From dream to reality: 5 plans

Five baby boomers, five cherished lifetime goals. And five smart game plans from Money Magazine for making them come true.

Bobbi McAlonen, 49
Camas, Washington
"I want to open a personal-training studio."
The dream: A typical week for this former aerobics teacher involves three five-mile runs, two weight-lifting sessions and a Pilates or yoga class. Now that her two children are in college, she wants to turn that passion into a personal-training studio for the over-40 crowd.

"My husband has been successful with several businesses," explains McAlonen. "Now it's my turn."

Her idea: Open a personal training studio that focuses on the over-40 crowd. McAlonen is about to earn certification as a personal trainer from the National Academy of Sports Medicine; she then plans to land a job as a trainer part-time at a local fitness club and also build up a stable of clients on her own. She hopes to open the studio, Body by Bobbi, in two years.

The reality: McAlonen's husband Jay, an entrepreneur who runs an investment company, plans to put $25,000 into the studio. But they both agree that this is no vanity business; it must become self-sustaining.

Luckily, the couple are in good financial shape: They have no debt, and they downsized to a condo after their children left home. They already have a comfortable retirement nest egg set aside.

The Plan: McAlonen is wise to build a customer base before committing to a retail space, says David Morganstern, a financial planner in Portland, Ore. His tips:
  • Get credentials. Personal-trainer certification is essential, as is staying up to date with continuing education courses.
  • Research the competition. She should join a fitness trade association and quiz successful studio owners in nearby cities like Seattle, where she isn't a competitive threat.
  • Invest more money. Total start-up costs for a personal-training studio run from $20,000 to $40,000, says John Spencer Ellis, CEO of the National Exercise & Sports Trainer Association. McAlonen should put together a simple business plan (sba.gov offers a primer) to project her revenue and costs.
  • Economize where possible. McAlonen should rent equipment rather than buy it, sign up her trainers as contract workers rather than staffers and lease space in a low-cost location such as a light industrial park instead of a retail storefront.

Kris McKinney

Bobbi McAlonen

Susan Skogg

Scott Berkowitz

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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.