Anyone one who says farming life is simple has obviously never worked on a farm. There’s a lot going on behind the scenes, making your agri-business as complicated as any downtown startup or global company.
It takes a lot of time and effort to manage it all, especially if you’re the only one in charge. So give yourself a break. Check out these tips below. They’ll help you manage your farm with more confidence.
1. Leverage your taxes
Tax season is a stressful time of year for most people, and farmers are no different. Filing taxes for your farm can get complicated. Between different income sources, deductions, and credits, there are a lot of things to keep track of.
Getting help when you need it can ensure you’re filing correctly. More importantly, a certified tax advisor or accountant can maximize your returns. They’ll make sure you aren’t missing an opportunity to claim expenses and other deductions, so it’s an easy way to make cash fast.
2. Look into banking alternatives
Think back to the last time you had a meeting with your bank. Did it seem like the financial advisor assigned to your account truly cared about your business?
The answer’s probably a big no — especially if you get a new advisor every time you go in.
Impersonal service is just business as usual when you bank with a multi-national corporation. But it could be costing you money.
The Big Banks overcharge for simple business accounts and sell overpriced farm mortgages and other services critical to your agri-business.
Luckily, the Big Banks aren’t the only way to go about it. If you’re tired of being treated like a number, a credit union offers a refreshing alternative for your farm.
A local credit union takes a personalized, small-town approach to banking that puts its members first.
It offers cheaper rates and tailored counseling for your individual needs on all the services you would expect from a metropolitan bank — but made for farmers.
Take, for example, if you bank with Chinook Financial — your credit union will also have dedicated departments for agri-businesses. That means you’ll have access to services like individualized farm succession planning, equipment loans, and construction loans.
3. Don’t ignore your retirement
When the needs of your agri-business come first, it’s easy to put your personal needs second. In fact, most farmers end up putting their personal finances last. All too often, people ignore their retirement plans.
Your farm may be your life now, but it won’t always be the case. You need to make sure you’ll be secure when you’re ready to hand over your farm to your family or business partner.
As a general rule, most advisors suggest saving 20 percent of your net income into a retirement plan. But anything’s better than nothing. Even investing just 10 percent today can help you years down the line.
Better yet, speak with an agri-business specialist to identify your savings goal. They’ll help you figure out inflation, so you can develop a plan that allows you to retire in comfort.
Operating a farm takes guts and gusto, but you wouldn’t trade it for all the world. Make sure all your hard work is worth it. Follow these financial tips to maximize your profits and ease your peace of mind.