AS we have passed through the opening month of 2022, we look forward to longer brighter days, with relaxing Covid restrictions, positive growth projections coming from our Central Bank, so let’s grasp on to this optimism and believe, as Dermot Kennedy’s song goes, that ‘better days are coming.’
This theme is also apt for our farming community, as despite the increased workload, it’s the time for new life on the farm, with calving season and indeed lambs appearing here and there.
Before looking forward, it would be remiss of me not to review 2021 and comment on it as a whole from a finance aspect.
Despite the challenges, 2021 will be recorded as a very positive year of returns for most sectors. Strong equity returns witnessed from March 2020 continued right through 2021 with global stock markets finishing the year up 32%. The year begun in an optimistic fashion with investors drawn to positive developments in relation to vaccines, the continued support of government policies globally, and the green shoots of renewed economic activity.
No different to the agri sector, we saw some sectors perform better than others such as energy albeit coming from record lows, pharmaceutical, technology, along with real estate and finance.
These positive returns were shared and experienced in varying portions dependent on the assets held by individuals in their financial planning portfolios.
We have seen significantly greater engagement from our farming community therein, as they too now see this aspect as a key pillar to the management of their enterprise both now and into the future.
That said, there are real inflationary fears as this is evidenced on the ground at present with significant price hikes on basic inputs required year on year. We are led to believe that this is transitory – but what is transitory?
In a sense it means ‘that its duration will be short enough so as not to permanently affect economic behaviours and inflation expectations.’
Central Banks are very conscious of this real threat and are cautiously planning forward a step-by-step approach to dealing with same, so as not to impact on global growth.
2021 has been a strong year for most sectors of the economy despite the significant challenges it brought with it, so it is imperative that we review our individual unique set of circumstances and move forward better informed to face the headwinds of 2022.
It’s inevitable that each year will bring its own challenges – but as a labour force, the agri sector is no different, we have become more better skilled and educated to assess these headwinds and there are various advisory services to engage with and chat it out.
Proper planning and making time for this, is key in any management role and the farming enterprise is no different.
Discussion and engagement with various parties will assist not only from a monetary point of view, but also a more visible roadmap to identify opportunities in a supported environment.
Farming, like many other industries, has become such an intensive business, that it easy to keep the head down without looking at the bigger picture.
Everyone seems to have less free time, but it is imperative that we make this time for our own well-being.
Striking a good balance ideally with planning will absolutely help the work and life synergy to better outcomes under so many headings.
In summary, ‘better days are coming’ under so many aspects, with obvious challenges, so let’s plan and embrace, to optimise the outcome.
• Seamus O’Mahony is a financial planner with FDC Group in West Cork.