The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) is the biggest senior advocacy organization in the United States – by far. However, there are political reasons that many people have decided to drop their AARP memberships. What are their reasons not to join AARP?
This article is not too unlike our article covering whether you should join AARP or not, but here we are focusing exclusively on the reasons why not to join.
In many cases, it’s the politics of the organization. Though AARP is a non-profit organization which publicly states they are non-partisan, they do lobby extensively for particular bills/programs. And if one takes a close look at what some of these programs are, it’s undeniable to see in which way they tilt.
But to make a more informed decision as to whether or not one should join AARP, one should first look at the way the AARP is structured…
What are the Main Branches of AARP?
There are two main branches of AARP: Services and Foundation.
Services is the branch of AARP that ensures the products AARP endorses are high-quality. If there’s any question about the safety, cost, or usefulness of a product, this is the branch that comes to bat.
These aren’t just physical goods, such as exercise equipment that are monitored via Services either. Whether it’s an insurance plan, a vacation discount package, or any other form of benefit which one can receive via an AARP membership (and the list truly is extensive), Services personnel are the people who monitor quality.
The Foundation is more involved with people than it is products. This branch works “for low income and disadvantaged seniors to help them meet their daily needs.” The slogan of the Foundation is actually “For a future without senior poverty.”
At least within the year 2020, some of the projects that the Foundation undertook were: the delivery of emergency food boxes for seniors who were stuck at home, by assisting seniors with their taxes, helping those who were 50+ years old find employment, using seniors to teach children how to read, provided food to local food banks, provided job training to those over 55 years old, grantmaking for food support and disaster relief, and more.
Are There Reasons to Join AARP?
Undoubtedly, AARP offers some fantastic benefits. Members receive options for fantastic insurance, travel and hotel discounts, wine and grocery discounts, retirement plans and financial planning help, phone and gas discounts, job training, movie ticket discounts, and some interesting magazines as well.
While there are other senior organizations within America which offer some of these benefits as well, the reader will be hard pressed to find any other organization out there which offers the sheer number of benefits that AARP does.
If one is not concerned with politics whatsoever and is truly simply looking for the most bang for their buck in the immediate timeframe, then the American Association of Retired Persons does the job better than anybody else out there.
They are the most well-known organization out there dealing with senior people, everybody knows who they are, and as a result they are constantly expanding their offerings as well. For a private business to get into the spotlight via AARP (in a positive manner) can completely revolutionize their business.
Because everybody knows AARP.
9 Reasons Not to Join
There’s no denying that giving food to the hungry, helping people find jobs/job training, and the like are all good things. However, there are a lot of organizations out there which accomplish similar goals without the lobbying for policies you may disagree with.
For those who have seen the good that AARP does but are wanting to also see the negatives, here are nine reasons not to join AARP many have used…
1. You Oppose Socialized Medicine
If you are a fan of the free market, you will be diametrically opposed to AARP’s stances on several healthcare issues. For starters, AARP not only supports but seeks to “strengthen” both Medicare and Medicaid.
In addition, they are large proponents of the Affordable Care Act – President Obama’s initiative which had significant impact on the American healthcare system.
2. You Oppose Regionalism
Regionalism is the concept that government should eliminate “disparity” by forcibly building low-income housing in the midst of “wealthy” communities. This is opposed by many people who pour their savings into a home, only to have the resale value impacted by the building of government housing across the street.
Coincidentally, this is also a tenet of the United Nations’ Agenda 21.
Read for yourself. Here is what the AARP has to say on the matter:
“Policymakers should create communities that allow people of varying income levels to live there. – Wealthier communities in particular should build more subsidized housing for people with low and moderate incomes. They should also work to increase the availability of affordable market-rate housing.”
Are they advocating for wealthier neighborhoods to be forced to pay a “subsidized housing tax” to both create and maintain projects within their own neighborhood?
It’s unclear from this statement.
3. You Oppose Government “Safety Nets”
AARP states on their website that “freedom from discrimination and a strong social safety net are essential.” For those who are fans of Milton Friedman, Ayn Rand, F.A. Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, Glenn Beck, or any other libertarian philosopher/economist, the idea of a safety net created at the expense of others is difficult to digest.
