27 Apr 2023
Farmers have passed down their knowledge, skills, and resources to their children for generations, ensuring the continuity of their livelihoods, and the sustainability of Western Australia’s vital agricultural industry.
It can be difficult to envision a future beyond your farm. However, it is vital to plan properly for the eventual transfer of ownership or management of the farm to the next generation.
David Smyth, Investment Advisor for Euroz Hartleys, explained the intergenerational transfer of wealth, including transfering assets, land, equipment, and livestock, can be streamlined through careful estate planning and thoughtfully prepared legal documents.
“Partnering with an experienced, qualified advisor who understands your financial situation and goals, as well as the nuances of your industry, can help you navigate the long and complex journey, manage risks, and ensure a smooth transition of assets and operations,” said David.
Long-term client of the firm, Di Cowan, agreed a close, professional partnership was vital to her confidence in her own retirement planning process.
“We’ve been with Euroz Hartleys for around 19 years now, we started working with them as my parents had for decades before that,” said Di.
“Passing on to your child something you’ve developed for more than 40 years is an emotional process, of highs and lows. It’s exciting to see where the next generation will take it, and comforting to have someone like David look after our family, giving us confidence our decades of work will be looked after,” she said.
Family wealth and harmony
An important part of maintaining the continuity of farming practices and traditions, planning and navigating intergenerational wealth transfer properly is vital to the ongoing success of family farms, and ensuring your lifetime of hard work and investments are protected.
Beyond ensuring parents are rewarded for their lifetime of hard work and secure in their post-farm retirement lives, David noted it’s often also important to help kids with assets, ensuring the continuity of the family farm, and to be fair and equitable to other children who haven’t stayed on the farm.
“As the complexity of the ag industry, and of taxation, superannuation and other laws increases, the transfer of wealth can be an increasingly complicated process. It’s vital to get professional advice early in your planning. Partnering with a qualified advisor helps manage and diversify risk, reconcile your family’s goals and realise the potential of your investments now and for generations to come,” said David.
With she and her husband Bill still working on the farm while planning its succession, Di said she appreciates having external expertise guiding her family.
“We’re busy working in our business, we don’t have the time or knowledge to navigate the legalities, let alone how to maximise our money. We know we are in terrific hands with their team and trust their expertise and advice,” said Di.
“Our kids have gone to them too for advice on shares, home loans and superannuation. We all appreciate the Euroz Hartleys team act in our best interests, are easy to understand and give great advice on anything we might need,” she said.
Farmers face unique challenges in managing wealth due to the needs and risks associated with farming, such as volatility of grain and stock prices, cost of inputs, impacts of weather and general market fluctuations. To mitigate this, David said having the right financial strategies in place – which consider your current financial situation, long-term goals, and a roadmap to achieving these – is vital to safeguard your wealth.
“As a high-risk, high-reward business influenced by external factors, it's important to diversify investments outside the farm to ensure a balanced portfolio, and consider the future through retirement and estate planning,” said David.
“Wealth management is a complex process in the agricultural sector, but the right strategies and advice can assist in ensuring a bright future for you and your family. An experienced, qualified advisor offering professional advice tailored to your goals and sector can help you navigate the complex world of finance and help you make informed decisions,” he said.
Part of your community
With a long history of helping farming families and agricultural business owners navigate financial wellbeing over the long term, Euroz Hartleys has strengthened ties with the iconic Wheatbelt event Dowerin Machinery Field Days, becoming principal partner of the event for the next three years.
“A proudly Western Australian firm, we’ve worked with the farming fraternity for many decades, including partnering with families over multiple generations to ensure long term wealth building and transfer,” said David.
“From Geraldton, to Esperance and Albany, my own path with Euroz Hartleys started by travelling to the regions to talk to people about topics ranging from investments, to farm diversification, superannuation and intergenerational transfers of wealth,” he said.
“It’s this same spirit which we bring to our partnership with the Field Days, and one we share with regional farming communities. Communities are built on trust and relationships, working hard, and helping others wherever we can.”
The close country connection is appreciated by Di, who noted regional heritage as common to all who have advised her from David Smyth’s team within Euroz Hartleys.
“Everyone we’ve dealt has been from a country background and familiar with farming. We don’t have to explain the ups and downs of our industry. Their advice is tailored to us and our situation. They know ag can be hit and miss, and that we don’t have regular wages in the same way others do. This has been invaluable to us,” said Di.
Many of the Euroz Hartleys team look forward to travelling to the Field Days to connect with clients, colleagues and the firm’s network of service providers. The team will be on-site both days to share the firm’s approach to helping Western Australians simplify and enhance their financial position, investing to maintain and sustain lifestyle needs, and efficiently transfer wealth to the next generation.