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Family Economics News National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA - December/January 2011

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.

NIFA ContactSusan Shockey, national program leader. 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

  • Improving Financial Awareness Among College Students

  • Does Bankruptcy Counseling Help Debtors Establish a Fresh Start?


  • Extension Awards

  • Free Financial Tip of the Week

  • Extension Taxpayer Assistance and Education


  • Social Security and the Future of Retirement

  • Marketplace Money

  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

  • Retirement Made Simpler

  • Saving Jobs Through Work Sharing

  • AARP Launches a New Retirement Calculator


  • Call for Papers:

    • Journal of Consumer Affairs 

    • Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning

    • Journal of Family and Economic Issues

    • Journal of Financial Therapy

    • Journal of Extension

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

    • Family & Consumer Sciences Research Journal #1

    • Family & Consumer Sciences Research Journal #2

    • The Journal of Consumer Education

    • The Journal of Housing and Society

  • Funding:


    • FINRA Investor Education Foundation

    • National Endowment for Financial Education

    • MMI Financial Education Foundation1



Improving Financial Awareness Among College Students

Understanding how financial capability is transferred to college students through teaching and learning is essential to their future opportunities and success. Evidenced-based teaching methods for financial education, such as experiential learning, can equip college students with the skill set to avoid the all too frequent quagmire of “another day older and deeper in debt.” Through a money tracking exercise, this research helped students to become more self-aware of prudent and problematic spending behavior and the consistency of that behavior with their personal values, which led many students to spontaneously initiate spending reductions in problem areas. Read the article to learn more.

Does Bankruptcy Counseling Help Debtors Establish a Fresh Start? 

To investigate the impact of the legislation’s educational requirements, Angela Lyons, associate professor of agricultural and consumer economics at the University of Illinois (UI), launched a multiphase study in collaboration with Money Management International (MMI), the nation’s largest nonprofit, full-service consumer credit-counseling agency.

The study tracked debtors through the entire bankruptcy process and followed up with them 3 to 6 months afterwards to assess the long-term impacts of the educational requirements on their overall financial well-being. Visit the UI Department of Agriculture and Consumer Economics to learn more about this study.



Extension Awards

The Financial Security for All (FSA) Community of Practice (COP)received the national Dean Don Felker Financial Management Award from the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (NEAFCS) at its annual meeting in September.  Nancy Porter and Barb O'Neill received the award on behalf of the FSA Community of Practice.  The award recognizes excellence in personal finance education.  The FSA COP includes over 300 professionals who work collectively to develop online financial education content and respond to consumer queries.

Legally Secure Your Financial Future (LSYFF) received the Outstanding Educational Program of the Year Award from the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE) at its 2010 annual meeting.  LSYFF is a three-part educational program that teaches participants to 1) organize important legal, financial, and family records; 2) communicate with loved ones about legal, health, and financial issues; and 3) prepare and understand estate planning.  LSYFF includes a practitioners' curriculum website and a consumer website.

Also, Nancy Porter, professor and extension specialist at Clemson University, received the Mary Ellen Edmondson Educator of the Year Award from AFCPE at its 2010 annual meeting.  Porter has provided national leadership for the Cooperative Extension National Initiative Financial Security in Later Life and is on the leadership teams of the Managing in Tough Times National Initiative and eXtension's Financial Security for All COP.  Porter will join Colorado State University Extension in January.

Free Financial Tip of the Week

The University of Missouri Office of Financial Success is a service of the university’s Personal Financial Planning Department, which is dedicated to improving the financial well-being of individuals and families by providing affordable, unbiased education and counseling in all areas of personal finance. One of their resources is a free Financial Tip of the Week. Visit the Tip of the Week website to view the Financial Tip of Week archives, and to subscribe for your free weekly tip. The latest Financial Tip of the Week is Can Using Cash Make You Be Healthier?

