Recent studies indicate that the value of Australian farmland has seen strong growth throughout the past decade, with a marked momentum increase in recent years.

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) report reveals that the average price per hectare of broadacre farmland has increased at an annual rate of 10.09% over the past decade, up to 2023.

As the value of agricultural land climbs, the implications for wealth management and financial planning become increasingly complex. Farmers are not just overseeing day-to-day operations; they are managing substantial assets that, if handled correctly, can ensure financial security for generations.

This is where personalised wealth management plays a crucial role. Partnering with advisors who understand the nuances of the agricultural sector enables farmers to receive strategic guidance tailored to their unique objectives, helping them plan for a prosperous financial future for themselves and their families.

For many of our Ulton Wealth clients, achieving this prosperous future state is a collaborative effort. It involves a team approach, where our wealth management team works in close coordination with our accounting teams. This collaboration is pivotal in understanding our clients' unique objectives, ensuring exceptional service delivery, and providing advice that considers all the moving parts within their financial lives.

Our extensive work with farming families across generations has granted us unique insights into the agricultural sector. We've gained a deep understanding of farmers’ specific needs and what defines an exceptional wealth management partner in this field.

If you're exploring a new wealth management partnership or reassessing your current one, recognising an advisor's true commitment to your success is crucial.

Here’s four key indicators to look for:

1.   They meet you where you are

It’s incredibly important that your advisor can meet you exactly where you are— figuratively and literally. As your partner, your advisor should understand that owning and operating a farm is a fundamentally different way of life to any other industry. Farming operates on its own rhythm, and just like your family, staff, and suppliers have adapted to that rhythm, so too should your advisor.

In action, this looks like your advisor travelling out to your property to meet with you in-person, being willing to take meetings with you outside traditional business hours, and understanding when the most suitable times are to get in touch with you.

From our experience at Ulton Wealth, we've learned the importance of not just keeping in touch, but being there when you need us—whether that's during your dinner break or after the day's work is done.

To us, visiting our clients in-person on their land is about more than just adapting to their preferences—these visits allow us to truly get to know our clients and their families on a deeper level, which is the foundation of all truly personalised, resonant financial advice.

2.   They are invested in understanding your life, not just your wealth

True partnership in wealth management means seeing beyond the spreadsheets to the heart of what makes your farming operation unique. An advisor who understands your life doesn't just account for your financial assets but also values your legacy, your family, and the long-term vision you hold for your farm.

This understanding is critical because farming is much more than a business; it's a way of life that has been, in many cases, nurtured over generations. A dedicated advisor grasps the significance of legacy in the agricultural sector, recognising that decisions are made not just for the present moment but for decades—and potentially generations—to come.

In practice, this means your advisor prioritises discovering what’s important to you and your family. They dedicate time to listen before making any recommendations, ensuring that the strategies proposed align with your values and the legacy you wish to build or uphold. This approach is about supporting your ambitions and helping build a future that respects the past.

3.   They are tuned into agricultural cycles and market movements

It’s crucial for your advisor to recognise that farming income does not remain constant throughout the year (or even the decade), but fluctuates with the seasons, market conditions, and weather patterns. This insight is essential for providing timely guidance on wealth creation, financial management, and investment strategies that sync with the cadence of your farming activities.

To provide successful outcomes, advisors must understand the particulars of your farming business. For instance, if you’re a cattle grazier, a dedicated advisor will stay informed about current cattle prices. Similarly, for citrus farmers, your advisor will understand that 'picking season' marks your peak busy period. They will adjust their approach accordingly to ensure you receive the support you need, without adding to your workload.

4.   They have demonstrated expertise in farm asset management

Given that farms often encapsulate both significant financial assets and deep family heritage, it’s crucial for advisors to meticulously examine asset ownership and structures. This attention to detail ensures a comprehensive understanding of each asset’s implications for future generations.

Consider the case of a farming family who approached us for estate planning: In reviewing their assets, we discovered the family farm was held in a trust, with control vested in the mother. This detail was pivotal because the farm had been “passed down” to the family’s two sons, with one son “buying out” the other’s share.

However, the family trust and Mum’s will hadn't been updated to reflect this change. As a result, under the Mum’s will, control of the trust would be equally divided between both sons, potentially nullifying the buyout.

By looking in the right places and asking the right questions, we were able to uncover this oversight. This enabled us to rectify the situation, ensuring the trust's current and future governance accurately represented the family's current structure and wishes.

We're here to help

As farmland values rise, the need for nuanced financial guidance becomes ever more critical. At Ulton Wealth, our journey with farming families has taught us that the essence of great financial advice is rooted in understanding that decisions impact not just the current crop or livestock but also the generations to come. This understanding has shaped our approach, ensuring that we're not just advisors but partners who are as committed to your farm and family’s future as you are.

“For many of our clients, it is a team approach. The Ulton Wealth team works closely with our accounting teams to help meet the objectives of our clients and to ensure excellence and consistency of service delivery.” ∼ Kylie Wright.

To learn more about how we can help you navigate the future with confidence, please get in touch with our wealth management team for a confidential discussion.

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