to invest or start an emergency fund. She wants to find and give financial advice that the underemployed minimum wage worker can use – not just those making great salaries with marketable degrees already.