Ron and Margie: Roadside retirement

Ron and Margie lost most of their retirement money during the Great Recession. Today, their roadside produce stand on Route 462 in Hallam helps them pay the bills.

Presented by: Our York Media

Ron Mutzabaugh won’t cash the check. The bank keeps calling. They threaten to stop payment. 

“I kind of like holding onto it,” Ron says, shaking his head. “It’s a reminder of what is no more.” 

It was the start of the recession when Ron, a newly retired machinist noticed his 401K was losing nearly $1,000 a month. With about $33,000 in the account, he watched his life savings slip away. 

He called his financial advisor to freeze the accounts. Then, he called to close the account, only to learn it had been sold to another company. After months of trying, a check finally arrived. 

In bold letters it reads: $0.01. It was all he had left.

I’ve spent my entire life in a garden. You think you’ve mastered something but you find you always learn.

Ron Mutzabaugh

The backyard garden he and his wife, Margie, started as a hobby in 1984 was suddenly a safety net. 

What started as selling a few vegetables on a card table outside their home along Route 462 in Hallam has turned into a little pocket cash to help pay their taxes and be comfortable while they live off of Social Security. 

Today, on the shelves of the bright green stand, locals stock up on tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, herbs, potatoes, watermelon, homemade pizza sauce and salsa, and local honey.  

“I’ve spent my entire life in a garden,” Ron says. “You think you’ve mastered something, but you find you always learn.”  

Get Neighbors of Our York in your inbox: Every Thursday at 9 a.m., we’ll email you a full version of the latest “Neighbors of Our York” profile. You subscribing lets us know you like and value what we’re doing.