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Family Economics News - March 2009

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

  • Personal Savings Rate
  • Financial Information: Is it Related to Savings and Investing Knowledge and Financial Behavior of Teenagers?
  • Why Some Households are Better than Others at Wealth Accumulation and Preparation for Retirement
  • 2007 Census of Agriculture


  • Montana Extension Family and Consumer Sciences—Showcase of Programs
  • Kansas State University: Doctoral Program


  • Guide to the Earned Income Tax Credit
  • e-Newsletter from FTC
  • 2009 Consumer Action Handbook
  • Profile of Older Americans—2 Reports


  • Call for Papers:

    • Journal of Consumer Affair
    • The Journal of Youth Development
    • Journal of Family and Economic Issues
    • Fifth National Small Farm Conference
    • Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal
    • Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences
    • The Journal of Consumer Affairs—Special Issue
    • Family Relations—Special Issue
    • Eastern Family Economics and Resource Management Association
    • Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Family Business
    • AFCPE 2009 Annual Conference
    • The Individual Finance and Insurance Decisions
  • Funding:

    • National Endowment for Financial Education®
    • MMI Financial Education Foundation
    • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
    • FINRA Investor Education Foundation
    • FDIC Center for Financial Research



The Employee Benefits Research Institute has updated Chapter 9 of the Databook on Employee Benefits, Personal Savings.  The chapter contains data from two government agencies that measure personal savings, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) in the National Income and Product Accounts of the United States (use Table 2.1 Personal Income and Its Dispositions) and the Federal Reserve Board, Flow of Funds Accounts of the United States (use Table F. 10 Derivation of Measures of Personal Savings).  The chapter contains an explanation of the differences between the two data-sets.  BEA data for personal savings rate for 2008 was released January 30, 2009.  The Federal Reserve Board’s data for personal savings rate for 2008 is scheduled for release on March 12, 2009.

Where do teens learn about personal finance?  Is what they learn from various information sources associated with their knowledge of saving and investing?  Is the source of financial information they use associated with their financial behavior?  Is their savings and investing knowledge associated with their financial behavior?  In a study conducted by Koonce, et al., teens who set financial goals and saved some or all of their earnings obtained most financial information from parents.  Teens who had spending plans obtained more information from the media/Internet.  White teens reported obtaining less information from the media/Internet and educators than did non-white teens.  Read more about this study, which was published in the Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning.

A landmark relationship finance seminar was held at the Department of Treasury in Washington, DC, on January 14. According to Treasury officials, "The issue of financial literacy has gone from very important to absolutely critical. We need to know more, from a fresh research perspective, of how families and households save and invest."

In regard to this proclamation, the mid-term summary of a 2-year research project at Florida State University addresses the question, "Why are some households better at wealth accumulation than others even given similar incomes and life circumstances?"

Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack released on February 4, 2009, the 2007 Agriculture Census. The census shows a continuation in several trends regarding the characteristics of U.S. farm operators. There is growing ethnic and racial diversity among farm operators nationwide, and the percentage of women operators is up. The average age of farmers continues to rise, and they increasingly rely on off-farm employment as a source of income. Visit the USDA Web site to view the news release and access the 2007 agriculture census.


What are the programs and successes of the Montana Extension Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) program?   Montana Extension has produced its latest “Program Samplers” to communicate with decisionmakers and help local advisory groups learn more about Montana Extension FCS programs.  Traditionally, a program sampler is published every other year to showcase programs dealing with extension family economics, housing and environmental health, food and nutrition, and human development.  With a rich history of providing extension programs to Native American communities, Montana Extension also produces and distributes the publication “Empowering Montana Native Families and Communities” to Montana tribes.

To sort out all the program offerings and provide computer users to direct links to project Web sites, publications, and radio public service announcements, the Montana Extension FCS program provides a new “one-stop learning” Web site— Web site users may access the program samplers mentioned above or may link directly to each of the publications at “Working Towards a Better Tomorrow” and “Empowering Montana Native Families and Communities” -

For additional information regarding the Montana Extension FCS program, contact Michael Vogel, program leader, at 406-994-3451.

Kansas State’s Doctoral Program with an emphasis in Personal Financial Planning—the first in the nation to be conducted largely online—was designed for professionals who already have busy careers and substantial roots where they live. Offered through the School of Family Studies and Human Services, the program is composed of a mix of online and residency courses. It enables candidates from around the world to earn their doctorates from a respected university while continuing their lives at home. K-State's program will be listed on the Certified Financial Planner Board's Web site of quality financial planning programs. Kansas State University also offers an undergraduate degree, graduate certificate, and a master's degree in Personal Financial Planning.


The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) helps low income, working taxpayers and families get more money back when they file their federal income tax forms. To help people file their 2008 taxes and claim the EITC, Consumer Action has updated its helpful multilingual guide to EITC. Income-eligible individuals who did not claim an advance credit in their paychecks can claim EITC when filing their 2008 returns. For the 2008 tax year, EITC credits can be as high as $438 for childless taxpayers or up to $4,824 for taxpayers with more than one child. You can spend your credit any way you want or put the money in a savings account.

Click the language of your choice to read the publication online:

Contact Mikael Wagner, director of training and outreach, for more information.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers a monthly newsletter, For the Consumer.  The publication offers Congressional staff useful FTC publications for constituents and information about recent FTC actions. It contains monthly tips for consumers and notice of upcoming FTC public events throughout the country.  FTC offers free subscriptions to this monthly e-newsletter to individuals in American Savings Education Council-partner organizations.   Contact Colleen Tressler at the FTC to receive this monthly newsletter or for more information.

The 2009 Consumer Action Handbook offers tips for consumers to file complaints, buy a car, protect themselves from identity theft, and more. It also includes contact information to hundreds of companies and Better Business Bureau offices in every state. You can find the entire new edition of the handbook and order multiple copies at the Consumer Action Web site.  For similar information for Spanish-speaking consumers, check out the Spanish language equivalent, Guia Del Consumidor and its companion Web site.

AOA's (Administration on Aging) Profile of Older Americans 2008
is an annual summary of the latest statistics on the older population that covers 15 topical areas including population, income and poverty, living arrangements, and health. This profile is a very useful statistical summary in a user-friendly format. 

2008 Older Americans: Key Indicators of Well-Being, from the Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics, provides an updated, accessible compendium of indicators, drawn from official statistics about the well-being of Americans primarily age 65 and over. The indicators are categorized into the following five broad areas: population, economics, health status, health risks and behaviors, and health care. The 160-page report contains data on 38 key indicators—and a one-time special feature on health literacy.

Visit the Learn more about Federal Interagency Forum on Age-Related Statistics Web site to learn more.


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

  • National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE®)
    The NEFE® Grants program deadline for the October 2009 grant cycle is June 2. To learn more about the NEFE® Grants program, visit the NEFE® Web site and click on the Grantmaking 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 achieve economic self-sufficiency.

  • FINRA Investor Education Foundation
    For 2009 submissions deadline is March 6 for applying for October funding. Subscribe to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) e-mail newsletter for periodic updates.




  • 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 the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, 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.

Mention or display of a trademark, proprietary product, or firm in text or figures does not constitute an endorsement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and does not imply approval to the exclusion of other suitable products or firms.