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Bacon and Retirement

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I recently saw a couple of outstanding greeting card quotes by Someecards on Facebook that got me thinking about two things that are near and dear to my heart: retirement and bacon.

The statement above is a very funny, yet very insightful reflection of human nature. It's a big week in Des Moines, Iowa -- and not because a bunch of Republican politicians descended on the city to test the pre-caucus waters. Nope. It is Baconfest week! The hosted dinners have begun. A bacon queen will soon be crowned. And on Saturday, January 31, nearly 17,000 lucky people will spend an entire day celebrating bacon at what has been dubbed by CNBC as the "Mecca of all bacon festivals." This year's festival title is "Baconmania VIII - The Greatest Bacon Event of All Time!" As the title suggests, both wrestlers and wrestling will be well-represented at this year's celebration, with "Bacon-The Immortal" battling against turkey bacon and tofu bacon alternatives.

Now there's a quote that is both funny and tragic, but also interesting when you think about human nature. According to author David DiSalvo, human brains aren't wired for long-term thinking. That means, thinking 30 years ahead is hard for us. It is not in our nature to think that way. Instead, our brains find it easy to think about the now. Even if that "now" includes rolling up to the 2015 Baconfest in a limo, where you put those VIP passes you saved up for to good use and devour pounds of crispy, salty bacon hot off the pan, at the table you reserved. Those instant gratification decisions are WAY easier than thinking how your new car payments could impact your ability to afford your home when you are 82 years old.

The key to better retirement planning is to understand and accept our human nature. And when it comes to something as important as retirement or preparing for the unexpected, not let our nature get the best of us.

This is a perfect time to be thinking about this very issue since many of us will be receiving tax refunds in the near future. Some of us might be getting pay increases, and some might even be fortunate enough to receive cash bonuses. In all of these cases, we have an important opportunity to sock some of that "extra money" away for the future. Resist your human nature a little. Give your future self a little boost. With that said, you should still eat bacon (even if it's turkey bacon). Life is too short to skimp there.

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