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.

Scott Berkowitz, 52
Albany, New York
"I want to open a music venue and make a CD."
The dream: Music has been part of Berkowitz's life "forever," says the guitarist and singer.

He got his start in a junior-high band, played gigs on his native Long Island, and earned an associates degree in music. Now he works at a company that sells child identification kits to law-enforcement agencies.

But he continues to write and play, hitting open-mic nights now and then. He earns about $75,000 a year, better and steadier money than before, and he has no wife or children to support. Within 10 years, he'd love to open a club where he can play with other musicians, and he'd like to cut a professional recording. "I don't have anything concrete of my work," he says.

The reality: His dreams have two different price tags. Berkowitz figures that the club would probably cost more than $100,000 to start. The recording project would be cheaper - $30,000 or so.

Meanwhile, Berkowitz, who earns $75,000 a year, is working on one other big financial goal: Save enough to retire with $53,000 in annual income by age 65, 13 years from now. He has socked away only about $100,000 so far.

The Plan: Keith Newcomb, a financial planner in Nashville, says Berkowitz's retirement and recording goals are both doable. The club dream? Not so much. Opening a small business with expensive start-up costs in an industry that has a high failure rate is risky, and Berkowitz just doesn't have the cash to lose.
  • Focus on financial security first. If he keeps contributing the max to his employer's IRA, his savings should grow to about $400,000 by the time he's 65. Combined with an expected $2,400 a month in Social Security payments, that should give him the retirement income he wants.
  • Start saving for the recording now. The $30,000 is a good estimate, but Berkowitz should get quotes from recording studios, musicians and designers to see if that number is realistic, then bump it up a bit for inflation. If he puts away $300 a month at 6 percent interest, he'll have $35,000 in eight years. Because he'll be older than 59 1/2 by then, he should use a Roth IRA as his savings vehicle: Both the earnings and the withdrawals will be tax-free.

Kris McKinney

Bobbi McAlonen

Susan Skogg

Scott Berkowitz

Vanessa George
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