• Last modified 526 days ago (Jan. 12, 2023)


Retirees coping with inflation

Staff writer

Retirement is often portrayed as a carefree time when people get to kick back and do what they want.

Not everyone has seen it that way.

Three Marion seniors say they are getting by despite dealing with the rapid inflation on the prices of everyday things.

Jerry Kline, 81, officially retired from Martin Marietta Corp. in 2006.

He’s no less busy.

“Actually, you don’t have to go to your job every day, but there’s plenty to go do, mostly volunteer work,” Kline said.

Not all of the new work he does is volunteer, though.

He drives a school bus part-time for the Marion school district, logging about 30 hours a month.

“I’m traveling with a basketball team this afternoon,” Kline said Friday. “That’s what I really wanted to do.”

He wasn’t keen on retiring, but his wife, Norma, couldn’t wait to retire.

“She doesn’t do much,” he said.

She volunteers at her church, making dresses for missions.

The couple hasn’t had to make any adjustments to their lifestyles because of inflation, Kline said.

“It’s getting close to that,” he admitted. “When we got married, we had nothing. You’ve got to learn not to spend ahead.”

Having debt would make things more difficult.

Gerald Ratliff, 74, who lives part of the year in Marion and part of the year in Phillipsburg, never really retired.

During his career, he did a little bit of everything, he said. He did farm work, worked in road construction, and worked at a Phillipsburg shingle factory.

He still does some of those things. In the summer, he stays at Phillipsburg and does harvesting.

One reason he hasn’t had much struggle with inflated prices is that his wife still works a steady job, Ratliff said.

Inflation doesn’t seem to be a problem with his finances, he said, but another factor might be a lifestyle change.

“I’m staying home a lot,” he said.

After retirement, Clarita Caudill, 81, has kept busy volunteering at the St. Luke Hospital Auxiliary Shoppe, Marion County Food Bank, and the senior center. She also checks on her neighbor in a senior community where she lives.

She retired 10 years ago and moved from St. Mary’s after her husband died.

“I don’t know how I ever had time to work,” she said.

As for inflation, “so far, so good,” Caudill said.

Caudill said her thrifty ways cushion the inflation blow.

“I grew up on a farm,” she said.

She was raised with examples of thrifty living.

“I’m by myself,” she said. “I don’t have two people to deal with. That would be different. I can make a can of soup last three meals.”

She accomplishes that by adding ramen noodles.

Last modified Jan. 12, 2023