How farmers can visualize their ideal retirement

How farmers can visualize their ideal retirement

Retirement for farmers can be equal parts freeing, bittersweet and daunting. There are many emotions that go into farming when you are active that can weigh heavily on your mind when retirement age nears.

When retirement approaches, many farmers may not exactly know what they want out of the transition. After all, farming has most likely been a very consuming passion for most of their lives up to this point. It can be hard to know how to even begin thinking about retirement.

That’s why it’s important to know how to visualize an ideal retirement and then take steps to achieve that stage of life.

Farmers are trending older

Why do many farmers need to think more about retirement? Because farmers are trending older and older. In fact, about a third of those who operate farms and ranches in the United States are older than 65. That’s according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture as of 2012, which was the year that information was last updated.

So, at least take comfort in the fact that if you are a farmer or rancher who is looking to retire in the next few years – or would like to find a way to make that a reality sooner rather than later – then you are not alone.

Farmers must plan for retirement like any other business owner

Farmers and farm owners are business owners. That means that they have the same need for retirement planning as other business owners.

But how do you go about that process? According to Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, the process involves overcoming two challenges. Those challenges are determining how the farmer wants their retirement lifestyle to look and how confident they are in their ability to fund that lifestyle.

Visualizing the ideal retirement lifestyle

What will retirement look like? That’s the first question posed by Tim Eggers in an article written for ISU Extension and Outreach. Answer that question and you overcome the first challenge farmers face when addressing retirement.

Eggers advises farmers who are considering or exploring retiring from the farm business to draw a picture of what their ideal or “fantasy” retirement would look like. He says to include in the drawing what they might be doing if finances, geography, health and other issues don’t need to be considered.

Or, rather than drawing, the farmer can write a list of words that would describe the ideal retirement. Then, next to it, write another list of words that would not describe the ideal retirement situation.

The purpose of these exercises are to create the visualization of retirement, but Eggers writes that they will also show a better picture of both positive and negative expectations the farmer has for retirement.

Creating the visualization

Eggers continues that to visualize retirement, it’s time to take the written portion a step further. He advises that farmers should write a paragraph of what sort of activities a farmer might do during retirement, followed by a paragraph about who they “want to be or exist as” in retirement. Think volunteer opportunities, community involvement or church participation, for example, for that portion.

Next, there should be a paragraph about what types of possessions or other things the farmer may want to obtain during retirement. This can be something tangible, Eggers writes, or could be recognition in certain areas.

Finally, there should be a paragraph about what they want to contribute in retirement. This could be financial, political, etc.

What needs to happen for this visualization to become reality?

With an ideal visualization for retirement in hand, the farmer then needs to “outline the things you need to be doing now to make your future years’ dreams a reality,” according to Eggers.

This outline will likely be heavy on the financial end, but there may be other things that need to happen, too, such as developing a network, becoming more involved in the community or discovering more interests outside of farming. Think about the visualization of the ideal retirement. How can you prepare now for the drawing, lists or paragraphs to have a better chance at becoming reality?

Seek advice from others

As an additional tip to deciding what your retirement might look like, we suggest hearing advice from others.

Many of those emotions compete against each other and can take time to sort out when retirement looms. Those emotions are easier to balance with sound advice from trusted partners, whether that’s a spouse, a family member, a friend or even a consultant or advisor.

No matter who that advice comes from, it’s critical that farmers who are nearing their retirement seek out that advice and do their due diligence. This will help set up the farmer for a smoother transition toward retirement and help them ensure that their financial and sentimental goals are met throughout the process.

The first step of that process, though, is gathering information about what retirement might look like. That’s where the visualization tips above are most helpful.

Midwest Land Management can help with a smooth transition

Whether you are looking into selling your farm land, or even a portion of it, or are looking for a tenant to begin actively farming the land as you take on the role of landlord, our team at Midwest Land Management can help make the transition as smooth and successful as possible.

Our services have been designed to meet the goals and objectives of each individual landowner that we work with. From complete farm planning, which includes tenant selection, crop rotations, input purchasing, farm repairs/improvements and much more, to record keeping and negotiations, our experienced professionals have your back and work tirelessly to ensure your success.

Or, if you would rather work with a team that will sell your land and seek the best price possible, then we have you covered in that aspect, as well. We specialize in all types of land sales, including listings and auctions, to get the best price for our clients. You can even browse listings of our previously sold land to review our track record for yourself.

So, no matter your goals, contact us today to discuss what’s next for you.