After owning a farm for almost six years, the most surprising thing to Taylor has been how unprepared she and her husband were to manage not only a farm’s finances, but their personal expenses as well.
Planting the seeds
Taylor and Jake met while they were both interning on a farm just north of San Francisco. They spent their days teaching kids about food, and loved that they were having an impact on who they were teaching. But as the summer went on, they both gravitated closer to the farming aspect of their internship. And after finishing their program, they both decided they wanted to try farming for real; together.
Watching a farm grow
They quickly realized they wouldn’t be able to afford land near the Bay Area, but Jake’s family had a few acres deep in Vermont. So they packed up their Subaru and headed east.
Being self employed and starting a farm was a rollercoaster for them, especially financially. While chasing their dreams, they realized neither of them had ever gotten a “here’s how to make a budget” tutorial; for their personal lives, and especially not for owning a farm.
A few years in Taylor realized that while they were both busy running the farm, neither of them was staying on top of the budget. Their personal finances were mixed up in their professional ones, and every month, Taylor was having to take more out of the farm. They didn’t know what to pay themselves, how to create a personal budget outside of their business’, and they sure as hell weren’t prepared to deal with the highs and lows in income that result from owning a vegetable farm.
To sum it up, they didn’t have any insight into what they were actually spending, but Taylor knew they were consistently spending more than they should.
The start of Simple
About three years ago, and three years into owning the farm, Taylor saw an ad for Simple. She was apprehensive about joining a digital bank, but heard good things from someone she knew who’d just been able to pay off all their student debt after using the app.
So she looked into it, brought it up with Jake, and they’ve been using it for their personal finances ever since.
They started depositing their paychecks from the farm directly into their Shared Account, and Taylor said managing their budget suddenly became easy and transparent. They don’t use the account for any farm expenses, which makes keeping their income and the farm’s expenses separate, so much easier. They aren’t dipping into the farm’s budget for personal needs and vice-versa.
With their personal finances more under control after joining Simple, Taylor started to do more research on running a profitable farm. She put a new system in place where they pay their employees first, then they pay themselves, and eventually end up building their budget backwards.
Using Simple to get their personal finances in order first, before the farm’s, was super helpful. Taylor had been looking for a tool to automate all of this for her, and that tool ended up being Simple. Banking and budgeting in the same app was exactly what she needed.
Thriving with transparency
With all of their money being pooled into the Shared Account, Taylor said Simple has “taken the emotion out of financial conversations.”
“There’s been a weight lifted off when it comes to managing our money together,” she said. “Everything is right there and we can both see every detail and trend in our spending patterns.”
Because they’ve gotten more on top of their personal and business finances, they’re seeing a steady income, and were able to build a house on their property last June. They’ve set up all their Expenses for personal bills, and they’re saving for Goals like trips back to San Francisco.
But above all, Taylor said the best thing about using Simple has been the Protected Goals Account. She’s been doing research on how to save, and weighing the pros and cons of reinvesting money into their farm, or saving for retirement. She says having that 2.02% APY feels like a big perk, and has been empowering while they’ve been deciding what to do with the funds.
Although they sometimes miss being in a big city and going to concerts and restaurants like their friends, Taylor and Jake are fulfilled and love spending their days on their farm. The sense of community that’s rallied around them has been inspiring and they’re using platforms like Instagram to tap into the knowledge of other farmers across the world.
And just like their vegetables, their money is growing and we couldn’t be happier to have been involved in their journey. Congrats you two!
*The rate is effective as of June 6, 2019, is variable, and subject to change after the account is opened. Accounts subject to approval. Balances between $0.01 - 1,999.99 in your Protected Goals Account will earn 2.02% Annual Percentage Yield. Balances $2,000 and above in your Protected Goals Account will earn 2.02% APY. *
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