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Family Economics News - April 2008

The Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) works with land-grant university partners and others to advance knowledge for agriculture, the environment, human health and well-being, and communities through national program leadership and Federal assistance. Among the Agency’s goals is to support increased economic opportunities and quality of life in rural areas. Family economics aligns with this goal by focusing on how individuals and families obtain and use resources such as money, time, human capital, material resources, and community services; by exploring the relationship between individuals and families and the larger economy; and by studying the impact of public issues, policies, and programs on family economic well-being.

Research/Program Evaluation

  • Teen Financial Knowledge
  • Family Economics Research Priorities
  • Potential and Pitfalls of Applying Theory to the Practice of Financial Education
  • Job Volatility of Rural, Low-Income Mothers


  • Financial Literacy Month
  • New on eXtension: Interactive Chat on Investing in Mutual Funds
  • New Financial Literacy Volunteer Initiative


  • Small Steps to Health and Wealth
  • Financial Fitness: It’s Priceless
  • Money Math: Lessons for Life
  • Map of State Financial Education Requirements
  • Money Wi$e: The Keys to Homeownership
  • Who Are America’s Poor Children? 


  • Call for Papers:
    • Journal of Consumer Affairs
    • Journal of Consumer Affairs: Special 2009 Issue
    • Journal of Personal Finance
    • Financial Counseling and Planning
    • The Journal of Youth Development
    • Journal of Family and Economic Issues 
    • The Journal of Consumer Affairs: Special Issue
    • 2008 Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education Conference
    • 2009 Federal Reserve System Community Affairs Research Conference
  • Funding:
    • FINRA Investor Education Foundation
    • National Endowment for Financial Education®
    • MMI Education Foundation
    • NRI Request for Applications
    • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
    • Foundation for Financial Literacy



Policymakers, prompted by reports of high credit card debt, low and negative savings rates, and increased personal bankruptcies, are concerned about the lack of financial literacy among teens. These issues have led many states to adopt financial education policies. Sharon Danes and Heather Haberman, of the University of Minnesota, address the causes of the problem in the study Teen Financial Knowledge, Self-Efficacy, and Behavior: A Gender View, published in the Journal of the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning. Danes and Haberman studied 5,329 male and female high school students to determine if there were gender differences in financial knowledge, self-efficacy, and behavior after studying a financial planning curriculum. They found that females gained more knowledge about credit, auto insurance, and investments, even though males had more knowledge entering the course.

The Family Economics Research Coordinating Committee (NCCC052) facilitates collaboration among family economics researchers nationally and internationally. The committee provides a forum to examine research methodology and family economic issues from a multidisciplinary perspective, and fosters development of research related to the economic well-being of individuals and families that is of interest to multiple institutions around the nation.  The committee recently developed its Family Economics Research Priorities, including Planning for a Secure Financial Future; Household Food Security and Health, and Loss in Times of Disaster. Visit the CSREES Web site to learn more.

Researchers are beginning to use interdisciplinary theory to bring rigor to the practice of financial education. Previously, many practitioners did not see the values of the theory because it did not coincide with their observations of how people behaved, and researchers did not have enough experience with interdisciplinary theory to demonstrate its usefulness to practitioners. If carefully applied though, theory can help set appropriate financial goals and can have a positive effect on consumers’ financial behaviors. Angela Lyons and Urvi Neelakantan, of the University of Illinois, discuss in the Journal of Consumer Affairs how better communication can bridge the gap between theory and practice to the benefit of the consumer.  

The Journal of Family and Economic Issues has published a study of the job volatility of rural, low-income mothers. The study shows how challenging it can be for some individuals, particularly low-income mothers, to move away from dependency on government and social assistance. This research paper examines how the struggle by rural, low-income mothers to enter and remain in the workforce can contribute to job volatility and longitudinal changes in employment patterns.  The study examined job volatility of 245 rural, low-income mothers across 14 states. The study categorized the women into three groups: stable employment, intermittent employment, and continuous unemployment.  


CSREES, the federal partner in the nationwide Cooperative Extension System, will highlight its Financial Security program at the 2008 Financial Literacy Day, April 28, at the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill, Washington, DC. Honorary co-hosts include Senators Daniel Akaka and Michael Enzi and Representative Judy Biggert and Ruben Hinojosa. Convening organizations are the Jump$tart Coalition, JA Worldwide, and the National Council on Economic Education. Exhibitors include a mix of government, not-for-profit, and corporate organizations that promote financial literacy across the country. Financial Literacy Day on Capitol Hill is part of Financial Literacy Month. The financial education work of eXtension  also will be highlighted at the April 16 America Savings Education Council meeting. Jump$tart will release on April 9 the results of its 2008 Survey of Personal Financial Literacy Among High School Students.

The Cooperative Extension System’s eXtension Financial Security for All (FSA) Community of Practice (COP) is sponsoring its second interactive chat for consumers and professionals on May 7, 2008, from 1–2 p.m. Eastern Time. The topic of the chat is “Investing in Mutual Funds: Answers to Your Questions from eXtension Experts.” Participants will receive unbiased, research-based information about some of the most popular investment products. Dr. Liz Gorham, extension family resource management specialist at South Dakota State University, will will moderate. In addition, three FSA COP members will serve as content experts: Dr. Michael Gutter, financial management specialist at the University of Florida; Dr. Celia Hayhoe, family financial management specialist with Virginia Cooperative Extension; and Dr. Barbara O’Neill, specialist in financial resource management for Rutgers Cooperative Extension. To register for the chat, send an e-mail message to O’Neill by May 2.

