Originally known as American Association of Retired Persons, AARP is a non-profit organization that first began in 1958 for Americans 50 years of age and older. Today, it has been ranked as the second-biggest non-governmental agency in the US, as reported by “The New York Times”. With more than 40 million members, this organization has built an unmatched power base as the voice of older people in the country. Since it changed its name to AARP in 1984, it lowered its age requirement for its members from 55 to 50, with the mission to enhance the quality of life for all people as they age. Basically, its program’s goal is to talk about the rights of its members and the various issues that are related to their health and end of life, which they would start to think about when they are qualified to join. Currently, it runs offices in 50 states of the country.
While the AARP provides some great promises, it also has its own set of drawbacks. Before you decide to join it, it is best to assess first its pros and cons.
List of Pros of AARP
1. Its membership is just cheap.
Joining the organization is not expensive, given that you are going to enjoy a wide array of services from being a member. Generally, you will be able to receive useful deals on certain things, such as hotels, flights, vehicle rentals, insurance, restaurants and many more. This entails that your expenses for accommodation for your holidays will definitely pay for your membership.
2. It offers important financial information.
As Americans are now living later and later, the organization think that it will be helpful to guide its members through the financial ins and outs of retirement. Using entrepreneurship and work resources, investment protection solutions, online money tools and other resources, members are sure to find answers to their questions regarding finance with AARP.
3. It provides insurance that is helpful in life.
With AARP’s Auto Insurance Program from the Hartford, you will be able to sign up for vehicle insurance. As stated in the plan, you are promised to save hundreds of dollars when you decide to switch your existing auto insurance by the time you are over 50. However, it is still best to compare the prices offered by AARP with those of other insurance providers, as rates naturally vary by age, location, driving records and other factors. This means that you will still be able to find good or even better deals apart from those offered by the organization.
4. It offers discounts for certain products and services.
One thing that would draw you to joining AARP is the chance to get discounts on certain goods and services, that would otherwise add up to a substantial amount of expenses considering you are using them a lot in a year. These can be used for many providers, including but not limited to Angie’s List, Amazon Kindle, Dunkin Donuts, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Michael’s, Hewlett Packard, Outback Steakhouse, Movies Unlimited, Reebok, Papa John’s, The UPS Store and Rockport.
5. It offers great travel deals.
Getting hotel discounts is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the travel perks offered by AARP. As you can see, a member will also receive discounts on select railways, airlines, tours, cruises and automobile rentals. All the travel benefits that you can enjoy are found at the organization’s official website.
6. It regularly publishes valuable information about adult life.
AARP members will receive magazines on a monthly basis, telling them what is currently happening in older adult life. Topics can cover important information, such as end-of-life investment, new medical services and motivational stories.
List of Cons of AARP
1. It is influenced by lobbyists.
A lot of Americans do not feel comfortable with the influence of lobbyists on AARP, especially on the political aspect, where the organization talks to legislative representatives to try and sway them into voting in a certain way. It is said that the organization also extensively lobbies the Congress, even investing millions in persuading legislators to reject or adopt legislative items. This is the reason why AARP is being negatively viewed by many people in the US.
2. It lacks accountability.
It is observed that the organization is too cautious in applying a standard operation policy to achieve a better business model, where such policy tends to be violated based upon personal convenient, rather than revenue drivers. It also gives too many exceptions to the management because of broken business processes. Moreover, re-organization takes place across departments every year, with too many competing agenda existing between departments.
3. It keeps on sending a lot of junk mails.
As members, people will get quite a lot of junk mail, as they are required to share their email address with other people. Members are even reporting to receive ads related to investment, diet and supplements every day in their email boxes. These junk mails are even still received by those who have already quit the organization.
4. It uses deceptive marketing tactics for insurance.
Though it is a pro that the organization offers many insurance products, it is marketing these products as being the cheapest, where in fact, you can find similar products that are actually cheaper from other sources. For example, one particular member revealed that a certain auto insurer endorsed by the organization has charged him nearly double his current coverage, instead of providing him some significant savings.
5. It offers discounts that are available elsewhere.
It is believed that similar senior discounts can also be received from other sources, which means that it is not necessary for you to become a member of the organization to enjoy such deals. Moreover, other people even say that AARP discounts are not always the best out there.
6. It has been causing conflicts of interest.
While AARP makes millions from selling third-party products and services, critics argue that their offers provide no special benefits to the members. Also, the organization’s relationship with providers can compromise its mission to represent seniors.
To decide whether to join AARP or not, it is wise to first evaluate the pros and cons that come with such a move. Based on those listed above, do you think that it will be helpful for you?
Crystal Ayres is a proud veteran, wife and mother. Our goal at Green Garage is to publish the most in depth content on the internet for every topic we write about. If you would like to reach out to contact Crystal, then go here to send her a message.