So. You want to start a farm.
Maybe you’ve been working on farms for a long time, maybe you grew up on a farm, moved away from your homeland (by choice or perhaps not), and now you’re ready to start your own operation! Perhaps you’ve gone through a training program for sustainable agriculture, completed an apprenticeship on a farm operation, and you know that this is the path for you.
But there’s a catch. Every property you’re looking at that’s for sale is jaw-droppingly expensive. $6,000 an acre? For marginal farmland? How could that be? And that doesn’t even include infrastructure!
And more than that, you might be looking at your bank account and wonder how you’ll ever get to place of being able to purchase a farm, even with the assistance of a bank loan. When you think about your monthly expenses, you feel trapped. Car loan, house payment, student debt…where do you start?
So here we are…Day 1 of a 60-day financial fitness challenge.
For those of you who are starting this challenge with me – which I invite all readers to do, even if you’re not trying to purchase farmland or access capital to start your farm/food business – congratulations! This is a big step in taking charge of your financial future. And I’m going to be right alongside you for the journey.
As you read in the intro post for this challenge, I’ve starting outlining almost 30 items – tasks, really – over the next 60 days that I will take to get my financial sh*t together. Part of this is because I, too, want to farm in a much bigger way than I am currently, and I know that I’m not going to get there unless I create a sustainable financial foundation for myself. I’m a big fan of passive income and thinking about how that can create a cushion against risk, so you’ll see a lot of that in posts to come. But whatever financial freedom looks like for you, I encourage you to chase that dream over the next 60 days as if your success was inevitable. Set stretch goals for yourself. Believe in yourself. I do.
Here’s what I focused on for Day 1:
Schedule an appointment with a financial coach.
This wasn’t on my list, so it’s a new one, but it had been on my mind for a couple of days. For those of you who may not be familiar with them, financial coaches are different from financial advisors.
Here’s a few things that financial coaches focus on:
- Assisting you to identify where you may be creating blocks in the flow of your money – often times some kind of emotional root
- Helping you identify ways to better manage your money – This could be through setting up systems like spreadsheets, helping you create automatic transfers to meet savings goals
- Teaching you money management skills – such as budgeting, managing your credit score, and developing strategies for saving towards long-term goals
Financial advisors, on the other hand, deal more with your investments and advising on how to set up your portfolio to decrease risk over time.
I met with a financial coach for six months at the beginning of 2021, and I must tell you, it was a game changer.
There’s nothing that can top having a personal accountability buddy for reaching your financial goals. At the time, I had been starting to listen to a podcast called Clever Girls Know, which I love because it’s a podcast about financial literacy geared towards women. I appreciate the founder, Bola Sokunbi, because her interview style on the podcast is very humble, grounded, and truly designed to benefit the listener. Clever Girl Finance is also a great free resource for information about financial literacy in general.
Anyways, one of the resources that helped me tremendously throughout the time I worked with my financial coach was a document in which I answered a series of questions related to my own financial goals – these came from a podcast I listened to about intention setting for 2022. I added a few of my own, too!
In the spirit of transparency, generosity, and operating from a place of love, I’m going to share the questions for you here now (with some minor edits to keep it current). Perhaps this can be your task for day one of your own 60-day challenge?
Journal Prompts for Your Own Financial Goals
- How will 2023 be different, specifically better, than 2022?
- Who will you become?
- What needs to change in 2023?
- What do you need to let go of?
- If you knew the universe was taking care of you, what risk would you take?
- How do you want to feel? How do you want to vibrate?
- If you had a magic wand, what would you create?
- Where do you want to be financially by the end of 2023?
- What kinds of events do you want to be invited to? What panel discussions? Who are you sitting next to? What checks are being written to you and for what services? What position do you need to be in financially in order to show up confidently in those spaces? What lists have you made your way on to?
- Who is around you?
- What are affirmations that will help remind you of your goals?
- What are fearless money mindset beliefs you are committed to cultivating this year?
- THE NITTY GRITTY – Getting real & pragmatic about what this looks like (Create a table for yourself with three columns, one labeled Goal, Why, and Strategy/Practices that will support this), and keep in mind the SMART goal-setting system, described below:
- S: Specific, sensible, and significant
- M: Measurable, meaningful & motivating
- A: Achievable and attainable
- R: Relevant, reasonable, realistic, and results-based
- T: Time-bound, time-based, time-limited, and time-sensitive
All that being said, I sent an email today to my financial coach. And I sent her a few times I’m available next month to meet. Day one complete!
P.S. – Want to find a financial coach to work with? Google! Or post to social media. That’s how I found mine! And don’t be afraid to interview coaches to see if they’re a right fit for you. It’s like shopping around for any other service. You have the right to choose who you want. It’s your money, after all. 🙂