Take Control of Your Financial Destiny Why It’s Time to Rock the BoatThis summer I am looking forward to playing with my husband on the lake in our new “banana yellow” kayak. We found one that is kind to his back and allows us to have small children floating with us. It will be lots of fun, even when someone gets goofy and decides to swamp the floater!

Of course, there is also an entirely different meaning behind “rock the boat” – meaning to stick up for yourself with words or actions even when it may cause an uproar from those around you. Is it time for you to rock the boat? Let me share some stories from my coaching experiences.

Should I Rock the Boat?

Recently, a ranch woman confessed to me that she was too afraid to “rock the boat” and speak up for her sense of self-worth and value. She was talking about the transfer of shares from the founder to her husband, but not to her, after 20 years of marriage and proving her worth on the farm team. Her only regret is that she did not speak up and give voice to the disappointment of not being listed as a shareholder of her farm. That was more than 15 years ago! She is still not a shareholder. Because she didn’t want to “rock the boat,” her sweat equity has gone unrecognized.

Another example came to me in an email from an ecstatic farm woman who announced that the “final straw” for her aging mom was when the mom discovered that she could not access the family’s phone accounts since her name was not on the account. She decided to rock the boat through a series of happy and challenging events. She met with a lawyer to update wills and get her name on land titles. She created a life estate to live securely on the farm until she decides to move to town. And she had a family meeting with her farm heirs. WHEW! She rocked the boat and had a happy ending to her story. Is her husband happy? We’ll leave that to him. She is. Her farming daughter is also happy that the tough conversations led to implementing a farm transfer plan that gives her family more certainty over their future. The catalyst for this action was a few phone coaching sessions to explore how to “rock the boat” gently.

As a final example, I coached a very generous, gracious hard-working farm woman who was angry that she had no idea how wealthy she was when her husband was living. Now, as a widow in poor health, she really can’t enjoy her wealth, but she is thankful for adult children who have used her gifts wisely for their businesses. She has used a team of advisors: financial planner, coach, and lawyer to understand her net worth and to secure enough income stream for her aging years. She thought that a cruise on a very large boat with her family would be a great way to celebrate her good fortune. Reports are back: they had a blast!

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Is It Time for You to Rock the Boat?

Rocking the boat starts with research. Make a request. Ask to see the financial records of your family and business. Many women are the financial gatekeepers of the farm, which is great when they have that skill and passion. What about the visits to the accountant and the financial planner or brokers? Is your voice heard in that office? You can use the gracious, gentle approach to seeking out a clearer understanding of your financial position and security.

The boat doesn’t have to sink, even when rocked. Conflict is not bad; unresolved conflict is bad. Try to see courageous conversations about money as a way to get clarity and resolution to the secrets or mysteries of your financial story. Many wonderful farm folks are avoiding the issue of getting their documents, such as wills and power of attorney, in order because they don’t want a fight.  Fighting can be re-worked into collaborative conflict so that everyone has a voice in the final decision.

Rocking the Boat = Taking Control of Your Financial Destiny

The Globe and Mail reported in May that as many as 50% of folks don’t have wills. Yikes! Philip Porado did a piece on this tragedy and commented: “Say this phrase out loud, “The federal and provincial governments know exactly how I want my assets handed down and are fully aware of my preferred choices for philanthropy.” Unless that phrase is 100 percent true, buckle down and start determining your wishes today.”

Taking control of your financial destiny and talking openly about what money means to you is a great way to model financial independence to your children. Buy a copy of Moolala: Why Smart People Do Dumb Things with Their Money by Bruce Sellery.

I know a woman who became very ill with a stress-induced disease and died. I suspect that severe financial stress on the farm was part of her demise. When you decrease financial stress with good habits, honest conversations, and action, you make positive steps to being healthier. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Your health is your wealth.” So what are you waiting for?

Make the call today to your financial institution to see if you can converse with a financial planner at the branch or use a fee-for-service financial planner. Clear out your office papers and get the important documents organized in one place. Your executor will thank you. I just did this with my sister. I know what it means to execute an estate and, as her executor, I want my job to be as easy as possible. Ask your daughter to help you, and celebrate the end of clutter! Do a personal net worth statement. You can find an easy checklist online or talk to your financial advisor.

Be happy. We have flush toilets, running water, and warm homes. We are richer than we think, and most of the world would love to be in our boat.

A ship that is moving can be steered, so get moving. It’s time to rock the boat by taking control of your financial destiny.

Fixing Your Time Stress Mess

60 minutes

Workaholics will discover helpful strategies for managing their time stress. Gain understanding for the tensions of your age and stage on the farm. Learn why some problems are not solvable, but just need to be managed as polarities. Self-renewing people are joyful and productive producers.


