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Family Economics News National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA April 2010

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) 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.

Back issues of Family Economics News are available. To submit items for consideration for this newsletter, contact Jim Terry, NIFA program analyst.

Research/Program Evaluation

  • 2010 Retirement Confidence Survey

  • Farm Household Well-Being

  • Does Age Really Matter?



  • Financial Literacy Month

  • Pre-AFCPE conference

  • Small Steps to Health and Wealth


  • Bureau of Labor Statistics Program Perspectives

  • New Federal Reserve Credit Card Web Site

  • FDIC: Quick Tips for Consumers

  • Free Consumer Action Publications


  • Call for Papers:

    • Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal

    • Journal of Consumer Affairs

    • Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning

    • Journal of Family and Economic Issues

    • W.K. Kellogg Foundation/Family Income and Assets

    • 2010 AFCPE Conference

    • The Journal of Consumer Affairs

    • The Journal of Business Venturing & University of Alberta

  • Funding:


    • FINRA Investor Education Foundation

    • National Endowment for Financial Education

    • MMI Financial Education Foundation



2010 Retirement Confidence Survey

The 2010 Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS), now in its 20th year, was released on March 9 by the Employee Benefit Research Institute and Mathew Greenwald and Associates, and revealed that American’s retirement confidence is stabilizing, but that retirement preparations continue to erode.  

The survey’s key findings include:

  • The ranks of those with no savings are growing. More workers report they have virtually no savings and investments.  Among RCS workers providing this type of information, 27 percent say they have less than $1,000 in savings (up from 20 percent in 2009).  Additionally, more than half of workers (54 percent) report that the total value of their household’s savings and investments, excluding the value of their primary home and any defined benefit plans, is less than $25,000.

  • Workers are postponing retirement: Nearly one-quarter of workers (24 percent) report that in the past year they have postponed their planned retirement age.  Among the reasons cited for delaying retirement are the poor economy (29 percent), a change in their employment situation (22 percent), inadequate finances (16 percent), and the need to make up for losses in the stock market (12 percent).

  • Many are clueless about savings goals:  Workers continue to be unaware of how much they need to save for retirement.  Less than half of the workers (46 percent) report they and/or their spouse have tried to calculate how much money they will need to have saved by the time they retire so that they can live comfortably in retirement. 

The 2010 RCS can be downloaded in its entirety from the EBRI Web site.  Moreover, fact sheets on certain RCS topics, such as Retirement ConfidenceAge Comparisons Among Workers, Gender Comparisons Among Workers, and others, can be found alongside the 2010 RCS Press Release and a list of 2010 RCS Sponsors, on the 2010 RCS Homepage.

Farm Household Well-Being

Household economic well-being can be gauged by the financial resources (income/wealth) available to the household or by the standard of living enjoyed by household members (consumption). Based on responses to USDA's annual Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS), a joint effort by USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) and National Agricultural Statistics Service, ERS has for many years published estimates of farm household income and wealth. This report presents, for the first time, estimates of consumption-based measures of well-being for farm households based on new questions in ARMS. The consumption measure provides a different perspective from income or wealth on farm households’ well-being relative to that of all U.S. households.

Does Age Really Matter?

Using data obtained from extension clientele, a research study was undertaken by Christopher Sneed and Dena Wise of University of Tennessee Extension.  The study sought to better understand the relationship between age and length of savings time and the effect of age on savings amount. Findings from the study indicate a dependency exists between age and savings time and that age has an effect on savings amount. Additionally, the presence and influence of three negative life events on non-savers and savers was examined. While the data generally supported the theory of lifecycle savings, this study found that the degree of dependency between age and length of savings time is not equal across all of the age groups. The data confirmed that respondents tended to delay savings while young and attempted to "catch up" immediately prior to retirement.



Financial Literacy Month

USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), the federal partner in the nationwide Cooperative Extension System, will highlight its Financial Security program at the 2010 Financial Literacy Day, April 27, at the Hart Senate Office Building, Room #902, on Capitol Hill, in Washington, DC. Honorary co-hosts include Senators Daniel Akaka (Hawaii) and Michael Enzi (Wyoming). In addition, members from the House of Representatives are invited to speak. Convening organizations are the Jump$tart Coalition, JA Worldwide, and the Council for Economic Education. Exhibitors include a mix of government, not-for-profit, and corporate organizations that promote financial literacy across the country. Financial Literacy Day on Capitol Hill is part of Financial Literacy Month. The financial education work of eXtension also will be highlighted.

