Latest articles


No farm profits mean a change of plan is needed

This family’s generational ownership shift plan doesn’t work without farm profits

A family we’ll call the Browns has farmed in southern Manitoba for four decades. Over the first 30 years, they grew their farm to 2,000 acres of pasture and grain. Today, Jack Brown is 67 and Molly, his wife, is 66. Their son, Max, and his wife Chloe have three children under 10. Farm income […] Read more


Farm Financial Planner: What to do with farm equity?

With no children and no debt, farming couple needs a wealth transition plan

A couple we’ll call Mark and Susan, both 59, have been farming in south-central Manitoba for three decades. They have had off-farm work too, both in a machine shop Mark owns where Susan does administrative work as an employee. The farm, 1,440 acres valued at $3.45 million, and the off-farm business, organized as a corporation, […] Read more




Watching risk and interest rates

Guarding Wealth: There’s a gulf opening between the borrowing costs and what you can get on a GIC

Interest rates are rising in the U.S. and Canada. That brings opportunity to those putting money into savings accounts and guaranteed income certificates, but also pressure on those who borrow. Global politics, trade negotiations and the sheer risk of investing are separating returns on investments from the cost of borrowing. Trend setting government bond interest […] Read more



Farm Financial Planner: Life insurance backs succession plan

A widow uses insurance products to assist her son and plan a legacy for her daughter

A couple we’ll call Martha, 60, and Max, 61, farmed in south central Manitoba for four decades. They grew an original 640 acres into 2,400 acres they own personally and through their corporation, and then added another 4,000 acres, which they rent. A son, Ernest, in his mid-30s, has been part of the operation for […] Read more


Investing risk and skepticism

Guarding Wealth: Investing with skepticism, not a crystal ball, makes for healthy off-farm portfolios

Investing, in the broadest sense, is about predicting what will be valuable in future. A century and a half ago, railroads knit nations together. Then came airplanes. Along the way, the greatest empires of central Europe — Germany and Austria — perished, China sank and rose again to produce dollar billionaires faster than any other […] Read more



Farm Financial Planner: Purchasing the family farm

Three sons want to buy the family farm. Purchase costs could ruin the plan

A couple we’ll call Jack and Terri, both 63, have farmed in south central Manitoba for the last four decades. Their farm started with 320 acres; now it’s 600 acres of grain with modest profits. The problem? How Jack and Terri can migrate to retirement while accommodating their three sons’ wishes to follow Mom and […] Read more


Finding value in the stock market

Guarding Wealth: With soaring pot and cryptocurrency stocks, it can be hard to find value in the market

It has seldom been tougher to make off-farm investments. Markets for stocks have been combed for good values and apparent bargains snapped up. The best index of just how picked over is the S&P 500 CAPE ratio, short for the Cyclically Adjusted Price Earnings ratio. It is at 32 as I write this column, up […] Read more



Using annuities for an income stream

Guarding Wealth: They’re rock solid investments and eliminate market risk, but annuities are not cheap

Annuities are life insurance running in reverse. Rather than paying a premium for benefit at the death of the insured, an annuity stars with a lump sum and pays out income until the death of the person getting the money, the “annuitant” in annuity-speak. Payments will sometimes last longer than a lifetime, if there are […] Read more


stock market display

Analysts say bond markets may be foretelling bad news

Guarding Wealth: Economic trouble ahead if government bond long yields fall below shorts

From the back rooms of bond research departments comes the disheartening news that the yield curve for U.S. Treasury bonds is flattening and could invert next year, causing a kink where rates rise for a while and then drop. Somewhere between one day and 30 years, which is the usual span of the curve, the […] Read more