Over 50 and you’re wondering if you should join AMAC? If you’ve been lucky and smart, you’ve been preparing for your retirement for some years now, and it’s time to think about what exactly you’re going to do after leaving the work world, and how and when you’re going to allocate your resources. That means you’ll probably end up joining a retirement organization.
There’s the 60-Plus Association, American Seniors Association, and of course, the AARP (see our article on whether you should join AARP). Among all these, the Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC) is perhaps the most politically conservative of the bunch. They actually bill themselves as “the conservative alternative to the AARP.” So, just as one example, if you opposed the Affordable Care Act, you’d probably be comfortable with the leanings of AMAC.
This article covers six questions about AMAC to help you decide what senior organization is right for you:
- Who are the founders of the organization?
- What specific type of org is it?
- What are the org’s politics?
- Who are the underwriters of the organization’s insurance policies, if any?
- How transparent are the financial activities of the organization?
- Finally, what are the true member benefits?
Who Founded AMAC?
AMAC was founded by Brooklyn native and Air Force veteran, the late Daniel C. Weber, in 2007. According to Weber’s obituary, his efforts were directly or indirectly responsible for the creation of the Social Security guarantee — solidifying benefits for all Americans, “AMAC Action” to preserve civil liberties — notably, the Second Amendment, the Physician Pro Bono Care Act (HR 856) — easing the pain of medical bills for Medicaid recipients, and the “AMAC Foundation,” which purports “to educate and enrich the lives of America’s seniors.” Before founding AMAC, Weber had a career as an insurance agency owner.
What Type of Organization Is AMAC?
On the surface, AMAC is similar to the AARP in that it grants several kinds of benefits and advocacy for senior Americans, including a proprietary podcast, Medicare Part D plans, real estate opportunities, and of course life insurance. But at its heart, AMAC is also a lobbying group that takes action to change the American political landscape, fighting on the side of conservatism. AMAC’s core values are to lower taxes, reduce the size of government, and “preserve American values” like free enterprise.
It’s up for debate which one AMAC predominantly is — an over-50 membership organization, or a conservative advocacy organization and interest group. But one thing seems certain: if you lean conservative, you’ll probably prefer AMAC over the AARP (read our comparison of the two).
What Are AMAC’s Politics In Particular?
To go a little deeper into AMAC’s political leanings, let’s take a look at some of their previous lobbying and other actions. Reportedly, AMAC gained a boost in membership when many of the “nonpartisan” AARP’s subscribers lashed back against their organization’s support of the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), one of AMAC’s rallying causes — on the opposing side, of course.
In 2014, the Wall Street Journal published an article that quoted a Las Vegas retiree and AMAC member as saying, “This isn’t going to protect seniors; this is going to push us by the wayside.” She had quit the AARP in part because of that org’s support of the act. And she wasn’t alone; AMAC attributed its membership jump from 40,000 members in 2008 to 1.1 million in 2014 largely to anti-ACA sentiment among American seniors.
The same WSJ article describes the Social Security plan sponsored by AMAC, with a proposed retirement-age increase from 62 to 64 years, and “guarantee[d] cost-of-living increases in a tiered structure.” Ostensibly, those retirees who had made more money during their previous careers would enjoy the benefit most.
Of course, at the time of this writing, a senior’s “full retirement age” is 67 if they were born after 1960, with the option of beginning to collect Social Security benefits as early as 62, albeit with a reduction in benefit amount due to the “early retirement.” What this all means, especially with the proposed income-based tier structure, is that the wealthy get the biggest payments. No surprise, granted that they pay more into the system, but some see the disparity as inordinately large.
Who Underwrites AMAC’s Sponsored Insurance Policies?
With some exceptions in certain states, it is the Travelers Insurance group that underwrites AMAC-sponsored property and casualty policies. Travelers is a behemoth, reporting a core income of 1.26 billion dollars at the end of the fourth quarter of 2020.
This is important information, because when a membership organization is affiliated with an insurance company, the organization stands to gain monetarily from any insurance policies that are bought by members. This may or may not be a problem. After all, organizations need revenue to function, but it is something to stay mindful of in your decision on whether you should join or not.
How Transparent Are AMAC’s Financial Dealings?
PDF’s of AMAC’s annual reports are available for free online, though they don’t go into much dollars-and-cents detail. Some information on their ESG’s (Environmental, Social, and Governance), private funds, diversity, and inclusion is available at this IAA Today page, including a description of the effects the Covid pandemic has had and continues to have on the organization and how they’ve responded.
Since AMAC is not a nonprofit business — except for the “AMAC Foundation” elder-charity subsidiary — they’re not required by law to show every penny’s worth of transactions for investors and members, but with a little digging, you can get a good idea how their money is spent. Knowing that, and either agreeing or disagreeing with their bottom-line policies is a good start toward deciding whether to join AMAC.
What Are AMAC’s True Membership Benefits?
Any organization that competes with the AARP for senior members the way AMAC does, needs to offer a pretty beefy package of benefits. As highlighted on this page, the org boasts sixteen categories of benefits, each with anywhere from a few to a few dozen specific perks. Everything is covered from dining, to flowers and gifts, to pets, and that’s all in addition to the usual insurance offerings.
Before you decide to join AMAC — or any others seniors group — do some investigation into which benefits actually require a separate registration (often for a fee) or time commitment. The reasoning here is that smaller senior-advocacy groups are not above artificially bolstering the sheer number of “benefits” they offer, in order to compete with the big guys. Keep your eyes open, and you should do fine.
So, Should You Join AMAC?
I’m here to help you make informed decisions, but not so much to make them for you. We give you the grist for the mill; you still have to bake the bread. In other words, Americans have differing views on all topics, and that should be respected. If your politics are in keeping with AMAC’s and you’ve done your homework, it might be the right thing for you and your family.
If you have experience with AMAC membership, positive or negative, please write us about it in the comment section below.