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Family Economics News - September 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

  • Valuing the Implementation of Financial Literacy Education
  • Is Ignorance Bliss? Consumer Accuracy in Judgments about Credit Ratings


  • New on eXtension: Prepare Your Estate Plan
  • eXtension Releases New Strategic Plan
  • 2008 AFCPE Extension Pre-conference: Extension Opportunities in Troubled Times


  • A Financial Professional’s Guide to Working with Older Clients
  • Social Security Estimator
  • Mortgage Town  
  • Taking the Mystery Out of Retirement Planning
  • Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States, 2007


  • 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 
    • Consumer Issues Conference

  • Funding:
    • National Endowment for Financial Education® 
    • MMI Financial Education Foundation
    •  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
    • Foundation for Financial Literacy
    • FINRA Investor Education Foundation



What is the monetary value of financial education? What will individuals pay? The contingent valuation method was used to estimate the value of financial education in Texas public schools. A Web-based survey was administered to 279 Texas Parent Teacher Association members. Respondents reported being willing to pay additional property taxes for implementation of financial literacy education. Additional gambling venues and state sales tax proved to be acceptable revenue sources for added educational funding, whereas a state income tax proved to be the least preferred revenue source.  This article, and others, is available in the most recent issue of the Journal of the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education.

A new study by the American Council on Consumer Interests, which examined consumers’ self-assessments of their credit rating, appears in the Summer 2008 issue of the Journal of Consumer Affairs.  Respondents were more likely to believe they had average or above average credit. Those who overestimated their credit quality were less likely to budget, save, and invest regularly. Data came from the Freddie Mac Consumer Credit Survey, which reports on the attitudes, behaviors, knowledge, and experiences with credit and financial management of about 23,000 people. Results indicate that about 32 percent of respondents overestimated their credit ratings, while only 4 percent underestimated their credit ratings. The findings support previous studies in judgment and decisionmaking that show that individuals are more likely to be overconfident about their knowledge or abilities. Those who overestimated their credit ratings had lower incomes, less formal education, and were less likely to own their homes. They were also more likely to be African-American, Hispanic, or female. One possible explanation for these results is that minority consumers in general have less experience with financial markets, which in turn affects their tendency to overestimate their credit rating.


A just-published resource available at the eXtension Financial Security for All community of practice relating to estate planning. Prepare Your Estate Plan is broad and deep, and contains streaming video clips about living wills in the Communicate lesson, as well as many fact sheets and worksheets in the Organize lesson. As always, in addition to the rich resources already available, there is an opportunity to "Ask The Expert" any question and get sound advice and information directly from a skilled educator at one of our nation's land–grant institutions.

The eXtension Governing Committee has approved a new Strategic Roadmap, an overall master plan to manage eXtension’s for success both for the long term (5-7 years) and short term (1-3 years). The process included collecting and analyzing feedback from many stakeholders, reviewing technology trends and directions, studying the habits and interests of online consumers, and discussion to ensure eXtension meets the goals of cooperative extension. Over the next several months, eXtension's professional staff and contributors will further build out the new plan and begin the implementation process. Visit the eXtension Web site to download copies of the full report or the executive summary.

Registration details are available at for the 2008 AFCPE Extension Pre-conference on November 19.  This pre-conference is in conjunction with the November 19–21 AFCPE Annual Conference in Garden Grove, CA. The conference, designed for and by extension educators, will focus on programs and evaluation strategies related to natural disasters, mortgage foreclosures, bankruptcy, and more. Each focus area will consist of an overview, a panel of successful programs, and networking activities. Angela Lyons, University of Illinois, will give a presentation on evaluating educational programs delivered in times of disaster. The pre-conference runs from 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and includes a continental breakfast and boxed lunch.


AARP and the Financial Planning Association released a free new resource: A Financial Professional’s Guide to Working with Older Clients. The booklet covers two main themes:

  • Disclosure by financial professionals—what the client wants to know about you and your practice

  • Working with older clients – information and tips on social, family and generational issues, physical and mental impairments, and written and online communications

You may download a free copy of the guide from AARP. To request up to 25 copies, write to AARP Fulfillment, 601 E St. NW, Washington, DC, 20049 and ask for D19004.

The Social Security Estimator, an online calculator, helps consumers estimate benefits at different retirement ages. The calculator is tied to your actual earning records so you do not have to enter your earnings history and the response is personalized to you.  Security precautions ensure the privacy of your records. There are three documents from Social Security that give you an Overview of the Estimator, How to use the Estimator, and a document that explains of how the age at which you chose to retire effects your benefits.  

Mortgage Town is a new resource for consumers, offering information about the homebuying process and the many steps along the way. Topics include figuring out what you can afford; finding the right loan; understanding the different players involved, including loan officers and home inspectors; and avoiding falling victim to mortgage fraud.  

The U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefit Security Administration has a new retirement planning tool, Taking the Mystery Out of Retirement Planning.  It offers a simplified, bottom-line approach to estimating how much you may need when you retire. Each chapter in this booklet asks you to chart a different part of your financial life—your savings and your expenses—and helps you project future costs and savings well into your retirement years.  

The Census Bureau released their findings on “Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States, 2007.”  The data-set used in this publication is the Current Population Survey, March 2008 Supplement.


  • 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.

  • 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.

  • FINRA Investor Education Foundation Grant Programs – Submission deadlines and decision dates for 2009 grant opportunities will be announced in November. Subscribe to the e-mail newsletter for periodic updates. 



  • America Saves Week, February 24–March 2, 2009. America Saves encourages financial action—commitments to save, invest, and build wealth.

  • 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.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on t05/05/2010, 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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