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ASPIRES to retire well

By Jennie L. Phipps ·
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Posted: 6 am ET

How do you maximize your retirement planning ROI?

Getting the most return out of an investment in life can seem overwhelming, says Dr. Sanjay Jain, a physician who also holds a Master's in Business Administration. "I tell people, 'Don't be afraid of making your life clearer,'" Jain says.

He adds, "Lives are built from many small components which, when viewed as an assembled whole, can appear overwhelmingly complex. But when we break them down and consider the pieces as we make decisions in our lives, it's much easier to see how small adjustments can result in a better return on all of the investments we make -- not only in health, but in relationships, finances and all the other essential aspects of our lives.”

Jain's favorite acronym -- especially for people considering retirement -- is ASPIRES. He explains it this way:

  • Assets. This doesn't have to refer to money or property. It can mean talents. In either case, it's key to figure out a way to nurture them in retirement.
  • Safety. Ensure that both your financial and your physical valuables are secure.
  • Physical. Make a plan to keep your body active. Just because you can't run the 5K you used to doesn't mean you can't exercise. Tailor a plan that works for you, including resistance workouts so your bones stay strong. And don't forget to stretch so your body stays limber.
  • Intellectual. Retirement doesn’t mean shutting down your brain. Keep your mind stimulated.
  • Relationships. Find a community of people who share similar interests. Nurture these relationships so even if your partner dies, you aren't alone.
  • Economic.  Money isn't everything, but to live a healthy life, you need enough cash to pay the bills.
  • Spiritual. When you are young, you feel invincible. But as you age, you look at life differently, and you need something to believe in. Whatever your source of faith, rely on it to give you the strength and courage to move forward.

Jain has written a book about his philosophy, "Optimal Living 360," to be published in February 2014. It focuses on achieving balance in life -- and retirement. "Balance is one of the easiest tenets to understand," he says, "but arguably the most difficult to maintain."

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