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Why I don't need a senior discount

A motor lodge advertises a senior discount.

Reputable economists are predicting that Baby Boomers will bankrupt Social Security and Medicare. And millennials are none too pleased by this prospect. Some have even taken to calling us parasites and leeches.

At the risk of offending my fellow Boomers, I propose that we give up our senior discounts. It seems like the least we can do. After all, every time I get an old age price break, a Gen Y-er somewhere is subsidizing me.

As a 57 year old, I qualify to purchase a host of goods and services at prices 10-20 percent lower than my under-50 friends. I've racked my lawyer brain, but can't come up with any justification for this "youngster tax." While this seems like a form of reverse-age discrimination, it's not illegal. That's because those laws only apply to employers.

These discounts have been around since the 1950s and were instigated by AARP. They now pervade almost every industry-from restaurants to hotels to clothing stores to the national parks.

Perhaps there was some justification for giving oldsters a break 60 years ago, when Social Security benefits were stingy, people retired at 65, and expired soon thereafter. But, things have changed. Today people over 65 are less likely than younger people to live below the poverty line. Not only that, they have the highest net wealth of any age group.

These discounts are now absurd. If I live to 100 I'll be entitled to a senior discount for half of my life. I, like a lot of Boomers, don't need the price break. A recent college graduate who can't get a job is more deserving.

I'm appealing to my generation -- why not be a little magnanimous and give up your senior discounts? If nothing else, it might buy you some good will with your kids.

About the author

Lorie Eber speaks and blogs about aging and elder care at AgingBeatstheAlternative.com.
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Where'd MarketPlace Money find this "perspective"?? The blogger is at least 10 years too young to be making any such suggestions to "benefit" Seniors and the rest of the population.

As far as her "facts" about the current crop of "Seniors", some may apply to those who were able to "retire" before 2007, or to Union retirees. But, for those leading-edge 'Boomers' I run into, whose pensions weren't protected by a Union and often defrauded by employers, and are trying to live on SS, are a step or 2, or a dead appliance or car away from living in the trees with the Latino field workers.

Really, many cannot afford gas money to get to those discounts, Ms Leber wants them to forego.

Please wait until you've experienced a couple of years of retirement before publicizing any more bright ideas!

What gets my goat when visiting National Parks are the Seniors that roll up in $300,000 RV's that get 7 MPG and complain about everything. There aren't enough bathrooms, those kids are making noise, why do I have to turn my generator off at night, they should clean the bathrooms more often, when are they going to pick up the trash(oh I have to take it to the dumpster?). etc.
Do they not realize that it takes money to run those parks. They pay nothing to get in because they paid $10 for a Golden Eagle Pass, once upon a time, and they get a 50% discount on the space they park their gas guzzlers.
Saw one Senior so angry because he couldn't get a half priced discount at the concession that had electric hookups, he was actually spitting when he was yelling about the situation. He thought it was outrageous that they wanted $25 a night, and he had a Golden Eagle Pass, and how dare they not give him a half priced discount, etc.
And we wonder why our National Parks are falling into disrepair.
I hear Seniors talking about "the younger generation" feeling entitled, but I wonder if they are just projecting.

Some "Seniors" are just as crazy as "the younger generation". But, to the lesser complaining, "Seniors" have been paying taxes for 4, 5 or 6 decades, and do have good cause to wonder what the hay has happened to all that money.
And, when Seniors find out that the NPS usually earns a Profit (yes, Government can and does), yet gets stripped of that Profit for operating the Parks & Monuments, then, has to go begging to the HouseClowns for adequate Budget to keep the Parks open and safe, but sadly under-maintained,"Seniors" can get pretty crotchety. I hope "the younger generation" feels that way, too.

Businesses aren't being "nice" to us seniors, they are practicing market segmentation. They perceive that most older folks are sensitive to price changes, that is they will buy more if offered a discount. Senior discounts allow them to increase their sales to this part of their customer base and thereby increase sales, without having to offer the lower prices to those more affluent younger folks who are not so penneywise.

The businesses are trying to maximize their profits. Don't feel bad about taking a discount.

I'll forgo a senior discount when seniors aren't discriminated against in the workplace. Anyone who discovered they'll not be retiring on a nestegg they had expected and tried finding a job knows that being over 50 and looking for an income ain't no walk in the park.

Deckhand,
Your position sounds reasonable to me. My suggestion applies to those of us who don't really need the discounts.

Esq Eber speaks from a position that few of us boomers share.....Might I say that most lawyers in urban areas like Washington, DC, charge between $300 and $700 per hour for their "services". So from such a lofty income perspective, and the fact that lawyers charge for EVERYTHING "they do " even if you wind up doing it for them, it does not surprise me that she has been using discounts for seniors.

Frankly, instead of using the few discounts she is ready to let the rest of her generation or those older forfeit, perhaps she would like to donate an equivalent % of her earnings and investments annually to a GenXer, or some less fortunate senior who is living below the poverty line or barely just above it. Better yet, maybe she could devote her free time as a retiree to target all retired lawyers and Congressional politicians to do similarly. Now that, would be a true public service.

Sweetmedia,
Thanks for your perspective. I was not suggesting that boomers who need discounts forego them, just that those who don't pass them up. Thanks for listening.

There are many, many seniors who live on either a small pension, a small social security check or SSI. I live in a seniors apartment building where many occupants receive only SSI (supplemental security income) totaling between $698 and $845. These seniors will pay their rent first, then they'll hit food banks, senior centers, and other places that help them eat. Of course, many seniors also have medications that they buy. Discounts are necessary when living on this kind of subsistance level .

Sandram,
I hear you! Some seniors need the discounts and should use them. Others do not.

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