Mention the word 'retirement' to almost any Aussie farmer and chances are you'll get that same silent piercing stare like Clint Eastwood, that says "I'll never retire"

Of course the reality for farmers and each and every one of us irrespective of our profession is starkly different.

We all have to plan and face retirement. This is a good thing that we all should be looking forward to, not afraid of.

However for many farmers succession and planning for their retirement is quite confronting.  

The reasons why a large percentage of farmers find retirement and succession planning difficult are many and include things such as:

  1. Working out who is going to take over the farm and how this will be done.  This is often the biggest hurdle.
  2. Farmers in Australia devote a lot of their time to their farm. It's all they know so the idea of retiring is furthest from their mind so they keep putting off planning for retirement with the mindset they'll get to it one day.
  3. Many are not sure how to plan for retirement so they do nothing.

What can farmers do to plan for their retirement?

  • Never too late – First if you are feeling left behind because you have not done anything about planning for retirement it's never too late! The downside is, the longer you put it off the harder it gets and the less money and uncertainty you'll have.

  • Retiring from the farm isn't the end, it's the beginning – Some farmers see retirement as the end of their career however it isn't. Retirement planning is as much about looking after the person as it is about finances. We all need to plan the necessary steps so other family members or staff can operate the farm and protect the future success of it.

  • Farming Inheritance and Estate Issues – Retirement and succession planning also involve inheritance and estate issues. A farm is a big asset. Just like any other business when the CEO leaves, you need to plan who will take over when you retire.


Snapshot of retirement tips for farmers

Okay we all know there are some real basic tips to planning for a rich retirement nest egg whether you're a self-employed farmer or not.

These include but are not limited to things such as

  • Building a property portfolio
  • Banking at least 10% of what you earn
  • Spending less than you earn
  • Investing in your financial education
  • Minimising taxes
  • And the list goes on

These are all valid and require consideration and action! 

However, based on our 38 years of experience helping farmers plan for their retirement, the first things we suggest you do are… 

Step 1
Speak to your family and key decision makers today – Most farmers will be handing the farm onto their spouse, son or daughter or a combination of family members when they retire. So talk to your family or the people who will run your farm when you retire and start doing that today!

Step 2
Fail to plan, plan to fail – As a business operator you need to treat retirement and succession planning for your farm the same as you would when you have to plan to plant crops or raise your cattle. Map out a plan then speak with an Accounting service and other professionals who specialise in retirement and succession planning for farmers like we do here at Murray Nankivell Accounting.

Step 3
Start with the end in mind – What type of retirement and life do you really when you do retire from running your farm? How much money would you like? Maybe you want to sell your farm instead of passing it onto family members?

Like it or not, retirement comes to us all so you need to give some serious thought to what type of life and retirement you'd like when you retire from being self-employed on your farm.



At Murray Nankivell Accountants we're the first to admit that retirement and succession planning as a farmer takes a lot of consideration, discussion and planning well in advance.

However it is also not as hard or scary as many people may think. The main thing you need to do right now irrespective of your age is find out where you are now, where you want to be in a said amount of time and develop a plan to get you there.

Life hardly ever turns out the way we plan. So you need a plan to secure the future and success of your farm and family, so you can enjoy the fruits of your labour with money in your pocket and a rich retirement nest egg.

We're all about helping people succeed financially and in all areas of their life and business.

If you, a friend or loved one would like additional accounting advice on retirement planning for please contact us at Murray Nankivell on or by phoning us on 08 8765 7777.


About the Author - Tony Bedworth


Our goal, mission and purpose are to help people reach their full financial potential professionally and personally and whatever that means for them. We understand everyone is different which is why we're anything but your typical Accounting Practice. It's also why we've been growing our clients' businesses, minimising their tax and improving their bottom line for almost 80 years. You see, we're well known for having a personal approach where we get to know you, what you want and what you want your business to give you first.

We have three main offices - Naracoorte, Bordertown and Murray Bridge – as well as 11 visiting offices in Meningie, Coonalpyn, Tintinara, Lameroo, Keith, Millicent, Robe, Penola, Kingston, Nhill and Kaniva. We're also happy to visit all areas in between on appointment so if you would like to know about the value of structuring your business the right way please call us on 08 8765 7777.


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