Senior Discounts: Why Growing Older Rocks

Get tips for finding senior discounts and managing expenses in a new phase of life so you can reap the benefits of growing older.

Senior Discounts for Restaurant, Travel and Education

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Retirement can mean more time on your hands to do the things you enjoy, including visiting family, going out to more restaurants, taking a dream vacation or starting a new hobby.

According to The State of America’s Workforce Study, a 2018 study of over 2,000 working Americans ages 40-70, when workers envision their retirement lifestyle, more than three-fourths want to travel, and more than half plan to spend time with family, pursue hobbies and be active.1^Indexed Annuity Leadership Council, “Survey of America’s Workforce: A Study of Retirement Readiness by Industry and Occupation,” 2018

If you’re on a retirement budget based on a fixed income, below are some ways to save on expenses to avoid breaking your nest egg.

Restaurant Discounts for Seniors

Americans are eating out more than ever before and spending less at the grocery store, according to the Nielsen report, “Merging Tables and Aisles.”2^The Nielsen Company, “Merging Tables and Aisles: Understanding Shifts in U.S. Total Food and Beverage Demand,” 2018

Whether it is breakfast, lunch, dinner, fast food or fine dining, there are many types of discounted food and menu items for the 55 and older crowd across the country. To help defray the cost of those dining dollars, some restaurants, like IHOP and Perkins, offer a 55-plus menu with discounted prices.3^AARP website, “Amazing Dining DealsAARP compiled a list of 56 dining discounts available to older adult customers across the country. 

Many restaurants, including Outback Steakhouse, Bonefish Grill, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and Rainforest Café, currently offer discounts to AARP members.3^AARP website, “Amazing Dining Deals”

For a sweet treat or an activity to do with the grandchildren, according to AARP, Ben and Jerry’s customers over the age of 60 can receive a 10 percent discount at most locations. AARP also states, at TCBY, customers 55 and older currently receive a 10 percent discount.3^AARP website, “Amazing Dining Deals”

Education Discounts for Seniors

A recent Pew Research Center study showed 73 percent of adults consider themselves lifelong learners.4^Pew Research Center, “Lifelong Learning and Technology” 2016

Kansas State University Libraries published a study showing social contact and interaction is an important motivational factor for older adult learners.5^Kansas State University Libraries: New Prairie Press, “Older Adults’ Motivation to Learn in Higher Education,” 2011 For aging adults who desire knowledge, mental stimulation and self-fulfillment, taking classes at collegiate institutions can keep a mind sharp and active.

Many colleges and universities across the country offer free or reduced tuition to senior citizens, as long as space in the classroom is available. Tuition waivers from public colleges and universities allow older adults to associate with and learn from younger generations, but what about retirees who want to learn in an educational setting with people their own age?

There are institutions of higher learning designed specifically for those in retirement. In Florida, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Florida Atlantic University (FAU), Jupiter, offers non-credit, university-level courses for seasoned adult learners. The institute is an auxiliary unit of FAU and an annual membership costs $60, which provides course discounts and various benefits.6^Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Jupiter, Florida Atlantic University, “Mission Statement”

The Pew Research Center report on lifelong learning and technology also stated, “80 percent of personal learners say they pursued knowledge in an area of personal interest because they wanted to learn something that would help them make their life more interesting and full.”4^Pew Research Center, “Lifelong Learning and Technology” 2016

The courses and lectures at Osher Lifelong Learning Institute include topics on history, current politics, music, the arts and more, and are taught by university faculty and guest lecturers.

If you’re interested in American foreign policy, or vampires, werewolves and zombies in popular media and culture, there are options out there for adult learners, too!

Travel Discounts for Seniors

According to the Milken Institute’s report, “Silver to Gold: The Business of Aging,” about half of the American baby boomer population has a bucket list, and more than eight in 10 of the boomers have domestic and international travel on their list. 7^Milken Institute: Center for the Future of Aging, “Silver to Gold: The Business of Aging,” 2018

The good news is it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg to travel in your golden years.

Seniors age 62 and older who show photo identification currently receive a 5 percent discount on bus passenger fares through Greyhound. 8^Greyhound website, “Discounts”

However, if bus travel isn’t your desired mode of transportation, some airlines offer senior discounts.

Southwest Airlines also currently offers discounted fares to senior citizens age 65 and older.9^Southwest Airlines website, “Seniors” Look online or directly contact an airline to see if you are eligible to receive a discount on your airfare.

Once you choose your mode of travel, you also have to decide where you’re going to stay on your trip. Some hotels also have discounts for their customers who are over a certain age. For example, Best Western® Hotels and Resorts currently offers a discount of 10 percent or more for their guests who are 55 and older.10^Best Western Hotels and Resorts website, “Senior Hotel Discounts” Again, an easy way to find more information on hotel senior discounts is to go to a company website or contact the hotel directly.

Transportation and lodging choices are important on a vacation, but the destination and planned activities are also key decisions. 

The United States National Park Service offers senior discounts through its America the Beautiful – The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Senior Pass. 11^National Park Service website, “America the Beautiful Passes”

An annual senior pass is $20 and a lifetime one is $80. The pass is available to U.S. citizens or permanent residents age 62 or over, and provides access to more than 2,000 national parks and federal recreation sites across the country. 12^National Park Service website, “Changes to the Senior Pass”

According to the National Park Service, the pass “may provide a 50 percent discount on some amenity fees charged for facilities and services such as camping, swimming, boat launch and specialized interpretive services.” 11^National Park Service website, “America the Beautiful Passes”

Whether it is food, educational opportunities or travel expenses, there are many ways to save a buck through senior discounts. It’s important to remember the fun activities on your bucket list don’t have to break your bank account.

These are just a few areas of interest to look into, and there are many more out there. The key is to take the first step and start looking for all those amazing discounted deals, because growing older rocks.



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