Now is the time to prepare for retirement

by Peter Twitchell

In my retirement and then my hour of need I no longer go to a store or a hardware store. Just yesterday I needed a hammer so I went to Fred Meyer’s to check out how much their stock of hammers would cost.

When I found the hammers all shiny and new I looked at them carefully. I saw a heavy duty hammer with a wooden handle with a price tag of $10.99.

I saw an all-steel hammer with a rubber grip to my liking and the price tag on it said $20.99. Both these hammers were out of my price range. I left empty-handed and went back home.

Then today I went to the family value store to find a good used hammer within my price range. I had already checked yesterday but overnight they had put out a donated all-steel hammer with the rubber handle. I grabbed it and examined it and found it to be in excellent condition. The price tag was marked $5.99.

I was elated with joy as I walked to the checkstand thanking the good Lord God for my discovery. I could have taken a chance and bought it on Tuesday with an elders discount but I didn’t want to take the chance of finding no hammer on Tuesday.

When I was young and worked three different jobs in a day I never thought about how tight money would be once I retired. Now I know, like my dad used to tell me, money doesn’t grow on trees. I always wondered about that.

To me in my youth it was just a frivolous statement and it had no real meaning to me. Now I know what my dad meant when he said money doesn’t grow on trees. Looking back now I can tell you those words were golden words because once you retire you don’t get three paychecks anymore.

I left $300 worth of tools in Bethel when I moved to Wasilla where 2 gallons of Arrowhead water is $2.99. When I returned to Bethel one year ago a 16.9 fluid ounces of water was almost 4 bucks. I’m sad to say I can no longer afford to live in rural Alaska on my Social Security. It’s a sad day when I have to admit this. I always said Bethel is a two-income town, otherwise you are always going to be short of money. It’s a fact of life in Bush Alaska, we are living in tough times.

I only have the upmost respect for my people – the Yup’ik people who can call rural Alaska their home. I am thankful for our children and grandchildren who are going on to higher learning and getting a good education. Our youth are the key to our successful and healthy Future. And we will never forget how we struggled to get there.

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