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Leave a Legacy

RSS By: Kevin Spafford, Legacy Project

Kevin Spafford is Farm Journal’s succession planning expert for the Farm Journal Legacy Project.  He hosts the nationally-televised ‘Leave a Legacy’ TV, facilitates an ongoing series of workshops for farm families across the U.S., and is the author of Legacy by Design: Succession Planning for Agribusiness Owners.

Return on Investment

Oct 15, 2013

Fotolia Rolls of HayFrom Legacy Moment (10.11.2013).
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Years of study, hundreds of columns, a multitude of presentations and numerous consultations all led me to ultimately learn that succession planning is the best way to maximize the return on your investment. As I write this, it seems rather obvious and a bit simplistic. 

But the word succession can bring to mind any number of misunderstandings or difficult and awkward thoughts. Most people associate the planning process with meetings, professional advisers, legal documents and discussions around tax ramifications—ugh!

That's not the right picture. Think about it. You've invested a lifetime of blood, sweat and tears. Most people want to get the most out of their work. They want to be paid well for their effort. They want to improve their financial position. And they want to feel good about their occupation and know they've helped others and made a difference.

We all want that; we all want a good 'return on investment.' For a family business owner, farmer and/or rancher, that return comes in three forms: income, equity and satisfaction. Income and equity are obvious. Driving revenue to some bottom line pays the bills and affords a particular lifestyle. Equity, or value appreciation, from a well-run operation is always a goal. A growing pool of financial assets provides security and opportunity.

Professional satisfaction, on the other hand—the feeling you get from a job well done and a life well lived—is a whole different kind of return. The intrinsic, non-physical return we receive from accomplishment has value. For simplicity, I refer to it as satisfaction. You may call it fulfillment, gratification or happiness.

Succession is about maximizing the return on your investment. A comprehensive plan is designed to help you preserve, promote and pass those accumulated assets—money, property and contentment—to a well-prepared next generation. Which is exactly what most of us are working for.

News & Resources for You:

The satisfaction you derive from your farm is well-expressed by Aesop's classic parable.

The ultimate satisfaction from your work: The next generation yearning to follow in your boot-steps.

Reserve space today for you and your family at the upcoming Legacy Project Workshops in Lincoln, Neb.; Peoria, Ill.; and Indianapolis, Ind. (Be sure to check out our new 201 full-day seminars.)

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