AARP Really Really Needs Members

Adam’s mom recently received an AARP invitation, which is not surprising since she’s nearing fifty. But we think AARP may want to pass a better filter over the address lists they’re buying, because a few days later Adam received the same invitation. Maybe AARP is trying to expand to seniors and their admirers—sort of like a backwards NAMBLA.

Adam writes:

I’m beginning to think that AARP is getting desperate for members. Roughly a month ago, my mom who is only 47 received a letter from AARP offering her a membership already. I looked at their website the night that we got that letter and from what I can tell, you have to be 50 or older to join.

Now let’s fast forward to today. I just brought in the mail and the attached letter was sent to me. It is IDENTICAL to the one that my mom received but this time it is addressed to me. There was even a “membership” card included with my name printed on it. Now you are probably wondering how old I am. As of today (August 26) I am 20. I’m not even old enough to purchase alcohol but yet AARP wants to sell me a membership.

(Photo: Getty)

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  1. mwwilk says:

    Indeed, AARP does need members. They keep sending notices, including a renewal notice, to my address for my mother, who passed away over a year ago. They were repeatedly notified of her passing and asked to remove her name from their rosters.

    They did send me a nice pamphlet on the grieving process, but that was followed by aforementioned renewal notice a couple months later.

  2. magic8ball says:

    I got one of those letters with a card included as well, right around the time I turned 35. The AARP has periodically sent me letters ever since then, noting that I have not applied for membership even though their records show that I am “eligible,” i.e., 50 years old. I assume their confusion stems from the fact that some service somewhere has my correct name listed, with a previous address that I really did live at, but with an incorrect DOB that would make me about 15 years older than I really am. (I found the erroneous listing by searching for myself online.)

  3. tahamaki says:

    Heh. I got the same offer, although I’m slightly older (30 as of Saturday). I thought about joining and then claiming age discrimination when and if they rejected my application.

    Of course, sharing the same name as my father who’s over 50(I’m a Jr.), I assumed they got their info mixed up.

  4. CAK says:

    Yeah, I recently got an application for membership as well. I’m only 24 (though everyone thinks I act old for my age…maybe AARP knew that).

  5. Etoiles says:

    I received my very first personalized AARP invitation on my 25th birthday. Maybe they have a magic x2 multiplier just for them.

  6. 3drage says:

    I get AARP mailings all the time. I probably said I was 200 in some survey at some point in time.

  7. rpm773 says:

    Adam needs to jump on that. The AARP has [political] powers far beyond imagination.

    Just look at the picture above. Those oldsters are drunk with power.

  8. mcrbpc says:

    I started getting them at 16. Haven’t had one in quite awhile though (I’m 25 now).

  9. Comments are not enabled says:

    the reason for these mailings is so AARP can continue to have a large membership and ensure they keep their lobbying power.

  10. LoganAdams says:

    That’s sort of like what happened to me yesterday. I was walking past a both for the American Association of University Women and the lady there kept trying to wave me over.

    I’m a guy. I don’t give a damn about the AAUW.

  11. tom2133 says:

    I love the “backwards NAMBLA” comment. Of the funny things I’ve seen on this site, that has to be tops. Props to Chris!

  12. IssaGoodDay says:

    I too have been receiving AARP offers. I’m 21. Go figure :P

  13. Brine says:

    About 2 years ago I received a membership offer (I was 24). I figured it was worth the $12.50 to find out what would happen.

    As it turns out, until you turn 50, you are a Junior member, which means you receive their monthly magazine, but that’s it. You can’t claim any membership benefits until you are 50.

    Oh yeah, you also get the constant pestering letters asking you to rejoin.

  14. Adam W says:

    I sent in the tip on this letter and what I have thought about doing was sending back their little form and telling them to screw off that I am not even 21 yet and that I better not see another one until I turn 50. :)

  15. ThickSkinned says:

    With all the baby boomers retiring, shouldn’t the member lists of the AARP be overflowing?

  16. lucidpsyche says:

    I got one when I was 19. :P I was so unhappy that I called them and demanded they take me off the list. I haven’t received anything since.

  17. toastydoc says:

    My wife and I get one every now and then. We are both 28

  18. MyPetFly says:

    Well crap, I haven’t received one and I’m 48.

    Bastards… ; )

  19. MyPetFly says:

    By the way, that picture… is that father/son, or May/December?

  20. Caveat says:

    My membership is up in October and they started sending me renewal notices in May, including about 6 membership cards.

