Plan the Path

April 5, 2011 09:30 PM
Plan the Path

Retirement planning is more than thinking about money

Lori Esther has been thinking a lot about the future: her children’s future, her grandchildren’s future and the future for she and her husband, Chet. As the Esther family transitions their farm to the next generation, Lori and Chet are wrestling with what retirement looks like for them.
For hard-charging, successful agripreneurs such as the Esthers, the life-altering change of retirement is not always easy.

"It’s something we talk about all the time but fear actually doing," Lori says. "Not knowing what our days might look like is a bit scary."

Part of discerning the right retirement path is knowing if future income will meet expenses and
provide funding for various retire-ment activities and plans, notes Josh Sylvester, certified financial planner and part of the Farm Journal Legacy Project planning team working with the Esthers.

"Financial security depends on an honest assessment of what you’re likely to have and what you expect to need," Sylvester says.

One way to start down this path is to take time to detail in writing the ideal situation you want to see in the future—vocationally, financially and in terms of your family.

"All too often, people sacrifice opportunity and falter due to self-imposed constraints by thinking first and only of money," says Kevin Spafford, Farm Journal succession planning expert. "It’s important to carefully consider what kind of life you want to build."

Retirement Questions. Spafford suggests thinking about the following questions:

  1. How will I spend my time day-to-day in retirement?
  2. Will I continue to work in the business or create a new venture?
  3. As I prepare for retirement, how do I want to develop my business? Do I want to support expansion, prepare for sale or create a legacy for future generations?
  4. Have I considered alternatives to complete retirement?
  5. Are my children, grandchildren, loyal employees and extended family interested in continuing to grow the business?
  6. Do I see a financially satisfying path to retirement?

 Are you ready for retirement? Click here for a downloadable self-assessment worksheet.

Workshop Schedule

Mark your calendars for one of our upcoming Legacy Project Workshops, which will help you take the critical first steps in succession planning:

  • August 23 – Rockford, IL
  • August 25 – Bowling Green, OH
  • December 5 – Kansas City, MO
  • December 7 – Bloomington, IL
  • December 9 – Memphis, TN

For more details and to register, call (515) 254-0289 or visit

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