GFM Network News


Precious metals play a role as they generally move in opposite direction to the stock market.

The place for precious metals in a portfolio

Even though it’s the worst-performing asset class, gold has a purpose

Over a 210-year period, the after-inflation value of a U.S. dollar was a nickel. A dollar invested in gold became $4.52, in T-bills $281, in bonds $1,778 and in stocks $704,000, making stocks the runaway leader. (Jeremy Siegel: Stocks for the Long Run) Despite this long-term track record, gold has a place in our portfolios […] Read more

Farm Financial Planner: Estate planning with an out-of-date will

Passing the farm to the next generation when Dad’s will doesn’t mention the kids

A woman named Ruth, 65, and her late husband Max, who recently passed away at 66, farmed 1,600 acres in Manitoba’s Interlake region for the last four decades. Ruth continues their mixed farming operation with 800 acres of grain and the remainder in pasture and hay for what was, before they sold them, a small […] Read more


Farm Financial Planner: Farm transfer could lead to “hobby farm” status

Passing on an unprofitable farm can raise tax challenges for the next generation

A couple we’ll call George and Mary have farmed in south-central Manitoba for the last 35 years on a third-generation family farm. Each is 60 years old. Their dilemma is generational transfer. Their issue is the fundamental low level of profitability that could, if not handled properly, cause the farm owner to lose their ability to […] Read more

Year and decade financial review: Part 2

Can Canada rise from the ashes and generate profitable returns on our investments?

My last column painted a picture of the dire state of the Canadian business and investment climate. Layering in consumer data makes the picture look downright depressing. Canadian consumers are more indebted than ever. Household debt is the highest amongst the G7, about 175 per cent of disposable income. The U.S. has gone in an […] Read more



Is your farm doing cash, accrual, or no budgeting?

Farm Management: Budget planning hasn’t kept pace with today’s farm value, size, or complexity

Our firm, Stark & Marsh, uses benchmarking as a tool to compare farm financial performance. The average southwest Saskatchewan incorporated farm we benchmark is 4,000 acres. Between inputs, machinery and land, costs can meet and exceed $300/acre. Costs of $300/acre multiplied by 4,000 acres equals an annual expense budget of $1.2 million dollars. This number […] Read more


Farm Financial Planner: Estate planning for the very long term

This tree farmer’s crop will take decades to mature, but tax planning is still key

David, a name we’re giving to a tree farmer in eastern Ontario, is 83. His wife passed away some years back. He converted a 47-acre former hay and horse farm to trees. Now there are 25,000 trees growing, a crop that, given natural mortality, he is unlikely to see mature. The trees are varied, including […] Read more

How to ask your lender for money when you need it

Having a business plan that tells your farm’s story increases your chance of success with lenders

In the first article in this series, I introduced several options available to farmers experiencing financial difficulties. I advised farmers to address financial issues sooner rather than later and not to lay blame on anyone or anything (like the weather). In the second article, I presented an example of using debt restructuring and asset sales […] Read more


Leverage and the fascinating world of stock options

While the world of stock investing is misunderstood, options are truly the great unknown

While the world of stock investing is misunderstood, this pales in comparison to misunderstanding around leverage or options. Leverage is the use of borrowed money to accelerate the purchase of a larger asset than you could purchase with cash. It is often possible to purchase real estate with as little as 10 per cent of […] Read more

Family sees four options to get farm finances on track

If you’re in financial trouble, address the problem without abandoning your goals

Farmers facing financial issues should address these issues as soon as they occur. In this case, Joe and Sally saw a potential problem and took steps to find a way forward. Although this example is a small farm, the issues and options are equally applicable to larger operations. A farm couple that we will call […] Read more