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Beyond Our Means

Blake Hurst

Blake farms and grows flowers with his family in northwest Missouri. He and his wife Julie have three children. Their oldest daughter and both sons-in-law are involved in the family business, growing corn and soybeans, and shipping flowers to four states. Their middle daughter is the chief operating officer for a small hospital. Their youngest, a son, is a lawyer for the Department of Justice. Blake and Julie have six grandchildren. Blake is the former president of the Missouri Farm Bureau and a freelance writer.

Beyond Our Means

Blake Hurst  |  Jan 15, 2024

THE END OF ONE YEAR and the beginning of the next is always a time to look back, and to think about the successes and failures of the year past.
It was a good year in many ways. My wife and I enjoyed excellent health, we’re surrounded by happy, talented and nearly perfect grandchildren, and we had an outstanding corn crop.
Financially, though, it was the pits. 
Although I’ve retired from one job, both Julie and I work every day at our farm and small business.

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Looking for an Edge

Blake Hurst  |  Oct 1, 2023

ACCORDING TO THE consensus of HumbleDollar’s thoughtful and learned readers and contributors, I’m making a mistake by actively managing my investments instead of passively investing in index funds. In an earlier piece, I touched briefly on my reasons for doing so. It’s simple. I do it because I like to do it.
After the past few months, when my investments have definitely lagged the averages, I’ve decided to revisit my decision. What I write here is in no way intended to influence anyone else’s decision.

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Field of Dreams

Blake Hurst  |  Jul 14, 2023

WE BOUGHT A FARM earlier this year. We already have a greenhouse business, where we grow flowers, as well as several small tracts of land. The purchase was part of our farming plan, which involves expanding our crop business as opportunities arise.
But buying a farm is also part of our estate plan—and our fishing hopes. We now have two ponds with fish. True, they’re very small fish, as far as we can tell from three afternoons of fishing,

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I’ll Take It From Here

Blake Hurst  |  Mar 21, 2023

I RETIRED FROM MY other job in 2022, so I could return to our family farm. Upon leaving, one of the first decisions I had to make was whether to take my pension as a lump sum or as monthly annuity payments.
The pension plan based the lump sum on length of service, salary and age, plus the interest rate as of the prior December. The lower the interest rate at the time of retirement,

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When to Quit

Blake Hurst  |  Feb 15, 2023

RETIREMENT IS A HUGE decision, as readers of HumbleDollar well know. Retirement from a multi-generational business is even harder, because there isn’t really a day when you can say, “I’m retired.” Like the Hotel California, “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.”
I’m 65. That’s an age that carries a lot of social expectations. Age is not a continuum, but rather a series of milestones,

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