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President's Corner

Keeping Seniors Out of Poverty

AARP Foundation launches new public benefit guides, financial capability program

It's all well and good to talk about keeping older people from falling over the cliff into poverty, but if you don't put some railings along the edge, it isn't going to help much.

We've recently erected a couple of new railings. The first, our state-by-state guide to public benefits, explains where to go to get the help that's needed. It may sound like a simple proposition, but even though there are just 50 states, there must be 5,000 ways of offering public help.

See also: Helping older workers get jobs.

Another new railing is AARP Foundation Finances 50+. Our income impact team and the Charles Schwab Foundation designed this program specifically for the 20 million people age 50-plus in the United States who are living on the financial edge, unable to get their prescriptions refilled and put food on the table. Finances 50+ is a three-part program to get struggling older people back on the road to financial stability, and this road may eventually become a superhighway. Here's why:

First, very few financial education programs are specifically directed to meeting the unique needs of low-income older people and their families. And many older adults who have been handling their money for decades don't need (or want) more financial knowledge. Instead, they need to get a better understanding of how the financial choices they make and the actions they take can help them achieve their goals. This is the fundamental difference between traditional financial education and our new program: Financial education is about what you know, and financial capability is about what you do. Finances 50+ is rooted in the philosophy that everyone, with the appropriate education, motivation and support, can change their financial stability for the better.

Second, we're teaming with seven carefully vetted nonprofits to pilot Finances 50+, ranging from El Buen Samaritano Episcopal Mission in Austin, Texas, to the Banner Olive Branch Senior Center in Phoenix and the Greater Washington Urban League in Washington, D.C. (The other four cities are Baltimore, Denver, New Orleans and San Francisco.) We're working side by side with these organizations so we can reach more people and make resources go further. They are just as invested in the success of Finances 50+ as we are.

Third, by working with the Charles Schwab Foundation on this program, we took advantage of all our organizational strengths. Both of us are dedicated to building financial capability for underserved older people. In addition, the Charles Schwab Foundation focuses on funding and promoting financial education, while AARP Foundation brings a deep knowledge of the 50-plus population and an active volunteer base.

Next: We're looking for volunteers to help with Finances 50+. »

legal cases

Find the most recent cases in which AFL has advocated in courts nationwide for the rights of older persons, and filed AARP’s amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) briefs that help courts decide precedent-setting cases.

Programs & Services

AARP Tax Aide

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide

This program offers free assistance with tax-return preparation. Go

Couple standing outside home, Create the Good

Housing Solutions Center

This program offers free HUD-certified counseling and assistance to 50-plus homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure. Go

AARP Foundation Finances 50+

Finances 50+

This financial capability program is a collaboration between AARP Foundation and Charles Schwab Foundation. Go

Medical team at a computer, AARP Foundation Back to Work 50+


We are partnering with workforce services providers to strengthen the bridge between 50+ job candidates and respected employers. Go