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Is AARP still worth it for seniors? Here's what experts think

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An AARP membership can offer a lot of value, but is it worth the extra cost? Getty Images

Inflation can weigh particularly hard on seniors, considering how retirees might not benefit from the wage growth that can accompany inflation, and rising costs can complicate living on a fixed income. As such, many seniors are taking a closer look at their expenses, and a common area to cut is subscriptions.

One area that could come under scrutiny is an AARP membership. AARP is a nonprofit that's existed since 1958, with the mission of helping Americans ages 50+ when it comes to issues like navigating retirement, healthcare, and overall advancing the lives of older Americans.

An AARP membership provides a wide range of benefits, including discounts in areas such as restaurants, travel and health, as well as vast resources such as content about retirement. But does the AARP value justify the cost? 

Learn more about the many benefits an AARP membership can offer you.

Is AARP still worth it for seniors? Here's what experts think

Starting at $16 for a standard membership, with AARP discounts available such as by choosing automatic renewal to unlock a $12 rate for your first year, many experts say that an AARP membership is worth it for seniors. However, you may need to do a little digging to see how you can get more out of it.

Why an AARP membership is still worth it for seniors

According to several experts, the relatively low cost of an AARP membership is well worth it and can even pay for itself over time.

"AARP is certainly worth it if you are even occasionally spending money at businesses that are part of their network. Given the low membership fee, the savings through discounts can easily outweigh the costs if you take advantage of the benefits they offer," says Jason Dall'Acqua, founder and financial advisor at Crest Wealth Advisors.

Not only can you save money on discretionary expenses like hotels, but you can also save money on essentials too.

"In my view, the AARP membership is so affordable that it is well worth it for the variety of discounts and benefits that come with membership. The most important benefit is access to the United Healthcare Medicare supplement plans. My wife and I both use our AARP membership to join," says Irving P. Seldin,  owner and CEO of Visiting Angels of the Palm Beaches.

But it's not just about saving money directly.

"I believe that it is worth it just for the magazine — AARP The Magazine — published every two months, and the AARP Bulletin which is published 10 times a year. The content in each of those publications makes the membership worth it for me," says Urban Adams, wealth manager at Dynamic Wealth Advisors.

AARP also advocates for seniors, and being a member could be a way to support an organization that potentially helps your future as well as the future of others. 

"One unique way to assess the value of an AARP membership is to consider it as an investment in your future aging experience. Look beyond immediate discounts and benefits, and evaluate how AARP's initiatives and partnerships might shape the landscape of aging services in the coming years," says Neal Shah, CEO and founder at CareYaya.

For example, Shah's company is part of AARP's AgeTech Collaborative. 

"Their support of innovative startups through the AgeTech Collaborative could lead to transformative care solutions that you might benefit from in the future," notes Shah.

Find out why an AARP membership may be worth it for you here.

Getting the most out of an AARP membership

While many experts say an AARP subscription is worth the relatively low cost, much depends on how you use the membership.

"It is on you to maximize your benefits, but if you do, you can save multiples of what a membership costs. Make sure to periodically review the 'What's New' page on their site to learn about new discounts being offered to ensure you are maximizing your membership," says Dall'Acqua.

One caveat though is that you might get similar benefits from other organizations besides AARP, so that might reduce your membership usage or possibly even deter you from joining altogether.

"You should compare AARP's benefits to benefits you may receive elsewhere, such as through your credit card or other organizations you are already part of," says Dall'Acqua.

Still, it's often easy to justify the AARP costs, given the variety of benefits.

"While it would be very difficult to take advantage of all of the benefits, using just the benefits that match what I need makes it worth it. I can also see myself using more benefits as time goes by," says Adams.

The bottom line

Given that an AARP membership has a low annual cost and provides a wide range of benefits — some of which can directly save you money — becoming a member is often still worth it for seniors. That said, you should review the benefits and see how it aligns with your situation.

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