Making the move into retirement

First National investment management experts help prepare Alaskans for life’s next phase

Mark Krizer spent 40-plus years working as a production operator in the oil and gas industry, including more than 30 on Alaska’s North Slope, while wife Susan ran their home like a well-oiled machine.

Mark loved his career, but decreased production and low oil prices created doubt. Both in their early 60s, Mark and Susan were forced to consider life after Alaska’s oil boom. Could retirement work in a downturned economy? They weren’t so sure.

That is, until they talked to Adam Sikorski and the local investment management experts at First National Bank Alaska.

Mark exited the work force in May 2016.

“At first, we both were bundles of nerves,” Susan said. “But Adam and everyone at the bank helped us feel more at ease.

“The whole experience was so impressive. The folks at First National do a wonderful job of getting to know you and finding ways to best meet your needs.”

“A history of smart financial decision-making”

In some ways, the Krizers know First National as well as the bank’s local experts know them. Susan and Mark financed their first home in Alaska with the bank in the early 1980s and banked with First National ever since.

Over time, the Krizers forged a special relationship with Soldotna Branch Customer Service Representative Becky Latona.

“When it came down to retiring, we asked Becky for recommendations about who could handle our finances and help us make the best decisions,” Susan said. “She recommended that we talk with the professionals in the bank’s Investment Management and Trust Services Department.”

Days later, the Krizers met Sikorski and talked about the couple’s savings, investments, other sources of income and the likelihood of retirement.

“Susan and Mark’s history of smart financial decision-making put them right where they needed to be,” Sikorski said. “We were able to create a very specific strategy that helped stabilize their future.”

The Krizers were overjoyed.

“In terms of managing our money and our investments, we didn’t realize First National was an option,” Mark Krizer said. “Other institutions based their retirement models on one-size-fits-all methods done in the Lower 48.

“Alaskans have a different lifestyle. Adam and everyone we worked with at the bank displayed their local knowledge and expertise and offered a unique retirement plan suited for us.”

“A bank we trust”

These days, the Krizers’ impressive list of to-dos has changed.

• Visit a favorite remote cabin

• Take a canoe trip

• Find and observe a beaver

• Hike to a nearby mine

• Start projects in Mark’s woodworking shop

• Fish, fish, fish

Those are just for starters. Mark and Susan’s grandchildren, Alana and Dracen Morrison, intend to keep their grandparents busy now that Mark will be around their Sterling-area home more often.

As Mark readied the family’s boat for summer fishing season, he also took time to reflect on all he accomplished professionally.

“I have lived nearly half my life on The Slope with my Slope family, the ‘Brotherhood of the Arctic’ as we like to joke,” Mark said. “But I never wanted the job to define me, so when it came time to retire I could happily walk away.”

The Krizers appreciate everything Sikorski and First National have done for them as they move on to the next phase of their life together.

“To prepare the way we did with a local bank we trust is truly special,” Mark said. “You know, something

Adam said to me really stuck. He said retirement shouldn’t mean a drastic change in lifestyle.

“Sure, maybe we’ll travel a lot more. But we’re not going to be snowbirds. We’re Alaskans. We have snowmachines to ride.”

Editor’s note: Securities recommended or acquired in any fiduciary account administered by the Trust Department of First National Bank Alaska are not FDIC insured and may invoke investment risk, including possible loss of capital. Such securities are not obligations of First National Bank Alaska and are not guaranteed by First National Bank Alaska.