40-year high inflation continues to impact retirees

The late evening news on KEVN Black Hills Fox Sunday
Published: Jul. 13, 2022 at 5:24 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - The U.S. economy is kind of rocky right now. For the first time in twenty years, the US dollar and euro are both worth the same and Wall Street is losing hope. Meanwhile, consumers are feeling the effects, especially those who are retired.

Did you ever think you’d have to do this? “No,” that’s what Linda Gardner said, when she decided to pick up a part time job to make up what her retirement fund and social security is not. But she is glad that it got her out of the house.

“Yes, definitely, because I am not sitting at home worrying about it. Because that was the other thing with all the increased costs of everything, I didn’t have extra money to go out and do the fun stuff that most people want to do when they retire,” said the retiree who moved to Rapid City just six years ago.

The landscape of her golden years are changing, and in 2022 making a budget is no walk in the park.

Here’s why: U.S. inflation in June just hit 9.1%, gas is still well above four dollars a gallon, and food prices in South Dakota are up 12% over last year.

“Those are the things that I have noticed is utilities and food, mostly food, and I’ve tried to cut back. I used to eat mostly organic food, I don’t do that anymore, I just get regular food,” explained Gardner. “But still, it’s just I could only tighten my belt so far.”

For those who are retired, it’s seeing how far that dollar stretches before it breaks. “Because you have a choice, you can either buy groceries this month or you can take a vacation,” says Susan Sprecher. But for her it’s an even more drastic choice. Spechter had to change her shopping habits and look to food pantries.

“So it makes a big difference, going once every two months from going every two weeks. You know and you buy the necessities, that’s it,” said Sprecher who lives in Rapid Valley.

“We eat down here[Minneluzahan Senior Center], because this can be adjusted to your income, and you at least get a balanced meal that way,” Spechter explained about her changing budget.

Sprecher pulled out all the stops to make sure she can make it to the next month, even planning how she will run errands. “And with the price of gasoline once you go into town, you make sure you do all of your stops while you’re in there, so you don’t have to go back-and-forth,” she added that it is best to go around town in a circle, so you don’t back track.

June’s inflation rate was higher than the expected 8.8 percent, so as inflation is forecasted to slow down, only time will tell.

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