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Financial planning for female agricultural co-entrepreneurs

"A man is not a pension fund"

How can women protect themselves in the event of divorce, separation or death? Financial advisor Ute Regina Voß urges women (and men) to have notarised contracts and to keep an eye on their own finances.

"We don't talk about finances and we don't learn about them at school". This is exactly what the independent financial advisor and managing director of frau & vermögen wants to change and "make women stronger". This was her appeal to the participants of the impulse forum "Love and business - protection and asset building for female co-entrepreneurs" at the DLG Winter Conference 2024 in Leipzig.

Women love risk

Financial advisor Voß makes no bones about it: "Women perform two-thirds of all work worldwide, but have only ten percent of the wages and two percent of the assets," according to the United Nations. In 2022, the average pension for women in West Germany will be 842 euros, while men will receive an average of 1,200 euros to live on in old age. Voß is keen to raise women's awareness of finances and pensions. Women are often reluctant to deal with this dry subject, especially when emotions are involved," she continues. Unprepared, they are confronted with separation, illness, death or over-indebtedness at work. In the worst case, they are left with nothing - "women have less money than men because they like to take risks," says Voß.

Individualised marriage contract

Couples who marry automatically "end up" in the community of accumulated profits. If entrepreneurial couples want to regulate their interests individually, both for the business and for the person who married into the business, they should do so in a prenuptial agreement. A notarised partnership agreement is even more important for unmarried couples. This is because unmarried couples do not enjoy the same privileges as married couples: There is no pension equalisation or even a widow's pension, the expert knows from experience. In addition, the survivor of an inheritance has a tax-free allowance of 500,000 euros. In the case of non-marital partnerships, this is only €20,000.

Partners and wives who have lived with their partner without a contract often get a shock in the event of death when the business goes to the next legal heir - and not to them. And this is the case for wives if there are farm regulations in certain federal states, as Voß pointed out. If there are children, the wife does not inherit the farm alone, but shares it with the children. If there are no children, but the testator's parents are still alive, the parents have the right to inherit.

Warning about buying a tractor

"If you have a farm with your partner, there are a few things you need to sort out. For example, succession," the financial advisor explains. Voß urged the audience to draw up a will as a matter of urgency and to check that it is up to date every year. Voß warned against cancelling pension contracts when children are born or buying your partner a new tractor from your inheritance - without drawing up a loan agreement. "Everyone is responsible for themselves," she stresses. She advises partners to talk openly about money and to educate themselves: "It's about self-worth, monetary value and dignity." However, everyone should at least have health, personal liability and disability insurance.

Financial wellness

Feelings, facts and finances are inextricably linked. Marriage or cohabitation is a business, and finances and expenses put a strain on the relationship. People who have financial worries sleep poorly, can get sick and may be less productive, says Voß. Money, happiness and health are closely linked. Voß calls financial wellness the freedom from worry that comes with financial security. According to Voß, financial investments can be fun. She recommended that wealth accumulation and retirement planning should be based on several pillars. Such pillars could be the company or money from the pension fund. According to Voß, wealth begins in the mind. What is your self-worth and what are you entitled to - "feast or famine"?

Your own "treasure chest”

Knowing and questioning one's own worth was a particular concern of the financial advisor. She encouraged the audience to recognise their own self-worth and to develop a clear idea of their own financial goals. It is important to have your own "treasure chest", such as an education or your own income. The entrepreneur advises against relying solely on small amounts from the pension fund. It is better to invest in funds when you are young, for example, and not to become dependent on your partner. Everyone's basic assets always stand on three legs. By this Voß means not only money in the form of professional income and strategic investments, but also education, negotiating skills and health.

The emergency folder

According to Voß, an important step in making provisions is to create an emergency folder containing all relevant documents, such as wills and loan agreements, powers of attorney and passwords. From experience with her own clients, she knows what happens if no precautions are taken: "A major disaster". In conclusion, Voß urged the audience to get their finances in order within the next 72 hours and feel good about the future. "Who do you want to be? Cinderella or a starfish?" she asked the participants of the Impulse Forum.

Katharina Kovacs,