Additional information about eXtension chats, including a link to the transcript of the January 2008 FSA COP’s inaugural chat on record keeping for income taxes and details of the May 7 chat, is available. Visit the eXtension Web site for instructions on how to log into an eXtension chat session and type in a question.

The USA Freedom Corps’ (USAFC) Financial Literacy Volunteer Initiative mobilizes volunteers who can help homeowners improve their financial literacy and avoid foreclosure. The USAFC Volunteer Network helps volunteers easily find ways to share their financial skills and experience, and acts as a free tool for nonprofits to recruit new skilled volunteers. Americans willing to share their financial services, nonprofits in need of skilled volunteers, and homeowners seeking financial assistance, are invited to visit the USA Freedom Corps Web site. USA Freedom Corps also has information for subprime homeowners in need of immediate financial assistance.


New features continue to enhance the interdisciplinary “Small Steps to Health and Wealth™” (SSHW) program for extension educators. SSHW helps Americans improve their health and personal finances. Several states are considering following Montana’s lead by developing state-specific SSHW Web sites that link to the main SSHW Web site on the Rutgers University server. Other recent program additions include revised criteria for the SSHW Challenge. Revised enrollment and tracking forms are available on the internal SSHW Web site, available to extension educators. Feedback from the 2007 SSHW Challenge pilot test led to the changes. Finally, plans are underway to develop a Web-based SSHW Challenge where participants can enter data and monitor their progress online. Contact Barbara O’Neill for more information.  

The American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences’ (AAFCS) Financial Fitness: It’s Priceless helps citizens understand public policy approaches to the problems of poor financial literacy and security. AAFCS members will use Financial Fitness: It’s Priceless to facilitate forums in their communities in coming months. These forums should identify common ground between the issues of poor financial literacy and security and meaningful ways to take action. Visit the AAFCS Web site for more information. 

 The U.S. Treasury Department Office of Financial Education, Citi's Office of Financial Education, the University of Missouri–St. Louis, and the Jump$tart Coalition have revised and reprinted Money Math: Lessons for Life (2008). Money Math contains four lesson plans to teach middle-school math students about personal finance. More information about Money Math is available at the Jump$tart Clearinghouse and on the Treasury Web site. A free copy of Money Math is also available from the Treasury Department via e-mail

The Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy now has the Map of State Financial Education Requirements on its Web site.    

MoneyWi$e is a consumer action Web site that offers free information to consumers seeking to buy a house. MoneyWi$e explains unfamiliar terms, how to be prepared for unexpected costs, and helps prepare people to successfully complete the many stages of the home-buying process.

The National Center for Children in Poverty produced a fact sheet to provide demographic information on children in the United States who are considered poor, based on the national poverty threshold. The number of children living in poverty between 2000 and 2006 increased 11 percent, to 13 million.


  • is your source to find and apply for federal government grants. There are over 1,000 grant programs offered by all Federal grant making agencies.

  • FINRA Investor Education Foundation Grant Programs - The 2008 grant opportunities have been announced. Submission deadlines correspond to the announcement of grants in June, October, and Decemebr fo 2008.  Subscribe to the e-mail newsletter for periodic updates.
  • National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE®) - The NEFE® Grants program has two grant cycles in April and October.  The next two deadlines for grant proposals is December 4, 2007, for the April grant cycle, and June 3, 2008, for the October grant cycle. To learn more about the NEFE® Grants program visit the NEFE® Web site, and click on the Grantsmaking section. 

  • MMI Education Foundation - The foundation uses its resources to serve the public interest and strengthen the communities where we live and work. The foundation provides periodic announcements and grant guidelines.

  • NRI Request for Applications - Social Science and Integrated Grant Opportunities for 2008. Go to page 5 on this NRI Request for Applications.

  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - Grantees provide financial literacy training to enable low-income individuals and families to achieve economic self-sufficiency.
  • Foundation for Financial Literacy - The Foundation for Personal Literacy supports educational, charitable, and other organizations that use financial education to teach individuals how to convert earned income into passive and portfolio income.



  • CSREES Contact: Jane Schuchardt, National Program Leader, CSREES-USDA

  • eXtension (pronounced ee-eXtension) Financial Security for All provides reliable, research-based, and up-to-date financial and consumer information, including learning lessons, fact sheets, and unbiased peer-reviewed answers to frequently asked questions. Consumers can access eXtension 24/7/365 on any Internet-ready device.
    Contact: Debra Pankow, family economics specialist, North Dakota State University, or go to and click on Personal Finance.

  • National Initiative "Financial Security in Later Life" Contact: Nancy M. Porter, Family Resource Management Specialist, Clemson University

  • Financial Literacy for Youth Contact: Erica Tobe, Program Leader for Youth Financial Literacy, Michigan State University Extension

Back issues of Family Economics News
are available.

To submit items for consideration for this newsletter, contact Jim Terry, Program Analyst, CSREES-USDA.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on 06/20/2008, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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