A Season of "Crazy"

Crazy Weeks
Have you ever gone through crazy weeks? Our family just finished a session of ‘Crazy’ that involved spring planting, prom, science camp, a magazine interview and photo shoot, two trips to Iowa for our son and his wife, a CRP burn, and the grand finale was a wretched experience with Dan’s (former) boss’s temper, causing Dan to (finally!) resign his job of 20 years.  

It’s made us reflect with gratitude on all the safety measures we’ve worked so hard to put in place around our farm.  Instead of being worried about our finances at the sudden loss of income and pickup, we are actually a bit giddy with the possibilities now ahead of us.  We have built this farm slowly, with no debt.  We have an emergency fund in place, so that we can get Dan a cell phone and an old beater to drive.  We have lived within our means. We have worked hard to be people of good character in the community.

What’s Your ‘Crazy’?
Crazy can come in many forms – sickness, accidents, natural disasters, family crises.  If you haven’t gone through Crazy yet, I have no doubt it will come to you sometime. (sorry!) The possibilities are endless, really, so take a moment to reflect on your farm situation: 

  • Do you have an emergency fund in place?
  • Do you have debt that needs paying off?
  • Do you have disability and term life insurance?
  • Do you annually review your farm insurance policies to make sure they accurately reflect the value of your machinery and product in case disaster strikes?
  • Are you building up your retirement fund?
  • Are you spending time with your family so that your relationships, which are vital to the success of your farm, are strong?

Make Plans NOW to Minimize Crazy Damage!
It is now the beginning of the growing season, and your finances are probably stretched tight, or close to zero.  Make a commitment now that at the end of your harvest season, that you won’t splurge.  Instead, plan to wisely use your dollars to protect you and your family against future episodes of Crazy.

What’s Your Financial Plan?
In past years, I’ve looked at our bulging bank account after the strawberry season, and made the mistake of booking a family vacation, or visiting a furniture store.  Oh it was fun… but kind of dumb! Inevitably, the next spring I’d run short of dollars, and end up putting groceries on the credit card while waiting for the berries to ripen. Have you ever done something similar? 

Give Your Dollars a Name!
Now, before the strawberry season, we guess a financial range that we might reasonably be able to gross. Then, we make a list of our big ticket needs and wants, and put them in order of priority with our estimated amounts.  As the money (hopefully!) comes in, we mentally check off our list. 

This year, our list looks something like this:

  1. Enough to put the crop in the ground again next year.
  2. Pay for straw to cover the crop through the winter.
  3. Replenish the Emergency Fund. 
  4. Get Dan a good pickup. 
  5. Max out Roth IRA
  6. Invest in a new business venture that will net enough to replace Dan’s job!?!?
  7. Kids’ College Funds (endless…help!)
  8. Wedding fund for daughter. (That boyfriend has a huge family!)
  9. Vacation to Caribbean complete with lots of happy photos texted to the former boss:)

You can learn detailed steps of how to do all this at at Dave Ramsey’s website for Financial Peace.  Don’t let future episodes of Crazy destroy your farm…make your plan today!