Is AARP worth joining?

1 min read by Unbiased team Last updated June 28, 2024

Discover whether the AARP is worth the investment by considering its costs and benefits and comparing it to other organizations designed to support seniors.


  • The AARP is a non-profit organization offering many benefits to help Americans over the age of 50 cope with life’s expenses. 

  • For a maximum fee of $16 per year, members can access discounts and deals on travel, medical benefits, insurance, shopping, entertainment, and more. 

  • A financial advisor can help you plan for your future and give guidance on retirement associations. 

What is AARP? 

So, what does AARP stand for?  

Originally called the American Association of Retired Persons, AARP is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing benefits and programs to empower American seniors.  

With 38 million members, it is the largest senior association in the USA. 

AARP’s primary mission is to improve the quality of life for all as they age. It focuses on health security, financial resilience, and personal fulfillment, offering a range of services, benefits, and advocacy efforts to support these goals. 

Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus, a retired high school headmistress, founded the organization in 1958 after she discovered that another retired teacher was living in a chicken coop because she could not afford proper housing. This incident spurred Andrus to create an organization that could provide older Americans with the resources and support they need.  

Since its inception, its advocacy efforts have led to significant legislative changes benefitting older adults, including the establishment of Medicare. 

What are the benefits of an AARP membership? 

The whole purpose of the organization is to enhance the quality of life of older American adults aged 50+.  

To this end, the benefits of AARP include the following discounts and savings: 

  • Travel including car rentals, cruises, flights and vacation packages, hotels, resorts, and more. 

  • Entertainment, from museums and aquariums to escape rooms and Disneyland, and everything in between 

  • Restaurants 

  • Groceries and shopping 

  • Technology and Wireless 

  • Home and real estate purchases 

In addition to these discounts and savings, other benefits and services are available that are tailored specifically to seniors' needs.  

  • Insurance products: AARP partners with insurance companies to offer members health, auto, home, and life insurance products specifically designed for older adults. 

  • Financial services: AARP provides access to financial planning tools, investment advice, fraud prevention guidance, tax assistance, and retirement planning. 

  • Health and wellness resources: Members have access to fitness programs, health screenings, eye health benefits, and medication discounts. 

  • Advocacy: AARP is a powerful advocate for the rights and well-being of older Americans.  

  • Publications and information: Members receive AARP The Magazine and the AARP Bulletin.  

What age do you have to be to join AARP? 

To join AARP as a full member, you must be at least 50 years old.  

However, they also offer associate memberships for individuals under 50, allowing them to enjoy many of the same benefits of AARP as full members, except for some age-specific services.  

The sooner you join, the longer you can enjoy the benefits. 

What is the cost of an AARP membership? 

AARP offers affordable membership in relation to the myriad benefits a member receives.  

As of 2024, the membership fees are: 

  • 1-year membership: $16 

  • 3-year membership: $43 

  • 5-year membership: $63 

If you sign up with an automatic renewal, your first year of membership will only cost $12.  

How does AARP compare to other senior discounts? 

AARP is not the only senior association available to older adult Americans.  

Others offering similar benefits may include the following: 

  • Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC) 

  • 60 Plus: American Association of Senior Citizens 

  • American Seniors Association 

  • The Seniors Coalition 

  • AAA 

  • American Senior Benefits Association 

  • National Association of Conservative Seniors 

  • Christian Seniors Association 

  • Aging 2.0 

  • Alliance for Retired Americans 

  • USA Next 

  • Generation America 

  • Senior Citizens of America 

AMAC offers benefits similar to those of AARP, but its range is less vast than that of AARP. In addition, AMAC’s Medicare options are limited. 

AAA also offers many senior benefits, including extensive travel discounts, including hotels, car rentals, and vacation deals. According to Quadrant Information Services, AARP’s average rates are cheaper than those of AAA. 

How do you maximize the value of an AARP membership? 

To get the most out of a membership, make sure to stay informed of all the latest benefits of AARP by subscribing to AARP: The Magazine, The Bulletin, and any newsletters available.  

Members can also get a free second membership for another household member and earn 50% more points with the Loyalty Program. 

The website ( also gives an extensive breakdown of benefits. Members can get all the relevant information on accessing health resources, lifestyle benefits, and retirement planning here too. 

What things should I consider before joining AARP? 

Always consider whether you will use the benefits to determine if AARP is worth joining.  

AARP also has some potential drawbacks

  • It professes to be non-partisan, but much of its advocacy leans toward the liberal side, which may go against conservative adults’ philosophies. 

  • Joining may result in receiving unwanted marketing materials and offers. 

Get expert financial advice  

AARP is the largest organization dedicated to improving the lives of older adults; however, anyone over 18 can join. The AARP offers a wide range of discounts, from travel to financial planning and everything in between. It is worth joining AARP if you will use the benefits.  

Always seek expert financial advice when planning your future. Let Unbiased match you with the right professional to meet your needs. 


Unbiased team

Our team of writers, who have decades of experience writing about personal finance, including investing and retirement, are here to help you find out what you must know about life’s biggest financial decisions.