  21. DantePD says:

    I’m 26 and I’ve been receiving them about once a month since I was 16. They even sent ‘em to my mailing addresses while I was in the military.
    Considering that my hair is mostly grey at 26 and I don’t get along with people my own age, I wonder if they’d consider some kind of Junior+ membership, y’know half benefits or something.

  22. Zulujines says:

    @mwwilk: I’ve had the same experience with my father-in-law, who passed away several years ago. We contacted AARP via e-mail to cancel his membership, and they sent a notice saying they would just transfer the membership to his wife. I sent a message back saying they were divorced and to just cancel the account. They said they would, but continued to send letters and offers in his name. I began calling them to please request they stop sending us things, as it was upsetting to my husband and myself (especially the offers for life insurance), and each time they said they would cancel the account but never did. I have since come to realize that AARP is like the Hotel California: you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.

  23. MercuryPDX says:

    I’ve been getting them since I turned 30, they just go right into recycling. I assumed a friend of mine was being a wise-ass and signed me up.

  24. Parapraxis says:

    I really don’t like the AARP’s lobbying…

    its like a bunch of old fogeys desperately trying to cling to power.

  25. Ihaveasmartpuppy says:

    It’s kinda funny when I’m still being carded for buying wine and receiving solicitation from AARP at the same time.

    Just for reference (since I never really read the stuff), do people pay money to belong? Are there worthwhile benefits?

  26. K-Bo says:

    My 21 year old brother has been getting AARP membership cards since he was 6. He has a pretty common name though.

  27. TPK says:

    Quite simple, they can’t find enough seniors to help support their socialist agenda, so they have to get help wherever they can find it!

  28. LauraDandoo says:

    I started getting notices that I should join when I turned 25. No matter how
    many calls I made or notices I sent back, they would not take me off of
    their list. One nice letter on some Hello Kitty stationary with stickers all
    over the envelope and I have not heard from them since.

    • HogwartsAlum says:

      @LauraDandoo:

      Hilarious!!!

      My sister got an email from them. She is only 42 and was really upset. If she gets another one or any letters, I’m going to suggest this to her!

      I guess SpongeBob would work also!

  29. ARP says:

    @Ihaveasmartpuppy: See @Comments are not enabled: comments on why they need members.

    As far as benefits, its similar to any other professional organization: discounted life insurance, discount cards for stores, restaurants, etc.

  30. TexasBelle says:

    This is nothing new. I’m 41, and AARP invited me to join about 10 years ago.

  31. likefunbutnot says:

    I am 32 and I got an AARP card at age 29. It’s taped over the nameplate of my door at work.

  32. MercuryPDX says:

    @ARP: Yes, but I wonder what happens when an obvious non-senior citizen tries to collect on the benefits (eg. 10% off your purchases at Borders Books).

  33. Quilt says:

    It’s not like those old farts running the AARP know anything about using any of those fancy computers. I’m shocked they were able to get as far as sending any sort of letter.

  34. synergy says:

    My older brother started getting stuff from AARP, medical insurances, and even funeral homes around the age of 30. We figured that because he’d paid off his car, had no credit card debt, and had just finished paying off the mortgage he took over from my mother, he was believed to be a senior citizen by these companies’ robots.

  35. clairedeloony says:

    My fiance (age 33) has gotten at least two AARP invites. We figured this was because he has the same name as his dad… now I’m not so sure.

    They haven’t gotten to me yet, but reading this, I’ll feel better if I receive one of their pointed reminders of mortality.

  36. dangermike says:

    I got an honorary membership card when I was 17. Now I kind of wish I kept it. As it turns out, there was a man in the same state (albeit about 700 miles north) with the same first and last name as me. I didn’t put it all together until I saw an obituary with my name on it 3-4 years later. (and FWIW, I do have a pretty rare last name. My family is one of 7 to carry it in the US)

  37. cwlodarczyk says:

    @TPK: Socialist? If anything, AARP is a front/lobbying organization for the insurance industry. They’ve torpedoed several ideas for universal health care.

    Just so you know, they ratified the current prescription drug plan will all of its flaws. Drug companies get a lot more money than they would if the plan had been written better.

  38. B says:

    AARP needs members? Aren’t there like a billion boomers who either turned 50 or are about to?

  39. TPK says:

    @cwlodarczyk: I don’t just make this stuff up, there’s plenty of evidence for the Socialist agenda of the AARP.

  40. seamer says:

    Comparing Marlon Brando to the AARP for the win.

  41. bria says:

    @Parapraxis:
    It’s better than being a petty young asshole like you!