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Annessa Good, FCC Transition Specialist, Alberta
“Elaine Froese truly is the Farm Whisperer. With her big heart and stern resolve, she guides families through uncharted waters and helps them arrive safely at their desired destination. She has been there, done that, and has helped hundreds of families come out on the other side. With your family and your farm legacy on the line, you owe it to yourself to start this conversation. You do not need to do it alone. Let Elaine Froese guide you through. Your legacy is being written day by day. How will you be remembered?”
Tracy Brunet, Host of The Impact Farming Show & CEO of Farm Marketer
“You speak like you’ve been sitting at our kitchen table! You know our family issues well. I am feeling more comfortable understanding what we now need to do. Elaine Froese is real.”
Audience Member,
“I attended the meeting you spoke at in Stratford Ontario recently. We held an emergency family/farm meeting today because of issues that I had enough of. We used a 'talking stick' like you recommended and wrote a chart of rules. The rest of the family thought the idea that we needed a meeting was worth rolling their eyes over, until we got started. The younger ones were quick to clue in that they now have an opportunity to be bluntly honest. The older ones took a bit longer to believe they could truly say what they think. In the end, the meeting needed two sessions because there was so much to talk about… and so many things people didn't realize were a big deal to the others. Your lessons and encouragement have given us the tools we need to get to a better place in our relationships and our business. Truly thankful.”
Kim Martin, Dairy Farmer, Ontario
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Tennille Wakefield, Farm Partner
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James Mitchell, Principal, Conversations Consulting
“Our family had a good farm meeting yesterday afternoon. Your Fairness video was a great topic of discussion. One of the action items after the meeting was to have my two non-farming siblings watch the video before the next big meeting they are involved with on the farm. It will be a great conversation starter as we catch them up on our current plan. As they are younger, we also hope it will help them to ask new questions that may not have been on their mind.”
G.G., Farm Family Legacy Coach, Alberta
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Laurianne Osmack, Financial Planner / Partner, Doell Osmak Wealth Management
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Audience Member,
“Eye-opening. Excited to open the door of communication with my spouse and farm family.”
Ashley Hoppe, Farm Partner
“The Strong Farms, Strong Families session gave farm families an opportunity to meet face to face with Elaine Froese... hear her own story, experiences and skill set. From this information packed session and related materials, families could identify areas of success in their journey and other places they need assistance. The greatest take away was that participants could see that Elaine Froese is someone they can trust with the things that they hold most precious.... their family and their farm.”
Nancy Atkinson, Nobleford Ag Society, Alberta
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Audience Member,
“A long time female client who had refined the art of procrastination was so moved by the end of your presentation that she accepted your permission to “drop the bananas.” She contacted me soon after for an appointment to do some planning which included the selling of the family “Century Farm.” A very, very emotional decision on her part that was not likely to have occurred without your presentation.”
Don Forbes, Forbes Wealthy Management
“I just have to say… that your work is amazing and I have never forgotten your teachings from our session in Williams Lake at TRU. It is super important work. I know so many people going through the trauma of succession. I hate to use that word, but I was an “out-law” and know it can get terrible. I continue to forward your emails on to others. Keep doing what you do! You are amazing. You kind of walk into the fire regularly… and with a smile. Proud to have met you.”
Megan, BC Rancher
“As my husband and I eagerly started the course we were optimistic and excited to be taking this next step in our Farm Transition. We were starting to question ourselves and whether or not we were just being selfish and greedy, and if this Farm Transition was still an option for us. We barely got through the first Module and were already having such a huge relief. As we moved through the modulus there were so many times that we just sat back with our hands in the air and thought YES. My husband and I would smile with relief because all of the concerns that we have been struggling with were relevant and came up in the modules. We really enjoyed the course and are excited to move on to the next stages to find our farm resolution.”
Shannon Gilchrist, “Get Farm Transition Unstuck” online course participant
“My hubby farms with 2 brothers and parents, and it’s become a really toxic place. No communication, no respect, etc. Twelve months ago, my husband’s brothers told him they don’t want to work with him anymore and offered him a pay out. His parents did nothing to stop it! He had no choice but to leave. Three months later, we moved off the farm and into town. He has been offered heaps of jobs and is now truck driving and carting hay and grain. We have tried communicating with his parents about what happened but they are not interested. So basically my hubby has lost his family. Very sad but we as husband and wife are overall in a good place and moving on to create our own life. Please continue on with all your wonderful work in helping families on the farm. I continue to tell any farmers I know about you, that they must ‘google’ you, and read your books.”
Donna, Farmer, Australia

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