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Family Economics News - June 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

  • Impact of Health on the Financial Security of Older Americans
  • Health Insurance New Indicator of Farm Household Well-Being


  • AFCPE Extension Pre-Conference
  • Family Financial Planning Online 
  • New on eXtension: Money Talks


  • Medicare Publication Offer
  • Understanding Your Credit Score
  • Foreclosure Rescue Scams
  • Alzheimer’s Kit  
  • MoneyTrack Public Television Series
  • Finding Paths to Prosperity (Spanish Version)
  • Money Management Tips for All Ages
  • Youth Financial Education


  • Call for Papers:
    • Journal of Consumer Affairs
    • Journal of Personal Finance
    • Financial Counseling and Planning
    • The Journal of Youth Development
    • Journal of Family and Economic Issues 
    • 2008 Consumer Issues Conference
    • 2008 Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education Conference
    • 2009 Federal Reserve System Community Affairs Research Conference
  • Funding:
    • Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Grant Program
    • FINRA Investor Education Foundation
    • National Endowment for Financial Education® (NEFE®)
    • MMI Financial Education Foundation
    • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
    • Foundation for Financial Literacy



This study used data from the 2002 and 2004 Health and Retirement Studies to investigate the impact that new and existing health problems have on the financial strain of older Americans. Two-period models were estimated for a series of financial ratio guidelines that took into account household solvency, liquidity, and investment asset accumulation. The test models used a subjective measure of self-reported health status and two objective measures of health that control for the severity of specific health conditions. The results showed that health problems significantly increased the likelihood of financial strain for older individuals, but the effects varied by the measure of financial strain used and how health status was defined. These results provided insight into the future financial security of older Americans and reflected important implications for health policy and research. To learn more about the impact of health insurance on the financial security of older Americans, visit the spring 2008 edition of the Journal of Consumer Affairs.

The basic indicators of farm household well-being, income and wealth, do not always fully capture information about well-being. Since medical care is relatively expensive and can significantly affect morbidity and mortality, the incidence of health insurance coverage among populations is an important indicator of well-being. Most Americans receive health insurance coverage through employer-sponsored programs, but since farmers are generally self-employed, this raises the possibility that farm households might be less likely to have health insurance. However, USDA’s 2006 Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) data clearly show that individuals in farm operator households are, in fact, somewhat more likely to have health insurance coverage than the general U.S. population. This is due primarily to off-farm employment. To learn more about health insurance as a new indicator of farm household well-being, visit the April 2008 edition of Amber Waves


The 2008 AFCPE Extension Pre-Conference will be held in conjunction with the AFCPE Annual Conference, November 19-21 in Garden Grove, CA. The pre-conference theme focuses on extension opportunities in troubled times, with dialogue about educational opportunities related to bankruptcy, mortgage foreclosure, and disaster.  The planning team—Jinhee Kim, University of Maryland; Bobbie Shaffett, Mississippi State University; Claudette Smith, North Carolina State A&T; Trish Olson, University of Minnesota; Patti Wooten Swanson, University of California; and Jane Schuchardt, CSREES national program leader-is working hard to make the pre-conference highly interactive with news extension educators can use. The pre-conference meets November 19, from 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. AFCPE’s pre-conference registration fee of $70 includes breakfast, break, and lunch. Visit the AFCPE Web site to view information about the 2008 AFCPE Annual Conference and click on conferences.

The Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (Great Plains-IDEA) has conferred masters degrees or graduate certificates in family financial planning to 111 students. Through Great Plains-IDEA, which launched in 2000, students enroll in one institution and take online courses from eight universities in the alliance. There are 191 students currently in the program, which is registered with the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Board of Standards, Inc. Coursework is offered by Iowa State University, Kansas State University, Montana State University, University of Missouri, University of Nebraska, North Dakota State University, Oklahoma State University, and South Dakota State University. The masters degree includes 14 courses. Of these courses, 6 cover the 89 competencies established by the CFP Board (insurance, investments, retirement planning, estate planning, personal income taxation, and fundamentals of financial planning); 5 courses include housing and real estate, professional practices, 2 practica, and case study/capstone; and 3 cover family concepts (family systems, family economics, and family financial counseling).

