These boomers have grand ideas for their Next Big Act. Money Magazine shows them how to pay for it.
'I want to write a book'
Vickie Spring
'I want to write a book'
In 25 years as a flight attendant, Vickie Spring has had plenty of high-flying adventures. Sure, she's served peanuts to the likes of soul singer James Brown, but she's also delivered a baby and helped thwart a kidnapping at 35,000 feet.

When she retires in 10 years, Spring hopes to spin her yarns into a book.

"I've always wanted to do something in addition to being a flight attendant," she says. "I took a few courses in English to see if anything was there. It was encouraging enough for me to say maybe I can tap into this and be more serious about it."

To sharpen her skills in the meantime, she hopes to write a monthly flight attendant Q&A for her local newspaper's travel section. She's not too worried about financing her retirement because she will receive at least $4,800 a month in pension and Social Security payments, and she currently spends only $4,200 a month.

THE REALITY

Janet Rosen, a New York City literary agent, points out that while Spring can write all she wants, book editors don't often take chances on an unpublished writer.

Advances for new authors tend to be small, and publishers pay the money in chunks until the work is completed.

Moreover, Spring will need an agent to sell her work, and that person will take 15 percent right off the top. Fortunately, writing doesn't cost money, just time, which should be plentiful in retirement.

The bigger issue: Spring has significant debt. She's carrying two sizable mortgages - one for her New Jersey home, another for a place in Florida - and a home-equity loan.

She also took on a lot of credit card debt to pay for relatives' medical bills and her daughter's education. According to Heather Hutchinson, a San Francisco financial planner, even though Spring should be able to rely on her pension and Social Security, her $300,000 in debts could bog her down if she carries them into retirement.


Sailing around the world

A plan for Shirley Jetter

Retiring on the water

A plan for the Collinses

Running an inn

A plan for the De La Torres

Starting a nonprofit

A plan for Boyce Pearson

Writing books

A plan for Vickie Spring
The 'R' moment looms closer than ever, but if you get serious now, you can still catch the magic bus. (more)
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Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.