Yes, You Can Have a Life After Farming

posted by Chris Valentine

Your farm is your life — and it has been for years. But what will you do once it’s time to hand off the farm to someone else?

If you’re like most people, you find it hard to imagine life after farming. But there is one! You can enjoy your golden years without worrying about your livelihood. Here’s how:

Choose your successor carefully

One hundred years ago, most farmers would pass on their agri-business to their oldest son. Things are a little different these days. Your youngest daughter may be the one to take over, or your family may not want the farm.

The latter may come as a shock, especially if you’ve never checked in with your children to see if this is something they want. That’s why it’s so important to discuss your legacy plan well in advance, so everyone can speak their minds.

Without an obvious family member in mind, your retirement becomes more challenging — but not impossible. If the next generation doesn’t want a part of your farm, consider outsourcing your successor.

There are agri-business recruiting services that can help you find more than just farm hands — they can link you to vetted successors.

Check in with a professional

Transitioning your farm is a major life event. There’s no benefit to winging this big decision. You want to have a secure exit strategy set up, so you get to leave the farm on your own terms.

You may not know how you want to leave the agri-business world. Do you want to hand over the farm completely, or do you want to retain some legal (and financial) links? You may not even know how to navigate either option.

If you aren’t sure how to start planning your succession, check in with an expert who specializes in agri-businesses. They’ll be able to walk you through your farm succession plans, as well as any financial services you need for the remainder of your career.

A local credit union is a great source of knowledgeable experts. They provide a small-town approach to big banking, mixing everyday banking services with specialized agri-business products.

With a credit union’s agri-business professional, you can develop a unique legacy plan for tomorrow, while pointing you towards better options for managing your money today.

Save, save, save — and save some more

Retirement costs money no matter what your job is — whether it’s a high-flying corporate exec downtown or a cattle farmer in the middle of the Prairies.

Unfortunately, many of us underestimate just how much money it costs. It’s easy to think about the basic bills you’ll pay as a retiree. But what about all the fun things you get to enjoy in retirement — like winter vacations and household renovations?

It’s especially hard for farmers to set aside adequate savings because your living expenses are often mixed up with business expenses. If you can’t visualize your personal budget separate from your agri-business budget, your succession planning becomes even harder.

The trick is to sit down with your finances and really understand your cash flow — outlining what you have and what you need to get by.

No matter what you see in your chequebook, you’ll want to commit to saving. As a rule, saving more is always better.

There’s a lot of work involved in transitioning farm, but you can make the handoff easier by following these tips. A well-developed legacy plan will make it easier to retire and enjoy your golden years.

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