Extension Taxpayer Assistance and Education

Taxpayer education provides extension agents with measurable impacts that make a difference for low and moderate-income families who can save on tax preparation costs and tax refunds, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit. These dollars can help strengthen local economies. In cooperation with the Internal Revenue Service Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, Cooperative Extension helps people with electronic filing of income tax returns and provides financial education to help families maximize their tax refunds.  Qualified taxpayers are entitled to free tax preparation and electronic filing at VITA sites during the tax filing season. Each taxpayer gets financial planning information; additional financial education opportunities through extension are promoted to tax refund recipients. Visit the NIFA Web site to access resources.


Social Security and the Future of Retirement

Social Security and the Future of Retirement, an AARP Solutions Forum, featured a panel discussion with Alicia Munnell, director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College; Alice Rivlin, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution; John Rother, chief policy strategist at AARP; and Madonna Harrington Meyer of the Center for Policy Research at Syracuse University.

Moderated by journalist Juan Williams, the forum brought together policy experts and stakeholders for a discussion of issues related to the role Social Security plays in our retirement system. Specific topics included:

  • Are the American people ready to make changes in Social Security?
  • How does Social Security fit into the long-term budget picture?
  • How does Social Security affect retirement plans for older Americans?
  • Should Social Security be “means tested”?
  • Should Americans be saving more for retirement?
  • Should we consider raising taxes to shore up Social Security?
  • What’s the most pressing threat to retirement security?


Full transcript of the forum

Video clips from the forum

Marketplace Money

Marketplace Money is a radio program produced by American Media that airs on over public radio stations throughout the United States. Each week, host Tess Vigeland looks at the week's major national and international stories that impact finances. This week she looked at teaching kids about money early.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

In July of 2011, the authority to stop unfair, abusive, and deceptive financial practices and to enforce federal consumer financial protection laws will be shifted from existing federal regulators to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which was created as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. At the same time, the Dodd-Frank Act ensures that states will play an important role in reining in abusive lending practices.

Retirement Made Simpler

AARP, as part of its Retirement Made Simpler campaign, has released a toolkit to help organizations that offer a 403(b) retirement plan, guidance on implementing automatic features.  The guide can be found on the campaign website at Automatic 403(b) Toolkit. The toolkit provides basic facts on automatic features, step-by-step guidance to implementation, benefits to employers, and sample forms, such as new employee notices. The toolkit also explains changes to the retirement fund landscape established by the Pension Protection Act.

Saving Jobs Through Work Sharing

Saving Jobs Through Work Sharing examines how work sharing or short-time compensation can help workers keep their jobs in an economic downturn. Under this arrangement, employers reduce work hours and spread the remaining work among employees who receive pro-rated unemployment benefits. A growing number of states are making legislative changes to accommodate work sharing.

AARP Launches a New Retirement Calculator

AARP has launched a new retirement calculator. New features of the AARP Retirement Calculator include the ability to develop a retirement plan for a dual-income home; calculate and include individual Social Security benefit estimates as a part of retirement income; easy-to-navigate tabs; easy-to-understand explanations of where an individual is in their retirement planning; and the ability to experiment with various retirement scenarios to create a plan that is right for each individual. Research has shown that using a retirement calculator can be one of the best ways to help people focus on the steps many need to take to get their financial lives in order. AARP Retirement Calculator users can quickly evaluate their current retirement possibilities and see the possible pathways to reach their desired retirement goals. Visit AARP for more information about retirement and financial planning.



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)

Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal, Influence of Technology on Individuals and Families. Deadline January 15, 2011.

Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal, Cultural Diversity from a Global Perspective. Deadline January 15, 2011.

The Journal of Consumer Education. Deadline for submissions is February 25, 2011.

The Journal of Housing and Society, is a refereed journal published by the Housing Education and Research Association (HERA).  Information regarding submissions is on HERA's website. Open submissions.

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 April 2011 grant cycle is December 7.

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.



ACCI Conference, April 13-15

National Urban Extension Conference, May 2-5, Des Moines, IA


Eastern Family Economics & Resource Management Biennial Conference, February 29–March 2


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