The Money Talks Web site for teens and their teachers is now linked with eXtension personal finance resources. Money Talks is the work of the University of California Cooperative Extension and is based on interviews with teens. Along with “Thrive By Five” for parents of pre-school children and “What’s Up in Finance” for older teens (young adults) with entrepreneurial aspirations, the Money Talksdescription and the link to games, fun quizzes, videos, and colorful teen guides will appear when searched with key words: children and money.  Money Talks is a multicultural site that provides teens with accurate, non-biased information and financial management hands-on experiences available in English and Spanish. Three modules, “Should I Be Listening?,” “Should I Be Banking?,” and “Should I Be Charging?” cover 10 financial topics, such as money personality, shopping savvy, saving, car buying, banking, and credit.


The National Pharmaceutical Council (NPC) and the Federal Citizen Information Center (FCIC) have developed resources for older adults and their caregivers to understand of Medicare prescription drug coverage. Using Your Medicare Drug Plan: What to do if Your Medicine Isn’t Covered defines key words needed to know when using Medicare. It also provides a sample letter to use as a guide if you need to appeal drug coverage. Your Pharmacy Benefit: Make It Work for You! compares different plans and coverage, and provides a chart so different options can be easily compared. It also explains what to do if you have problems filling prescriptions. Resources for Medicare Beneficiaries: Navigating the Coverage Gap explains the “donut hole,” which is the coverage gap when Medicare temporarily stops paying for your prescriptions and you have to pay the entire cost yourself. It also outlines where to go for help, and shows how a medicine expense log will help keep your finances on track. Each of these publications can be ordered online, as supplies last, in quantities of 50 per title.

This free educational brochure, available in English, Spanish, and Korean, focuses on maintaining a good credit score. Topics include types of credit scores, interpreting your credit score, improving your credit score, how to obtain your credit score, and the do’s and don’ts of using credit. To order, visit the Consumer Action Web site and click on Publications.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has issued an advisory that provides advice to help prevent borrowers from becoming victims of foreclosure rescue scams. Most foreclosure rescue scams fall within three categories. In lease-back or repurchase scams, the con artist convinces a borrower to sign over their deed in return for a promise to lease back or eventually repurchase the property.  Refinance fraud involves a situation where the borrower believes the transaction is a refinance, but in fact, the fraud involves transfer of property ownership to the con artist.  Bankruptcy schemes involve repeat bankruptcy filings to get a temporary stay order to delay foreclosure, but can result in damaging the consumers’ credit without saving their homes. This consumer advisory outlines what people should watch out for, and provides a list of resources people can use to find qualified sources for help

Montana State University Extension announces the availability of a new curriculum that focuses on the well-being of the caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease. The five-part series begins with an overview of the disease, followed by sessions on home adaptations, caregiver stress, nutritional needs, and financial and legal issues to consider. The toolkit comes with presentations, lesson plans, fact sheets, and video components. The award winning Alzheimer’s Caregivers Series Toolkit is available from MSU Extension by calling 406-994-3451 or online.

The Investor Protection Trust funded a public television series, MoneyTrack, that teaches the basics of saving and investing. It features actual experiences as case studies and translates their lessons to viewers. Investment experts such as John Bogle, Ben Stein, Michelle Singletary, Jonathan Pond, and Warren Buffett make comment. For more information, contact Don Blandin, president and CEO of Investor Protection Trust. Visit MoneyTrack on MSN to view MoneyTrack segments. 

A Spanish version of the financial literacy workbook Finding Paths to Prosperity is now available for free download at the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) Web site. The workbook is frequently used to meet 10- to 12-hour financial literacy course requirements for Individual Development Account programs. It was translated and culturally adapted for Latino clientele by a team from Oregon State University.

This month the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) launched a new FDIC publication, entitled Money Tips for all Ages: Your Finances at Different Stages of Life. This publication features suggestions for everyone, plus special recommendations for teens through retirees.

CSREES has a current listing of Cooperative Extension’s Youth Financial Education efforts. This initiative is active in 40 states and concentrates its efforts on providing financial literacy education for youth.


  • Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Grant Program. Contact Robin Taylor, senior tax analyst, for more information at 404-338-7174

  • 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 December fo 2008.  Subscribe to the e-mail newsletter for periodic updates.  

  • National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE®) - The NEFE® Grants program deadline for April 2009 grant cycle is December 2, 2008. 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. 

  • 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.



  • Consumer Federation of America, Consumer Assembly 2009, March 12–13, Washington, DC.

  • 2009 Federal Reserve System Community Affairs Research Conference, April 16–17, 2009, Washington, DC. Details pending.

  • 5th National Small Farm Conference, September 15-18, 2009, Springfield, IL. Contact Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant, extension specialist for small farm and sustainable agriculture at University of Illinois Extension, for information.


  • 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.

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