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The Stories You Loved in 2023

AARP Experience Counts readers soaked up the tips and hacks to make life easier

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When we started AARP Experience Counts, we weren’t sure what kind of stories would fly with our readers. Still, we knew we wanted to celebrate America – its beauty, traditions and the grit and know-how of the people who have worked to keep the American Dream alive. We also wanted to share key takeaways to help you, the reader, live your best life.

It didn’t take long to realize our stories were clicking with our audience, and our audience was clicking on our stories. In less than six months, AARP Experience Counts went from a few thousand readers to many tens of thousands of subscribers. It is the fastest-growing newsletter that AARP has launched, and readership is still climbing.  

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We hope AARP Experience Counts is everything you want it to be, and we welcome suggestions for stories and topics that you want to read. As always, your experience — as well as your opinion — counts.

With such rapid growth, you may have missed some of our biggest articles of the year, so we compiled a few for you to enjoy during this end-of-year break. We hope they are as entertaining the second time as they were the first.

Happy holidays. We look forward to offering more stories you want to read in the new year. 

Only in America 

"The 27 Prettiest American Small Towns"

Clean, pretty and neighborly, we’d be proud to call any of these places “home.”

Read the story here.

"Disappearing History: 8 Endangered Landmarks to See Before They’re Gone"

You can still visit any of these famous sites, but you better do it before they’re torn down or fall apart.

Read the story here.

"10 of the Very Best Gas Station Stops in America"

Competition is fierce, and loyalties are strong for the best place to grab a snack and a potty break.

Read the story here.

"Where You Can Party Like It’s 1776"

Here is a list of 12 can’t-miss locations that go all out every year to celebrate America’s Independence Day.

Read the story here.  


"5 Steps to Withdrawing From Your Retirement Accounts to Make Money Last"

When it’s time to quit work for good, you need to know how to make your savings last.

Read the story here.

"The 7 Biggest Mistakes You May Be Making on Social Security"

Trust but verify your earnings, plus other tips to maximize your benefits.

Read the story here.

"3 Ways to Reduce Credit Card Interest Payments"

Consider lower balance cards, debt consolidation and installment payments to eliminate debt.

Read the story here

Know How

"10 Free Classes You Can Take from Your Couch"

Become an instant expert on just about anything.

Read the story here

"5 Browser Extensions to Save You Money Online"

These add-ons to your internet browser will activate discounts and help you earn cash back.

Read the story here.

Health & Wellness

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50% off additional pairs of eyeglasses and $10 off eyewear and contacts

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"Customer Service Hacks to Help You Get an Actual Human on the Phone"

Try these tricks to speak to a live person on the phone and skip the endless phone directory maze.

Read the story here.  

Tried & True

"9 Classic Books to Share With Your Grandkids"

A classic can transport us to an unfamiliar world while assuring us that we are not alone in the way we experience the world.

Read the story here

"Go Western, Young Man"

Why America’s love for Westerns has come back with a vengeance.

Read the story here.

"Rigors of Time Don’t Dampen America’s Love of the Itsy, Bitsy Bikini"

As beauty standards shift, the two-piece of yesteryear is changing with the women who wear them.

Read the story here.

"7 Skills We No Longer Teach but Should"

When did it become so hard to count change or jump-start a battery?

Read the story here.

Award Winners

AARP Experience Counts stories also won several awards this year. The dotComm Awards, awarded in July, honors excellence in web creativity and digital communications. We picked up a Platinum Award for "Go Western Young Man," by Greg Carroll, and a Gold Award for "The Seven Biggest Mistakes You May Be Making on Social Security" by Jean Chatzky.

We also received three MarCom Awards and an honorable mention in September for outstanding achievements by marketing and communications professionals.

Levi’s Celebrates 150 Years,” written by Joy Frank Collins and "The Best Summer Songs of Our Lives" by Janie Emaus both earned platinum awards for creative writing. Jeff Tomik's "Disappearing History: 8 Endangered Landmarks to See Before They're Gone" earned a gold award for creative writing and Gary Garth's "They Won Millions Fishing, Yes Fishing. Here's How" picked up an honorable mention.

Congratulations to all our writers.

Share your experience: What was your favorite AARP Experience Counts story this year? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.


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