A government-operated safety net of any form is nothing other than a form of collectivism, and as Ayn Rand says, “forced altruism is theft.”
4. You Don’t Believe in Climate Change
According to the AARP, it is climate change that is largely responsible for what they claim is a rise in infectious diseases throughout the world. This is allegedly is because an alleged increase in global temperatures leads to more environments on the planet that can support large mosquito populations for long periods of time.
Mosquitoes are known vectors of malaria, West Nile virus, dengue fever, Zika, and chikungunya, and thus, it is claimed that global warming will lead to an increased incidence of all these diseases. If you don’t buy that, and you are nervous about what such a belief may lead one to lobby for, you may want to seek for some other organization to join.
5. You Oppose Mail-in Voting
Understandably, most Americans are very frustrated with the voting system – in particular, with mail-in voting. The AARP champions this form of “voting;” however, arguing that it is a means by which we can keep people safe should they be afraid to leave their own homes.
If you prefer the idea of in-person voting, where one must present some form of ID to prove that they are who they say they are, you may want to look for an organization which does not support mail-in voting.
6. You Oppose Forced Viral Testing, Masking, or Social Distancing
AARP believes that forced testing (and it appears forced masking and social distancing) are good policies to have within long-term care facilities. However, it is these very policies that have caused long-term care workers to leave the field in droves, leaving these facilities – and all other healthcare offices – woefully understaffed.
7. You Do Not Like Contact Tracing
According to AARP, “Contact tracing protocols, including those assisted by technology, should be developed, vetted and ready to deploy, with standards in place to protect the privacy of individuals.”
For many, what they are seeing within the modern world with contact tracing and the like is concerning. It doesn’t matter if these techniques are touting they are “private,” the reality tends to be anything but, and the consequences can be severe.
8. You Do Not Like AARP’s Barrage of Political Emails
If you like to keep your email inbox as clean as possible, an AARP membership may not help your cause. Of course, email lists can always be unsubscribed from, blocked, or automatically sent to the spam folder, but for many, this is still a minor annoyance that gives them yet another reason to consider canceling their AARP membership.
9. You Oppose Gay Marriage
AARP supports gay marriage and relationships. Should that be an issue you are opposed to, you may want to remember that your membership fees are going to support an organization which is using its voice to support the issue.
The Christian Post has issued statements advocating for Christians to avoid paying for an AARP membership. This may be something to consider if you are a Christian as well.
What About the Cost?
Unless one is on a very severe monthly budget, the cost of an AARP membership is not liable to be a valid reason to not join. It only costs $16 for the first year to join, and then after that, membership renews at $12/year. For the amount of benefits, discounts, and perks one receives, that’s simply impossible to beat.
This is an incredibly affordable membership that most Americans can easily afford, so cost is not going to be a reason for most people to not join AARP.
Do the Benefits Outweigh the Negatives?
This depends solely on what your personal beliefs. If are looking solely at the immediate benefits you would receive for a few bucks a month, then yes, AARP is well worth the cost. However, if you hold political, philosophical, or religious views that conflict with the AARP mission, you may need to skip your AARP membership in good conscience.
Should one decide that AARP is not a good fit for them, there are conservative alternatives which may very well prove to be more in line with your personal beliefs.
To briefly cover some of these alternatives however, the reader may wish to check out the American Seniors Association, Christ Above Politics, The Association of Mature American Citizens, The Seniors Coalition, The 60 Plus Association, The Alliance for Retired Americans, and the Alternative Association for Retired People.
We have one dedicated post that compares AARP and AMAC specifically.
To be completely frank, there is no other senior organization that offers the berth or depth of benefits that AARP does. Nobody else even comes close. AARP has the most benefits, the best benefits, and for the lowest cost compared to any other senior organization within America.
However, there are other reasons to potentially consider for not choosing to join AARP. For many, AARP’s lobbying positions are simply too much to stomach, regardless of what the potential benefits of membership are.
If you are one of those people who is on the fence as to whether or not you should join AARP, hopefully this article has proved to be of benefit to you.
But what are your thoughts? Are there other aspects of AARP we did not cover which you believe could be a discouragement to others for joining? Let us know in the comments below!
And please, be kind to one another in the comments. We had to close comments on the AARP vs AMAC article because commenters were attacking one another.