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Is joining AARP worth it? 5 reasons it may be

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Between the benefits, discounts and resources it offers, an AARP membership can make sense for seniors. Getty Images

As we age, our needs and priorities often shift dramatically. Financial considerations take on new dimensions as retirement looms, with concerns about savings, Social Security and healthcare costs moving to the forefront. Seniors' health needs also evolve to put a greater focus on preventive care, managing chronic conditions and maintaining independence.

These and other distinct senior needs have given rise to organizations focused on serving the senior population, like AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older. This organization is well-known for offering a wide range of services and benefits designed to address the unique concerns of seniors. 

But AARP is just one option out of many senior-focused organizations, and those who are considering membership may be wondering whether AARP is worth joining. If you're one of them, it helps to know why an AARP membership may be worth it for you.

Discover the many benefits an AARP membership can offer you.

Is joining AARP worth it? 5 reasons it may be

There are a few reasons why an AARP membership could be valuable in the current environment, including:

AARP offers big discounts tailored to its members

One of the main benefits AARP offers is a wide array of discounts tailored to seniors' unique needs and lifestyles. For example, AARP offers discounts on home office equipment and ergonomic furniture, which can be particularly beneficial for older workers who may be transitioning to home-based work or starting encore careers.

AARP offers many other types of discounts, too, including health and wellness discounts. Through AARP, members can access reduced rates on gym memberships, fitness trackers and even telemedicine services — all of which may be crucial for staying healthy during your senior years.

And, travel discounts have been, and remain, a cornerstone of AARP benefits. In addition to traditional hotel and car rental discounts, AARP members can take advantage of deals on vacation rentals, adventure travel packages or even RV rentals.

Explore how an AARP membership can help you better navigate your senior years.

Membership comes with access to financial services

AARP membership also offers access to a wide range of financial services, which include access to financial planning tools, investment guidance and educational resources that are tailored to the unique challenges faced by those in their 50s and beyond. These services can be particularly beneficial for seniors navigating the complexities of retirement planning, estate management and financial security in later life.

One key offering is AARP's partnership with financial institutions to provide members access to high-yield savings accounts and certificates of deposit (CDs) with competitive rates. For seniors living on fixed incomes or looking to maximize their savings, these options can help preserve and potentially grow their savings.

AARP also provides free access to retirement calculators and financial planning tools. These resources can help seniors assess their current financial situation, estimate future expenses and adjust their strategies accordingly. This is especially crucial for those approaching retirement or in the early stages of their post-work life.

The organization also provides educational resources on topics like Social Security optimization, Medicare planning and long-term care insurance. These subjects can be dauntingly complex and AARP's guidance can help seniors make informed decisions that significantly impact their financial well-being.

Seniors are offered career resources through AARP

Membership also comes with access to AARP's career services, which are designed to address the unique challenges and opportunities faced by older workers. These resources can be particularly valuable for seniors who want to continue working or re-enter the workforce after retirement — or for those who need to find ways to supplement their incomes.

One key offering is AARP's job board, which features listings from employers who have committed to age-diverse hiring practices. This can be crucial for older job seekers who may face age discrimination in their search. 

For those considering entrepreneurship, AARP offers resources on starting and running a small business. This includes guidance on writing business plans, securing funding and leveraging technology for business growth, all tailored to the unique perspectives and challenges of older entrepreneurs.

The organization also offers a range of other career-related resources, like virtual career fairs and webinars and articles on navigating the modern job search process. These resources can help seniors adapt to current job search practices that may have changed significantly since they last sought employment.

Members can access healthcare resources and guidance

Navigating the healthcare system can be daunting, especially as one approaches Medicare eligibility. And, AARP has positioned itself as a valuable resource in this area, offering members comprehensive information and guidance on Medicare, supplemental insurance and long-term care options.

But guidance isn't the only healthcare-related benefit that comes with membership. AARP's Medicare Supplement insurance plans can also provide additional coverage to help seniors manage out-of-pocket expenses. While these plans are available to non-members as well, AARP members often receive preferred rates.

Members can also access tools to help estimate healthcare costs in retirement, understand their options for long-term care and make informed decisions about their health coverage. In an era where healthcare expenses can quickly derail retirement plans, this guidance can be invaluable.

The organization advocates for issues affecting older Americans

While not a tangible benefit like discounts or services, AARP's advocacy efforts represent a significant reason to consider membership. After all, AARP lobbies for policies that benefit older Americans across a wide range of issues, including healthcare reform, retirement security and protection against fraud and financial abuse. 

The organization also advocates for issues like support for family caregivers, expansion of high-speed internet access in rural areas and policies to make communities more livable for people of all ages. So by joining AARP, seniors lend their support to these advocacy efforts, potentially influencing policies that could have a direct impact on their lives and the lives of future generations.

The bottom line

From modernized discounts and career resources to financial guidance and healthcare support, AARP provides a range of benefits that can be particularly valuable for adults navigating the complexities of life after 50. But when it comes to determining whether an AARP membership makes sense for you, it could help to consider your needs and how AARP's benefits align with your personal and financial goals. What you may find is that the combination of practical benefits and broader advocacy efforts by AARP make the cost of membership a worthwhile investment.

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