Pre-AFCPE conference

What is the "new normal" in Cooperative Extension and in your work environment? What is the "new normal" for successfully managing personal finances? Save November 17 for the Extension Pre-Conference at AFCPE to share and learn about the new normal in our world. An agenda and details are being determined, but save the date to meet with extension colleagues at the Grand Hyatt Denver.

Small Steps to Health and Wealth

Rutgers Cooperative Extension is launching a new online Small Steps to Health and Wealth(SSHW) Challenge, the “SSHW Spring 2010 Challenge.”  This free 5-week program, open to anyone who enrolls online, will be held April 11–May 15.  Prizes will be awarded for participants who report the highest point totals.


Bureau of Labor Statistics Program Perspectives

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has released a new issue of its online publication BLS Program Perspectives.  Each issue of this series highlights previously-published BLS data and how they provide useful information and context for understanding a selected topic. This issue examines an employee’s access to employer-provided benefits, such as paid leave, retirement, and insurance plans, in relation to the employee’s pay level. Data from the BLS’ National Compensation Survey on Employee Benefits in the United States are used to show that lower-paid workers had less access to these benefits than did higher-paid workers.

New Federal Reserve Credit Card Web Site

The Federal Reserve has launched a new Web site to help consumers better understand the new credit card protections that took effect on February 22. These rules ban several harmful practices and require greater transparency in the disclosure of the terms and conditions of credit card accounts.  The site summarizes the main provisions of the new rules and explains how they will affect credit card users. Important features of the Web site includes basic facts about common credit card options, interest rates and fees, an online credit card repayment calculator to estimate of how long it will take to pay off a credit card balance (English & Spanish), and a list of federal credit protection laws.

FDIC: Quick Tips for Consumers

The FDIC  Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) , in observance of National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) March 7-13 and its theme of helping people of all ages exercise their consumer rights, announced recently that the agency will begin to deliver regularl, timely tips about money management on the agency's Web site and through an email subscription service. The first five tips were issued during NCPW—one each day—beginning March 8. Beginning March 15, FDIC began providing its "Consumer Tip of the Week" on a weekly basis. Topics will range from saving and borrowing money to protecting money with FDIC insurance and avoiding financial fraud.  To receive the tips automatically, simply subscribe to the "Consumer Tip of the Week" using the email update link on the Tip of the Week Web page.

Visit the FDIC Web site for more information about the FDIC's educational programs and service for consumers, including a toll-free call center, free videos and brochures, current and past issues of FDIC Consumer News (including the Spring 2008 special edition, entitled "Money Tips for All Ages: Your Finances at Different Stages of Life"), and the Money Smart financial education curriculum (one version for adults and one for young adults), visit

Free Consumer Action Publications

Consumer Action advances consumer rights, nationwide, by referring complaints, publishing multilingual educational materials, advocating for consumers in the media and before lawmakers, and comparing prices on credit cards, bank accounts, and long distance services.  Consumer Action distributes more than a million publications annually in five languages, making it possible to serve limited-English-speaking populations in every state. Their publications are available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and other languages. One of its latest brochures is “Internet Safety.” Visit Consumer Action’s Web site to review and order other resources.




Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal (open submissions)

Journal of Consumer Affairs (Open submissions)

Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning (Open submissions) 

Journal of Family and Economic Issues (Open submissions) 

W.K. Kellogg Foundation/Family Income and Assets (Open submissions)

2010 AFCPE Conference November 17-19.  Proposals are due May 28 (Research, Practitioners’ Forum, Poster, or Student Paper). Guidelines: Invitation to Present. Conference submissions must be submitted electronically in Microsoft Word format.

Journal of Consumer Affairs Deadline for submissions June 15 

Journal of Business Venturing and University of Alberta Deadline for submissions August 1

FUNDING: 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 Project concepts can be submitted on an open basis. The foundation will respond within 4-6 weeks. 

National Endowment for Financial Education. The deadline for NEFE’s October 2010 grant cycle is June 1. 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.



Jump$tart Coalition Annual Awards, April 14, Washington, DC 

Emerging Scholars Pre-conference, April 14, Atlanta, GA

2010 ACCI Conference, April 15-16

The Priester National Extension Health Conference, April 20-22, Mobile, AL 

Financial Literacy Day on the Hill, April 27, Washington, DC

CYFAR 2010 Conference, May 4-7, San Francisco, CA. Details pending.

Personal Finance Seminar for Professionals, May 12-14, Annapolis, MD

AAFCS Annual Conference & Expo, June 24-26, Cleveland, OH

Pre-AFCPE Conference, November 17, Denver, CO. Details pending.

AFCPE, November 17-19, Denver, CO

Back issues of Family Economics News
are available.

To submit items for consideration for this newsletter, contact Jim Terry, Program Analyst, NIFA-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.