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Dreaded words: I told you so

Here’s a list of some “I told you’s,” but as you read just them remember that these words usually come after that fact.

Three men stand in a field, eating and drinking. A truck and a tractor are in the background.
No one likes to hear "I told you so" in any situation, and that includes farm estate planning, Myron Friesen says.
Liz Harder / Grand Vale Creative LLC
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“I told you.” Those are the words that none of us want to hear, and they often they can become fight’n words.

It is not enjoyable when someone reminds you after the fact just to rub it in when something did not go as planned. Here’s a list of some “I told you’s,” but as you read just them remember that these words usually come after that fact.

  • I told you we should have left earlier.
  • I told you we should have followed the GPS.
  • I told you the kids would fight over this.
  • I told you we should have a written rental agreement.
  • I told you 20 years ago we wouldn’t have enough money to buy that land from your siblings.
  • I told you we should have a buyout agreement in place.
  • I told you we should not tell all the kids about our plan.
  • I told you we should tell all the kids about our plan.
  • I told you that child should not be our power-of-attorney.
  • I told you those two kids don’t get along.
  • I told you our attorney does not understand farming.
  • I told you that I don’t want this to be complicated.
  • I told you land prices were going up.
  • I told you inflation could get crazy.
  • I told you this new land would not cash flow.
  • I told you to talk to your parents about their planning.
  • I told you that you were just acting like your parents.
  • I told you nothing should go to the in-laws.
  • I told you when they were dating that girl was trouble.
  • I told you when they were dating that boy was lazy.
  • I told you we should start gifting now.
  • I told you not to trust that guy’s advice.
  • I told you we should’ve bought land a couple years ago.
  • I told you we should’ve sold more corn.
  • I told you we should’ve waited to sell corn.
  • I told you we should have built a machine shed rather than re-modeling the kitchen.
  • I told you we should have added on to the house rather than buying those cattle that lost money.
  • I told you we should buy a tractor rather than pay taxes.

The “I told you’s” don’t end! We have all said those words, thought those words, or heard those words. Sometimes those words are said in good humor but other times they are arrows straight at the heart.

For example, those words may have a limited amount of pain when your spouse comments that a new batch of homemade cookies does not taste quite right. At first you deny the problem but then you try one and realize you forgot an ingredient. Your spouse says, “I told you.” Hopefully you can share a laugh and move on.

On the other hand, those words can be very painful. For example, you don’t put the right ingredients in your farm estate plan and then as the farm is being auctioned off, one of your children is over-heard saying to the neighbor “I told them so.” Now that would really hurt, especially if you had a qualified farming heir.

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Nobody likes to hear the Monday morning quarterback who seems to know all the answers after the fact. From my side of the table when I can see a clear cut problem on the horizon with farm situation I point it out. Sometimes I just say “I need to make you aware that I think this is going to be a real problem later.” Then each person can make their own decision. The words “I told you so” are not problem-solving words, but sometimes they can be sobering doses of reality that can serve as a reminder for next time. If there is a next time.

Myron Friesen is the co-owner of Farm Financial Strategies Inc. in Osage, Iowa. He can be contacted at 866-524-3636 or friesen@farmestate.com.

Related Topics: MYRON FRIESENFARM FINANCES
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