KAMLOOPS — It’s funny how your circumstances change your perspective on things. In reality, I guess it’s not surprising. You look at things differently depending on the environment around you.
When I was younger, less worried about money, less concerned about the future, tax increases didn’t seem such a big deal. Another hundred a year? Drop in the bucket. Let’s get those things done. Let’s make some things happen in our community. Surely it’s not that big a deal. But then you get older, retirement starts to approach, and you start to figure out how retirement will look. And boy, does your perspective change in a hurry. Now you start to really examine what it is the city, for example, is going to spend money on, and things you didn’t care about before now start to appear like frivolous spending. A hundred dollars now seems like a lot more money to people on a finite income.
Although I’m still a couple of years at least away from retiring, you start to appreciate the concerns seniors or those on limited income have about more spending. It really doesn’t matter how necessary the spending is, it is still more money you have to cough up from a finite source. You don’t have the option of asking the government for a raise, to negotiate a better deal at another firm, or simply putting off some other expenditure so you can pay your increased taxes. You get what you get, and have to make that do.
I’ve always had empathy with seniors and others on fixed incomes. I look at what they take in and I wonder how they ever do it. I met a woman years ago who had two children and her circumstances forced her onto welfare. I couldn’t imagine how she was able to cope, and still be positive about things. But it was still an arm’s length thing. It changes as you get closer to being in that situation yourself. Even though I have a good pension, and will be better off than many, you still start to appreciate that life is different on a fixed income. You must adjust, you must question, you must preserve every dollar. It’s definitely different.
Maybe when I finish this long, 50-year plus career in a couple of years, it won’t be as taxing as I envision. But taxes, groceries, gas, heat and hydro are all going to increase, and I certainly have a much better appreciation of why those on fixed incomes protest when the city wants to jump taxes by almost three per cent. It’s a lot more significant now than it was when I was just a young pup with few cares and a devil-may-care attitude.