02 August 2008

Boomer/Retiree/Senior Discounts

Baby boomers earn senior status. Discounts for being old—we're finally earning them. If you remember the 1970s, you remember phrases like Senior Citizen Discounts and the now-fabled airline passes for retired people. (A couple of airlines still have plans, and a few more offer selected routes or dates.) Aging retirees actually discussed whether they would admit to being old enough to qualify for discounts. Today's aging boomers don't debate the topic. We race toward the discounts.

My confirmed happy discount from AT&T. An iPhone upgrade brought to light the availability of discount on my monthly charge from AT&T by way of membership in AARP. It is an outstanding 20% discount. If you are not quite old enough for AARP membership (50), you can still find AT&T discounts with many employers. I discovered just this week that I was eligible for a 15% discount through my university employer. (Wish I had known that for the past year.) These discounts are not easily located. But if you know to ask about the FAN list at AT&T, you can start saving within a billing cycle or two.

Scant research on the web. Even the AARP web site is lacking in information. A few informational sites present general lists. And a few offer to help you find discounts in exchange for a membership fee. Probably the most easily found discount is the lifetime pass for the National Park System. (It's the best discount, too, at $10 for access to all parks. Must be purchased at a park by the person who is 62.) Restaurants and movie theaters are common discounters. Some retail stores give a break, especially on certain days. Sometimes I am asked to show my AARP card at hotels (same with AAA card), but otherwise I have yet to be asked for proof of age.

Finding discounts: Be observant and read the fine print. And ask. That means settling on what words you want to use. Senior discounts? Retired discounts? I'm pretty comfortable with "Do you offer AARP or any other retirement discounts?" I haven't said golden, mature, or senior yet. That doesn't mean I never will. One blunt friend says this to young workers, "What are you giving us old people today?"

Stores and services like to find ways to stimulate business and so it's logical for us to be asking for discounts. But I'm expecting some of the perks to go the way of airline discounts: it will be too costly to give all boomers a break. There will be too many of us.

© 2008 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (www.marybold.com, www.boldproductions.com, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as professional, legal, financial, or medical advice. Or education advice. Or marital advice. Or even a tip.

1 comment:

Tawdy said...

I'm so thankful for this blog as it's hard to find resources that focus on women of our generation. Aside from this blog, I enjoy the InvestTalk radio podcast http://investtalk.hitfastforward.com/ and blog http://blog.investtalk.com and SmartMoney's retirement info pages: http://www.smartmoney.com/retirement/