Retirement Planning

Retirement planning for farmers and small business owners can look very different from retirement planning for someone who has worked as an employee of a company or organization.  Commonly, retiring farmers depend on a combination of income from the farm assets, savings, and Social Security.  This reliance on the business, either by continued family living draws and/or the sale of the business assets can affect the farm’s succession potential. This section provides resources to help farmers determine retirement timelines, retirement activities, living arrangements, living costs.

Asset Management

Estate and retirement planning should include a plan to balance the risk of the farming business and the risk of the farmer’s investment portfolio.  The farmer’s assets should be monitored as wealth increases and the farmer reaches retirement age when assets need to be liquidated to pay retirement expenses.

Retirement Readiness

Farmers should assess their readiness to retire by comparing their financial needs with their financial resources.  They should also consider their changing role in the farm business and match their desire for retirement activities with the needs of the business.

Planning the Late-career, Retirement-mode Years  This publication includes four sections:

Chapter 1: Pre-retirement planning, An overview

Chapter 2: Developing and testing a retirement lifestyle

Chapter 3: Managing financial security; developing estate plans

Chapter 4: Farm business continuation and transfer planning


Estate and retirement planning tools include sale of assets during life (including installment sales), gifts, wills, living trusts, testamentary trusts, durable powers of attorney and living wills.  These tools should be used as a part of a plan that ensures they are not in conflict with each other.

Long-term Installment Contracts – NCR-56 The installment land contract is both an instrument of transfer and a method of financing sales of land. This publication addresses the benefits and limitations of using installment land contracts from both the buyer’s and seller’s perspectives.  It outlines the key items that need to be considered in preparing such an agreement.