Next time don’t ignore that AARP invite

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At some point in our lives, we will get an invitation to join AARP, the organization for seniors. This likely will coincide with our 50th birthday, a point many of us don’t want to acknowledge. The AARP mail is ignored, maybe for a week, maybe for 10 years. But at some point we concede: We are seniors. And we need AARP.

I’ve been taking a closer look at AARP recently, and have concluded that it’s worth joining. Here are a few of the benefits of membership:

Need help with estate planning, starting a business or your taxes? It’s there, as close as your computer. Want good information on local political issues that affect seniors in your state. It’s there. AARP is in our corner, with one of the strongest lobby efforts in Washington, D.C.

While AARP is nonprofit, there are two side branches that are for profit. AARP Services provides discounts on many of the things we need, such as travel, legal, entertainment and supplemental health insurance. AARP Foundation provides on-the-job training, education, legal help and much more.

—The AARP Driver Safety program can be taken either online or in a class setting. The biggest value is that it teaches about the changes that come with age and how those can affect driving.

—The bi-monthly magazine is worth the price of the membership alone ($16 per year). What I appreciate most is that the articles are straightforward, informative and not condescending. With membership you also can read them online. If you have access to a computer, look around the site at Check the member-benefits guide, even if you’re already a member, or ask for one by phone when you sign up by calling 1-888-687-2277. Be sure you’re not missing out on anything – especially your discounts!

Matilda Charles regrets that she cannot personally answer reader questions, but will incorporate them into her column whenever possible. Send email to © 2014 King Features Synd., Inc.