Advice available about retirement
Retirement advice will be provided to farmers at this year’s Dairynz Farmers’ Forum at Mystery Creek Events Centre in Hamilton on May 23 and 24.
Leading a workshop on succession planning is lawyer and author of Keeping Farming in the Family, Ian Blackman.
‘‘Even if you are a sharemilker who doesn’t yet own land, it’s essential to plan for retirement and succession now and to structure your business correctly from the start of your career,’’ said Mr Blackman.
He has developed what he believes is the perfect solution for the conundrum that is faced by farming families considering succession planning.
‘‘The solution to succession planning is setting up the right legal structure: a trading company that owns all the farming assets, with the shares in that company being owned by a family trust.
‘‘This is very different to the model most commonly seen in the industry, which is having the family trust own all farming assets. However, through my extensive work in the rural sector, I’ve seen proof that the correct legal structure is the best solution by far.
‘‘That’s because it allows the succeeding child, or children, to purchase the farm, for value, over a 20-30 year term, which is often seen as the fairest option by the nonfarming children,’’ he explained.
The succession planning process Mr Blackman will detail at the Farmers’ Forum workshop will include questions that help farmers figure out their goals for financial and emotional security.
In addition to getting succession planning advice, best-selling author and financial advisor, Martin Hawes, will lead a workshop for farmers on smart investment strategies for each stage in a dairying career.
‘‘The farm is a means to an end and the ‘end’ is eventual financial freedom. Farming should help you create wealth so you can live the life you want to live.
Therefore, you need to cast your eye worldwide for investment opportunities.
The best investment isn’t always reinvesting in your own farm or buying the farm next door.
‘‘Many dairy farmers spend their lives going through the motions of farming and doing a great job. But, they don’t have a clear vision of their ultimate financial and lifestyle goals. Once they develop these goals, the next step is investing wisely to achieve them,’’ he said.
Mr Hawes said a common investment strategy for many New Zealand dairy farmers was to buy up more farms.
He said this was rarely the best investment strategy past a certain career stage, which was usually around the age of 45 to 50.
‘‘In middle age, it’s most important to concentrate on lowering farm debt and diversifying investments off-farm. Buying more and more New Zealand farms – after a certain career stage – is like going to the casino and continually putting all your money on the red seven.
‘‘It’s a very risky strategy,’’ he explained.