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Farmers: Least Likely to Plan for the Future

It’s not news that the average age of the American farmer continues to rise. The average farmer is 57 (57.8 in Illinois) years old, according to the USDA. A growing share are past retirement age.

Working beyond retirement is a national trend. Farmers over the age of 65 are the fastest growing group of farmers in the country. And statistics tell us over half of aging farmers don’t have a will or an estate plan, according to the Agriculture Census. In 2012, 5% of the U.S. Workforce was able to retire, but 25% of all farm operators were over 65.

Challenges for Farmers

Farmers face similar financial challenges as small business owners. It can be difficult to visualize retirement with confidence. Many farmers work past age 65 because the work is such an ingrained part of their identity.

It is important for farmers to acknowledge feelings about loss of control, identity and mortality. Addressing these concerns and creating a retirement plan with those concerns in mind allows you to focus on the necessary financial planning.

Farmers should evaluate retirement goals, such as:

  • Will you enjoy not working? Can you retire but work at a slower pace?
  • Do you want to stay involved in the operations, transfer to a successor, sell or rent out as a landlord?
  • Do you want to live close to the farm, or retire elsewhere?
  • What sources of retirement income will you have available?
  • Will you be able to spend less than you will earn in retirement?

In other words, how much money will you need for retirement? Some financial advisors suggest having saved eight times your pre-retirement income as a safety net. If you are passing the farm to the next generation, having a plan laid out can prevent unnecessary taxes and gives other family members peace of mind.

A surprising number of farmers work late into their careers without a plan of how they’ll hang up their hat. Partner with Busey to create a customized retirement approach that fits your needs and goals. To learn how our team can help you, call us today at 1.800.67Busey.

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