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Online Investor Education / Investing for Farm Families


Investing for Farm Families online course.

Overview (streaming video)


Integration with Annie's Project (streaming presentation)


In the Introduction, specifically written for farm families, participants will examine the interconnected nature of farm and personal investment decisions. The 11 units that follow discuss basic investing topics: successful financial management; investment terms (e.g., diversification, dollar-cost averaging, and asset allocation); finding money to invest; specific types of investments (e.g., stocks, bonds, and mutual funds); investing with small dollar amounts; investing resources; and investment fraud. This information lays a foundation to help participants understand how and why they are investing. There are adaptations to the original Investing for Your Future home study course that provide insights into investment decisions faced by farm households and help participants to think about investment diversification strategies beyond "the farm."


Activity #1
Get organized! There are many documents involved in financial management and, for some people, this exercise will take some searching. Complete the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit. Be sure to include farm/ranch related business and credit accounts. Identify and organize all pertinent financial documents. This serves as a checklist, record, and organizational tool for important accounts, contacts, account numbers, and policies. The inclusion of the beneficiary designation exercise ensures that beneficiaries are reviewed for relevant accounts.




Activity #2
Complete an integrated Business Balance Sheet and Personal Net Worth Statement. Farm operations often prepare consolidated balance sheets, meaning both personal and business assets and liabilities are included in a single balance sheet. This exercise will separate your personal assets from your business assets and let you examine your asset allocation.




Activity #3
Complete the "Ideal" and "Current" Asset Allocation Review Worksheets. Review alternative asset classes in a portfolio approach framework. Compare desired asset allocation strategy with current asset allocation strategy to identify possible areas to expand investments to become more diversified.




Activity #4
Estimate monthly family expenditures and identify the appropriate emergency cash reserves to be retained in readily available savings accounts.



Activity #5
Identify the most appropriate source for providing these services. Possibly identify higher-interest earning accounts and institutions compared to existing providers.



Activity #6
Examine credit history, open lines of credit, available credit limits, and current balances related to personal financial accounts. Check for errors and inspect all current liabilities.



Activity #7
Search UCC Records to determine if personal or business property has been pledged or is encumbered. Use UCC records to discover the availability of assets for attachment or seizure and the financial relationship between a party and other entities.



Activity #8
Assess insurance needs. The emphasis here is to determine your needs and then practice consumerism to find the best provider and cost combination.



Activity #9
Assess risk tolerance for those instrumental in the financial responsibilities of the family and business.



Activity #10
Evaluate the alternative brokerage options to facilitate investments in bonds, stocks, exchange traded funds, and other investment assets "off the farm."



Activity #11
Estimate the income needs and potential sources of funds for a comfortable retirement.



Activity #12
Compare retirement program type details to ensure that participants are utilizing the most appropriate plans for their individual circumstances. Similarly, evaluating two popular retirement plans available for small businesses will enable the evaluation of additional alternatives to build retirement savings.



Activity #13
Assess the current value of the estate, titling of assets, and communicate farm asset management plans. This activity is designed to make consultations with a professional advisor more productive and effective by highlighting critical issues and considerations.



Activity #14
Evaluate the credentials, services, and compensation basis for potential financial advisors. This activity will help you make informed decisions about engaging a potential financial advisor based on the information they provide.



National Ag Risk Library