  42. dafountain says:

    Well, I got the invite at 48. It’s one thing to get it at 24 when you can laugh it off. Getting it at 48 is depressing. They even had my name printed on the card. I refuse to be a card carrying old guy.

  43. Aresef says:

    Unfortunately the mortality rate among AARP members is pretty high.

  44. physics2010 says:

    I’ve been getting them for quite some time. I broke down last month and paid $12.50 for a subscription. The site specifically asks for you birthday so we’ll see if they still take my money when they do the math and figure I’m 34.

  45. Bryan Price says:

    I find it funny that they keep after my wife’s ex for the past 5 years, and they go after my wife, but I have yet to get anything from then, and I’m older than my wife. Then again, I have a feeling that my old apartment in Ohio is getting them by the scads, just like the ex gets them here.

  46. BillsBurg says:

    Funny, I’m on some mailing list that must be for older retiree types or at least they got my name and my 69 yr old dads’ DOB mixed up (the items usually increase around July, his B-day). I’m 38, but I’m always getting things in my name for reverse mortgages, AARP, and a TON of mailing for medicare supplement plans.

  47. BillsBurg says:

    @dafountain: Yeah, but wouldn’t it be GREAT to be able to retire at 50! How many member like that do they have.

    Y’all realize that this is one of the biggest lobbyist groups in the US ([en.wikipedia.org])

  48. zentec says:

    I have been an AARP “associate member” since I was 30. I get to take advantage of AARP group discounts on auto insurance through my carrier (Citizens), discounts on home owners insurance and all sorts of spiffs. It’s worth the money.

  49. RoyInHell says:

    I received my first AARP invitation just shy of my 45th birthday – I wrote, “I do not qualify for any benefits as of yet – but thanks so much for making me feel old… schmucks” on it and returned it at their expense.

    Haven’t heard from them since (*crosses fingers*).

  50. Wirehead says:

    Oh, I had a lovely experience with the AARP.

    So, they’ve been sending me junkmail, which I laughed off.

    But recently they spammed me. And, since it’s the AARP and they got through my spam filters, I called them up to yell at them. They told me that they just buy up email lists and send them email and that it didn’t really matter if I wasn’t the right age because of their “associate member” program.

    They didn’t seem to care that I hadn’t signed up for any mailing lists or anything.

  51. Imakeholesinu says:

    Yeah, the AARP sent me not one packet but two packets in 3 weeks of one another trying to get me to sign up. I’m 26 and a democrat. WTF?

  52. karmaghost says:

    I started receiving AARP invites back in 2004 when I was 22. I think it was the area I was living in, which was full of elderly/seniors/retired types.

  53. AD8BC says:

    My wife got applications to join when she was 25. I told her she should, we would get great discounts at restaurants and some really good life insurance for pennies a day.

    Funny story, when my mom turned 50, she joined AARP. My dad got one of those cakes from a local bakery where they ink-jet a photo on the cake, only instead he had them put her AARP card on the cake.

  54. mantari says:

    They invited me to join when I was 13. Yes, 13. Nothing confusing about my name, nobody with the same name in my family, never falsified my date of birth. I figured that they were just hard-up for members.

  55. matt314159 says:

    If there’s one thing you can count on it’s that people will get old… Especially with the baby boomer generation nearing retirement in the coming years, I don’t think AARP has anything to worry about.

    My guess is that they saw the same last name and assumed the OP was the husband instead of son.

  56. mozilla says:

    This happened to my brother. He will be turning 21 in November. As of yet, he is the only one in our household to receive a membership offer.

  57. Stubtify says:

    I received an invite when I was 26 (last year), and sent it in with my actual birthday (1981). Three weeks later they sent me a card in the mail, I’m now a member of AARP.

    There are ZERO benefits for someone my age. The life insurance is cheap, but I can buy insurance cheaper. Also I called to get an auto quote and was denied for not being over 55.

    Really all they want is constituents. Also they make so much more money on their prescription and medicare insurance payments it’s all a front really. No one cares if you’re not 55… so long as you can be claimed when they go to push legislation for higher medicare payments (to themselves!)

  58. Nick1693 says:

    @mantari: I’m 13 now. They asked me to join when I was 5.

  59. Trencher93 says:

    Saw this too late to add a comment where anyone would see it, but the AARP just resells other people’s insurance. You will save a bundle buying directly from whoever sells it (or their competitors!) and not paying the AARP to resell it to you. I found this out when my mother was shopping for a medicare supplemental policy and I saw the AARP info. Be advised the difference between the actual price and the AARP price is what funds these mass mailings, TV spots, celebrity endorsements, etc. No wonder they’re losing members since they don’t actually do anything and older people aren’t dumb.

