I live and work in a rural community; that privilege comes with not only understanding the individual’s financial goals and aspirations, but also understanding the broader stressors of their everyday lives.


Today in most States we are suffering one of the worst droughts I have seen. The loss of income, the cost of keeping stock alive and the day and night tension of wondering if the business of farming is going to survive. It isn’t only the loss of stock but it is frequently the de-valuation of that important asset, the farm property.  Whether the farmland can be saved, is uppermost in the minds of many in our farming community.

No budget that I can provide can solve the current pain being felt by our local farmers; whether their business is feed lots or sheep and cattle raising, these are hard times. The farmers’ stock in trade, might not be the share market but it is just as volatile and from what I can see brings far more pain.

It is not uncommon to see a drover like the one below. Drovers will spend 6-12 months and sometimes more away from home during these length periods of drought and family as he moves on from day to day, searching for the fodder that will feed the herd and keep them healthy and safe for future sale or breeding.

This fantastic photo was taken by Jon Reid of ‘Sharperstill’ photography

With no relief in sight, I now find myself sitting with farmers who need different strategies, borrowing instead of investing, the need for peace of mind, just the same but harder to find. Suddenly goals have changed, new plans need to be considered, the client’s evident stress making it difficult to focus on the changes that need to be made.

Image: SANE Australia

I am at the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) Conference, it is heart-warming to see that one of the charity partners is Rural Aid and their ‘Buy-a- Bale’ project. Year in and year out, financial advisers attending this conference generously support a variety of charities; raising in excess of $308,000.

Past tolerances to investment risk have disappeared, there is little tolerance for anything but basic financial survival and I wonder what, in my training, has made me a fit person for this new journey.

In our farming community relationships are fractured and frequently severed, as the harshness of the drought continues. I can only be a sympathetic ear and provide support with the heavy load of paperwork needed as farmers seek financial relief, I feel helpless much of the time.

My search for solutions and support for these clients (which isn’t always financial) continues.


Eleanor Dartnall (AR 285743), & Focus Wealth Advisers Pty Ltd (AR 299568) are Authorised Representatives of Magnitude Group Pty Ltd • ABN 54 086 266 202 • AFSL 221557 • 

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