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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

  • Retirement Confidence Survey
  • Financial Management and Obesity


  • "Managing in Tough Times" National Extension Initiative
  • New on eXtension: Informational Chats
  • Youth Financial Education


  • Money Matters Web Site
  • Managing Your Assets in Retirement
  • 2009 Consumer Action Handbook
  • Making Homes Affordable
  • Real Relief
  • Tools for Investors
  • Young Adult Symposium


  • Call for Papers:

    • Journal of Consumer Affairs
    • Journal of Personal Finance
    • Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning
    • The Journal of Youth Development
    • Journal of Family and Economic Issues
    • W.K. Kellogg Foundation/Family Income and Assets
    • AFCPE 2009 Annual Conference
    • 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
  • Funding:

    • FINRA Investor Education Foundation
    • Social Security Administration
    • National Endowment for Financial Education
    • Council for Economic Education
    • FY 2009 AFRI RFA
    • Beginning Farmer and Rancher Program RFA
    • MMI Financial Education Foundation
    • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services



The retirement expectations of the vast majority of Americans have taken a turn for the worse this year, leaving a record-low 13 percent saying they are very confident of having enough money to live comfortably in retirement, according to the 19th Annual Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS) released by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute. Among workers, those feeling very confident about retirement has tumbled by one-half in the last 2 years.

Workers overall who have lost confidence most often cite the recent economic uncertainty, inflation, and the cost of living as primary factors.  The percentage of workers very confident about having enough money for a comfortable retirement continued a 2-year decline, down from the previous low of 18 percent in 2008 and 27 percent in 2007. This is the lowest since the question was first asked in the survey in 1993 and represents a 50 percent decline in worker confidence since 2007. Among current retirees, confidence in having a financially secure retirement also dropped this year to a new low, with only 20 percent saying they are very confident; that’s down from 29 percent in 2008 and 41 percent in 2007.

The University of Illinois Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics has received a grant from USDA’s Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) to investigate the roles stress and financial management play in childhood obesity. Two central questions are addressed: what are the effects of household financial stress on childhood obesity, and how do financial management skills help alleviate the effects of financial stress on childhood obesity?


Few Americans are exempt from the stresses of today’s financial and economic crisis. As a result, the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) Program Committee has initiated a collaborative effort to mobilize extension’s capabilities to provide relevant, community-based educational programs on a national scale to complement what is already available at eXtension. The project involves the content areas of individual and family financial and stress management, farm and ranch financial and risk management, community economic development, and youth development. For additional information about the “Managing in Tough Times” initiative, contact Lyla Houglum, Western Region Extension executive director; Jane Schuchardt, CSREES national program leader, or Ivory W. Lyles, ECOP program committee chair and University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture-Extension director. A national task force is forming to begin work; its first planning meeting set for early May 2009.

The Financial Security for All eXtension Community of Practice is hosting a series of informational monthly chats.  Past topics included managing money in tough times, earned income tax credit, and investing in mutual funds.  The next chat is 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m. on May 28 and will focus on “Family Time and Vacationing on a Shoestring Budget.”  During a chat session, you can pose your own questions and get answers from our personal finance experts. We also encourage you to review the transcript from previous sessions. Visit eXtension to view the list of future chats.

CSREES has a current listing of Cooperative Extension’s Youth Financial Education efforts operating in 43 states.  The key program is the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE®) High School Financial Planning Program®, which has been proven through program evaluation and research to increase financial knowledge and confidence.


The Federal Trade Commission’s new Money Matters Web site is for people dealing with debt, struggling to find a job, or trying to create a budget, save, and spend wisely during these difficult times.  Money Matters offers short practical tips, videos, and links to reliable resources for more information on such topics as credit repair, debt collection, job hunting and jobs scams, vehicle repossession, managing mortgage payments, and foreclosure rescue scams. The site also contains banners/buttons for easy linking.

National Endowment for Financial Education has a new Web site to help you manage your money in retirement. The site has eight subject headings: work, social security, home and mortgage, insurance, pensions, retirement plans, debt, and fraud.   

The Obama administration has introduced a comprehensive financial stability plan called Making Home This program addresses key problems at the heart of the current crisis economic crisis and provides homeowners with detailed information, self-assessment tools, and calculators to help borrowers determine if they might be eligible for modification or refinance programs. Borrowers can also connect with free counseling, locate homeowner events in their communities, find a checklist of key documents and materials for appointments, and find the answers to frequently asked questions from borrowers in similar circumstances.

AARP offers Real Relief, which includes information about qualifying for public benefits programs to help cover the costs food, utilities, and health care, as well as basic financial resources that can help with budgeting, credit, and debt management. Related AARP sites provide information on What to Do if You Lose Your Job and Your Road to Retirement.

The Security and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Office of Investor Education and Advocacy has a variety of services and tools to address the problems and questions citizens may face as investors. Although the SEC cannot advise on what investments to make, it can help citizens to invest wisely and avoid fraud. This resource provides unbiased information on how to become a smart investor. Topics include protecting your nest egg, how to file an investment complaint, mutual funds, and variable annuities. 

Materials from the late 2008 Young Adult Symposium, sponsored by the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE), are available online.  These materials include session summaries, video vignettes, presentation materials, focus group videos, and statistics about financial realities.  The event drew attention to the financial realities of the nation’s young people, aged 18-24, and challenged participants to re-think financial education assumptions and attitudes about today’s youth transitioning to adulthood. 


  • 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.

  • FINRA Investor Education Foundation
    The deadline to apply for October 2009 funding  is May 6, 2009. Subscribe to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority e-mail newsletter for periodic updates.

  • Financial Literacy Research Consortium
    The Social Security Administration has issued a request for application for a Financial Literacy Research Consortium to help inform the public about financial literacy and savings. In its first year, the consortium will be composed of no more than two research centers with a combined annual budget of about $5 million. Letters of intent are due May 7, 2009. Applications are due June 6, 2009. The announcement appeared in the Federal Register/Vol. 74, No. 76/Wednesday, April 22, 2009, pp. 18424-18433. See details at the Social Security Administration Web site.

  • National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE)
    The deadline for NEFE’s October 2009 grant cycle is June 2, 2009. To learn more about the NEFE grants program, visit the NEFE Web site  and click on the Grantmaking section.

  • Council for Economic Education, Funding opportunity for 2009-2010 Deadline June 2, 2009.

  • Agriculture and Food Research Initiative AFRI FY 2009 RFA
    The deadline for FY 2009 AFRI competitive grants programs RFA is September 30,2009. Visit to see the synopsis and application package.

  • Beginning Farmer and Rancher Program (BFRDP) RFA
    Visit the CSREES Web site to view the CSREES Funding Opportunity and the Web site for the application package. CSREES will develop and make available more information about the BFRDP program and resources for writing grant applications. All applications must be submitted electronically. You will need to be registered ahead of time with to submit an application; the registration process can take a few weeks.  Visit the CSREES Web site for more information about submitting applications. The deadline is May 13, 2009.  Contact National Program Leaders Suresh Sureshwaran or Janie Hipp for more information.

  • 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.



  • America Saves Week 2010, February 21-28, 2010. Planning can be viewed online in the Chairman’s Report.

  • EFERMA (Eastern Family Economics & Resource Management Association) Conference) March 3-5, 2010, Chattanooga, TN. Contact Michael Rupured for more information.

  • 2010 ACCI Conference, April 15, 2010. Information pending.  


  • 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.

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