  60. mike says:

    I’ve been getting AARP applications since I turned 21. I now collect these envelopes and mail them a brick.

    • FearlessUser says:

      @linus: Holy crap, that’s funny! I’m going to have to start doing that. I like the person who sent a broken blender. Classic!

  61. MightyHorse says:

    i’ve been getting aarp spam since i was in my early 20s as well. i’m now 33. usually it’s about one piece of mail per week. i’ve tried calling on several occasions to have my name removed from their rolls, but the spam keeps coming. pretty soon i’m just going to start using those “temporary membership” cards i keep getting and saving some money. dumbasses.

  62. lotusflwr says:

    I used to get AARP membership offers frequently between the ages of 8 and 16. I’m now 28, but I haven’t seen one in quite a few years.

    I did notice they were using a lot of young adults, kids & teens in their election ’08 ads over the past year; I guess I was right to suspect they’re going with the McDonalds “get them young, get them for life” approach :)

  63. ElizabethD says:

    Well, I think they’re just buying mailing lists indiscriminately nowadays. At any rate, I signed up when I turned 50. They have a great magazine and newsletters.

    The downside of AARP grabbing everyone in sight to become members is that discounts for “seniors” have all but evaporated, or have starting ages of 65 and up. What happened to all those age-55 “senior discounts” for meals and movies? Umm, the baby boom happened, that’s what.

  64. My sister gave them my name when I was in my 30s, and we treated it as a joke. When I turned 50, I joined. The best thing is the auto insurance, which is less than half of what I was paying Geico for the same coverage. Not everything about getting old is bad.

  65. newfenoix says:

    I started receiving the invitations when I turned 30. That was 16 years and I call them to ask them to stop. I will never join the AARP because of their political stance.

  66. annelise13 says:

    I used to work for a company that had AARP as a client. From what I was told, they were specifically starting to target younger people for membership since everyone is going to retire someday. So while they haven’t sent me anything yet, I’m not surprised at all that you guys are getting letters etc.

  67. CyberSkull says:

    I’m 27 and I got an AARP invite letter. Where’s my senior discount?!?

  68. Nerdhouse1 says:

    I work for an insurance company that has a partner with th AARP… so I’m kind of an expert. You can join the AARP at a younger age, but only as an associate member. Which just means you don’t get full benefits and technically you can become a full member at 49 1/2 years old.

  69. Dennis says:

    Same thing happened to me about 8-9 years ago, I think I was 18 at the time. I was pumped to use the senior discount.

  70. Indecent says:

    I get their stuff all the time, and have since I was in college. Only 23 now, and I regularly get mail from them.

  71. cyborg5001 says:

    I’ve recieved one on or about my birthday for the last 4 years, I am currently 26.
    Interestingly enough, my dog started to get them when she was 10 years old, but to be fair thats like 70 in dog years, so they were actually a little late there.

  72. midwestkel says:

    I also get a letter at least every two weeks telling me I am approved to be a member and I am also only 23 years old.

  73. OnceWasCool says:

    AARP is dieing because of their own doing. They have been spending the last 10 years turning into a political cheerleader like the New York Times instead of working for Seniors. Seniors do vote, but spending all that time and MONEY to promote any candidate is a waste of resources.

    Seniors need someone on their side no matter who they vote for.

  74. moracity says:

    All the suckers, uhh members, will be dying over the next several years. There are many of of us who haven’t bought into their BS, so they are getting desperate.

  75. jp7570 says:

    Actually, AARP is now nothing more than just another political action committee (PAC). They legally changed their name to AARP – just 4 letters and no longer an acronym for the American Association of Retired Persons.

    Just because someone is in your age-range is no reason to think you will share their political ideology or world view.

    AARP just wants your dues, regardless of age or party afilliation.

  76. axylfyre says:

    heck I’m only 27 and i got an email! To quote a spokesperson in the commercial, “Sign me up!”

  77. Anne says:

    Yep, got mine when I was 26. That was a few years ago, so I don’t think this is a recent phenomenon.

    When I called to get off their list, the agent I reached was super-apologetic.

  78. Nick_Bentley says:

    The reason you’re getting these before the eligible age is because they are getting ripped off by list brokers, who are usually willing to “seed” a list with a bunch of random names to boost up the price of a targeted list. Now there was probably many 50+ people on the list they bought, but there was probably 20 percent of any age the list broker just added in there to increase the selling price.