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5 Reasons Saving For Retirement is a lot Like Eating Kale

October 12, 2015

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We all know that saving for retirement is good for us - just like eating kale is. But it doesn't mean the taste and effort isn't a little bitter! via @shoeaholicnomore

I remember intentionally eating kale, for the first time, about ten years ago. I had had it before on my plate as a garnish or mixed in with other greens, but I had never actually gone out and bought a head of it to intentionally eat for the health benefits.

I heard that kale was a “superfood” that would help prevent a wide array of health issues, and I wanted to experience all of the supposed benefits. I learned about this simple way to pack a high dose of nutrient dense calories into my life, and I have been eating kale ever since.

As I was sautéing some kale with olive oil to go with dinner the other night, I started thinking about the similarities between saving for retirement and eating this dark green leafy vegetable. Here are 5 reasons that saving for retirement is a lot like eating kale.

1) You Might Not Like It

I’m going to admit something. I don’t like kale. I just tolerate it. It’s tough, stringy, and bitter, especially if you don’t cook it well. I still buy it though, because it is good for me, and it’s affordable.

There are a million other uses that I would rather spend the $10 a month on, like wine or chocolate to name a few, but I’m investing in my future by taking care of myself and giving my body the fuel it needs to stay healthy for a long time.

Retirement is the same. It’s hard to set large chunks of money aside for retirement, especially when you could really use the money now, or could think of about million other more enjoyable uses for the money. Setting money aside for retirement isn’t exactly a fun or enjoyable use of your money, but your future self will thank you for prioritizing your expenses to set yourself up for a comfortable retirement.

2) It’s Hard to Visualize the Long Term Benefits

Kids are told all the time, “eat your vegetables, they’ll keep you healthy and strong.” We would all rather eat an ice cream cone than our kale, though. It’s hard to visualize long-term priorities in the face of more pleasant short-term solutions.

It can be the same with retirement savings. If you receive a tax refund, you could use it to go on a phenomenal vacation or use it to max out your retirement account. As much as you would rather go on vacation, you know that you’re doing something incredible for yourself to secure yourself financially for the future.

3) You Can’t Rely on Just the One Thing

Eating kale will help keep you healthy, but only if you do it in conjunction with an overall healthy lifestyle and make other health-minded decisions throughout your life. Likewise, saving for retirement will only be beneficial if you make solid financial decisions in conjunction with your retirement savings.

You wouldn’t be able to survive off of just kale, and you won’t be able to survive off of just one retirement account. You need to have a wide range to your financial health plan so that you aren’t left trying to sit on a one-legged retirement stool.

4) There’s an Individual Best Way

My favorite way to eat kale is baked into crisps with sea salt, but someone else might think that’s a pretty gross or ineffective way to get the nutrients. It’s just like retirement savings though. I do what I can to get the most benefits in a way I know that I will be able to manage long-term.

Some people may want to focus ways to have an early retirement and others will need to even a few years longer than most to retire comfortably. Whether you’re maxing out your accounts and have streams of passive income, or doing what you can afford and hoping for social security to fill in the cracks, everyone has to do whatever they can.

5) Not Enough People Embrace the Benefits

I eat kale because it’s good for me, just like I save for retirement because it’s good for me. Because I take an active interest in my health, and I take an active interest in my long-term finances, I will hopefully be set for a comfortable and healthy life, both financially and otherwise, in retirement.

Unfortunately, I will be in the minority, if I have enough saved to live comfortably during retirement. Almost 68% of Americans aren’t saving for retirement at all.

I probably wouldn’t have started eating kale if it hadn’t been unveiled as this great superfood. I also wouldn’t be saving for retirement if I hadn’t learned how important it is from the news, articles, and different financial websites. More people need to take action and start saving.

Do What You Can

Just like someone who knows vegetables are good for them, but chooses to eat chips instead, we all have areas in our life that need improvement. No matter whether it’s life, circumstance, or misaligned priorities getting in the way, more people should start doing what they can to embrace the benefits of saving now for their retirement. The earlier you start saving, the more you will have to lean on in your twilight years. Even starting out by just saving $20 per paycheck to put into an IRA, is more than you would have before.

And start eating kale, it really is good for you.

Do find it hard to set money aside for retirement?

*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich, A Disease Called Debt and From Aldi to Harrods*

We all know that saving for retirement is good for us - just like eating kale is. But it doesn't mean the taste and effort isn't a little bitter! via @shoeaholicnomore

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Kristi Muse

Kristi Muse is a freelance writer, blogger, police officer’s wife, and millennial mom to two beautiful children. She loves homeschooling, organic gardening, sustainable living, and cooking from scratch. To hire Kristi as a freelance writer or to read more about how she lives a balanced life, visit her website or follow her on twitter @moderatemuse.

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18 responses to “5 Reasons Saving For Retirement is a lot Like Eating Kale

  1. Tough, stringy, and bitter? You’re eating the wrong kale! Probably the frilly kind? I’m not a big fan of that either, though it’s ok shredded and tossed into something else.

    For eating straight up, look for lacinato kale (sometimes called dinosaur kale), which has very dark green flat leaves and is much more tender. Red russian kale, which has a red stem and flat leaves also, is also a good choice. I shred both of those up and eat them raw in salads (chopped really small) or toss them into basically everything — lasagna! stew! soup!

    If the only thing you can find is curly kale, I would go with the chop-it-up-really-small strategy and then throw it into other things (again, lasagne, casseroles, stew, soup) — it should totally “hide” in there and you won’t even really taste it; it’ll taste like whatever dish you’re making.

    The other thing I suspect is that you’re buying kale that’s old and maybe kind of limp. I try to only buy kale if it’s fresh enough that the leaves have plenty of snap to them, very crisp. I usually get it at the farmer’s market here but I can often find it fresh enough at one of the supermarkets too.But anyway, if the leaves are limp, they’re much more likely to be tough and bitter because they’re old.

    Sorry about the long comment, I apparently feel very strongly about kale. LOL.

    1. I actually love baked kale chips or if its chopped up and cooked in soups. I didn’t have much luck with growing kale in my garden this year, unfortunately, so I had to rely on the terrible stuff at the grocery store. I actually prefer spinach to kale though, if given the option.

  2. I also think that your Kale is too old 🙂 But, your post reminds of why I force myself to eat tiny amounts of banana even though it’s disgusting-it has great potassium and is good for me. I love that you are honest that saving for retirement can be be painful-but it’s important.

  3. Love the comparison! I actually love kale and make kale chips all the time. It’s great as long as it’s seasoned properly. My family on the other hand, needs some convincing. I agree with your advice to do that you can. Saving now for retirement is so important.

  4. I love kale! But I do know not everyone feels the same. 🙂 I like it in smoothies and juices. For salads, if you massage the kale with the dressing and let it sit for a bit, it become less scratchy or tough. I do agree that saving for retirement can be a lot like eating a food you don’t really like but know is good for you. And in both instances, it is worth it!

  5. This is such a good comparison. While I don’t just LOVE kale, I’ve found that I can tolerate it when prepared certain ways (and kale chips are my fav too!). I don’t particularly enjoy saving for retirement, but I know that it has to be done, so we do.

  6. I used to hate kale until I started eating it more (for health reasons like you!), and now I like it. It’s an acquired taste. And…same with saving! I used to think that saving sounded boring and constrictive, but now that I’ve started focusing on it more, I’m finding that being financially conscious is actually pretty interesting and even kind of fun!
    So, your metaphor still holds! 🙂

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