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Family Economics News - May 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

  • Jump$tart Coalition: Youth and Money
  • Retirement Confidence Survey
  • Who is Ready for Retirement?
  • Rising Health Care Costs for Older Americans

Education/Extension

  • Catch-up Strategies for Late Savers
  • NEFE® HSFPP®: Spanish Version
  • New eXtension Funding: Farm Households are Target for Online Investment Education

Resources

  • Automatic Deposit Encouraged for Seniors
  • Unbanked Conference Summaries
  • Financial Steps for Caregivers

Opportunities

  • 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:
    • Grants.gov
    • 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

Calendar

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The Jump$tart Coalition’s 2008 survey shows that financial literacy is still declining among high school seniors. In the 2008 survey, high school seniors correctly answered only 48.3 percent of the questions compared to 52.4 percent in the 2006 survey. The survey was given to 6,856 high school 12th graders in 40 states, and the 31-question survey revealed that high school seniors have a lot to learn about important financial concepts. Further, this year marked the first-ever college students’ survey, and the results were brighter for these students. College students earned higher scores than their high school peers, with 62 percent of the questions answered correctly. Visit the Jump$tart Web site to view the entire news release.

According to the 2008 Retirement Confidence Survey, the percentage of workers very confident about having enough money for a comfortable retirement decreased sharply, from 27 percent in 2007 to 18 percent in 2008, the biggest 1-year drop in the survey’s 18-year history. Retiree confidence in having a financially secure retirement also decreased, from 41 percent to 29 percent, a drop of 12 percentage points. Decreases in confidence occurred across all age groups and income levels, but was particularly acute among younger workers and those with lower income.

Although at least half of Baby Boomers are on track to a comfortable retirement, substantial numbers are not. The gap between haves and have-nots is likely to be greater than in previous generations, according to this AARP Public Policy Institute Issue Paper by Sophie Korczyk. The paper analyzes recent literature on retirement income adequacy with a focus on Boomers.

As the U.S. population ages, there is considerable debate about whether rising health care costs, low savings rates, and growing levels of household debt threaten the future financial security of older Americans. New research uses data from the Health and Retirement Study to investigate the impact that new and existing health problems have on the financial strain of older Americans. The results show that health problems significantly increase the likelihood of financial strain for older individuals, but the effects vary by the measure of financial strain used and how health status is defined. Hyungsoo Kim, University of Kentucky, and Angela Lyons, University of Illinois, in the Journal of Consumer Affairs, discuss their findings into the future financial security of older Americans and have important implications for health policy and research.

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Catch-Up Strategies for Late Savers has been updated for 2008. People who are late savers catching-up for retirement will find, under Guidelines for Educators, Late Savers Guidebook Strategies (PowerPoint), the Late Savers Game (PowerPoint), and the Late Savers Guidebook, a NEFE® (National Endowment for Financial Education publication, in addition to Marketing Tools and Evaluation methods. The Late Savers Guidebook Strategies is a collaborative effort of Cooperative Extension’s Financial Security in Later Life Initiative and NEFE. The guidebook, which presents catch-up strategies for those beginning to save later in their lives, describes different types of late savers, such as procrastinators with little or no savings; catch-up savers making up for lost time; and people who lost investment money. The Catch-Up Strategies for Late Savers Game covers topics such as retirement basics; savings tax incentives; increasing savings; stretching savings; and special issues. The Late Savers Guidebook covers topics such as strategies to stretch retirement income, special retirement catch-up considerations, retirement catch-up resources, and more.

The National Endowment for Financial Education® (NEFE®) has translated its widely used High School Financial Planning Program® (HSFPP®) student guide to Spanish. It is available online for Spanish speakers and educators to use in learning or teaching about personal finances. CSREES has maintained a memorandum of understanding since 1991 with NEFE® to update, deliver, and evaluate the HSFPP®. The Cooperative Extension Service provides local leadership for HSFPP® in 48 states and the District of Columbia, primarily by marketing the program locally and training teachers.  Read more about NEFE® HSFPP® and the student guide in Spanish in the CSREES Newsroom.  

Online Investor Education for Farm Households is an eXtension personal finance project funded by the FINRA Investor Education Foundation. The project leader, Nancy Porter, Clemson University, also is co-leader of the eXtension Financial Security for All Community of Practice, along with Debra Pankow, North Dakota State University. The project adapts Investing for Your Future, available at www.extension.org/personal_finance, for farm and ranch families using the interactive, Web-based learning environment of eXtension. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority established the Investor Education Foundation in 2003. It supports innovative research and education projects that give investors the tools and information they need to better understand the markets and the basic principles of saving and investing.  Visit the FINRA Web site for details about grant programs and other new initiatives. 

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Many older Americans are concerned about their safety. Some live alone, have limited mobility, or rely on the watchful eye of caring neighbors, close friends, or family. For seniors receiving Social Security or Supplemental Security Income payments, switching from paper checks to direct deposit is an important step they can take toward achieving greater security. May is Older Americans Month, the perfect time to remind seniors about the dangers of financial crimes and help them to safeguard their money with direct deposit. In fiscal year 2007, nearly 60,000 Treasury-issued checks were fraudulently endorsed. Direct deposit eliminates the risk of check fraud and helps protect people from identity theft. If you are hosting events in honor of Older Americans Month, Go Direct encourages you to include information about the benefits of direct deposit. Go Direct created many special materials to reach seniors and others who receive federal benefit checks and teach them about the important safety aspects of direct deposit. Visit Go Direct, or call 952–346–6055, to learn more about opportunities to support the campaign during Older Americans Month and beyond.

The U.S. Office of Financial Education, Department of Treasury, has a site with all of the materials from their four regional conferences on Reaching Unbanked People held by the Financial Literacy and Education Commission. Visit the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency Web site to read about the following conferences: Midwest Regional Conference (Chicago, May 2006); Southwest Regional Conference (Edinburg, TX, December 2006); Northwest Regional Conference (Seattle, March 2007); and Eastern Regional Conference (New York City, October 2007).

The Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER) has produced an updated booklet as part of the U.S. National Education and Resource Center on Women and Retirement Planning. This WISER guide, Financial Steps for Caregivers: What you need to know about Money and Retirement   provides step-by-step information to help family caregivers avoid common financial pitfalls and to plan for their own future economic security. Other financial planning information, including divorce and widowhood, health care, saving and investing, and retirement plans are available on the WISER Web site.

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  • Grants.gov 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.

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  • 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 eXtension.org 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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