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Family Economics News National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA February 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

  • Personal Finance: Past, Present and Future

  • Long-term IDA Program Outcomes

  • National Financial Capability Survey


  • Small Steps Challenge 2010

  • New on eXtension: Webinar

  • National Financial Capability Challenge


  • New Credit Card Rules

  • Managing in Tough Times National Extension Initiative


  • Call for Papers:

    • Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal
    • 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
    • Journal of Family and Economic Issues: Special Issue


  • Funding:


    • FINRA Investor Education Foundation

    • Investment Company Institute

    • National Endowment for Financial Education

    • MMI Financial Education Foundation




Personal Finance: Past, Present, and Future

This summary paper, produced by a leading researcher, indicates that the need for financial education has gained the attention of banking companies, government agencies, grass-roots consumer and community interest groups, universities, schools, and other organizations. The concern is that consumers lack a working knowledge of financial concepts and do not have the tools they need to make sound financial decisions. However, a complex and specialized financial services marketplace requires consumers to be informed and actively engaged if they are to manage their finances effectively. Under these circumstances, there is a renewed attention to personal finance education. The summary paper is available online.


Long-term IDA Program Outcomes

While a number of studies have examined the savings performance of participants in the Individual Development Account (IDA) program, research about long-term program outcomes is limited. To fill this void, a survey was conducted of IDA participants' asset holdings after they left the IDA program. Results document that those who successfully complete the IDA program report higher levels of asset ownership compared to those dropping out of the program prematurely. This supports the view that IDA programs affect the dispositions and behaviors necessary to successfully maintain a home, complete post-secondary education, and establish a small business. The research paper is available online.


National Financial Capability Survey
The FINRA Education Foundation recently released survey results that measure the financial capabilities of American adults and reveals in detail how they save, borrow, and plan for their financial future. The National Financial Capability Survey, the first of its kind in the United States, was developed in consultation with the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the President's Advisory Council on Financial Literacy. In a recent event at the U.S. treasury, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and FINRA CEO and FINRA Foundation Chairman Rick Ketchum met with financial literacy and community leaders as well local high school students to announce the results.  By exploring how people manage their resources and how they make financial decisions, this national survey allows the FINRA Foundation to extend the reach of financial education programs in communities across the country. The release of this survey comes at a critical moment for many American families. For example, the survey found that: only 41 percent of parents have set aside money for their children's college education; the majority of Americans do not have a "rainy day" fund for unanticipated financial emergencies and are not adequately preparing for their own retirement; more than one in five survey respondents use high-cost, alternative borrowing methods, such as payday loans or pawn shops; and fewer than half (46 percent) of those surveyed correctly answered two basic questions about how interest rates and inflation work.



Small Steps Challenge 2010

It is too late to win a prize in the pilot online Small Steps to Health and Wealth (SSHW) Challenge, called “SSHW Worldwide Challenge 2010.” This free 6-week program, open to anyone who enrolls online, is underway and continues through February 27. Prizes will be awarded for participants who report the highest point totals. The program also features a new challenge that runs through December 31. This new challenge is not part of an official competition with prizes, but it is a way for people to track their progress and have their points tallied online so they can compare themselves to others.  This new online challenge is called "Non-Competitive Annual Personal SSHW Challenge 2010." To sign up for the SSHW Challenge, visit the Challenges on the Small Steps to Health and Wealth™ Web site. Set up a user name and password and download a simple one-page user’s guide with instructions about how to proceed. Enroll in the challenge titled "Non-Competitive Annual Personal SSHW Challenge 2010." Boxes will appear each day to report your performance of recommended health and financial practices. The SSHW Challenge is part of Small Steps to Health and Wealth, a national Cooperative Extension program developed to motivate Americans to take action to simultaneously improve their health and personal finances. SSHW was built around a framework of 25 research-based behavior change strategies. The challenge was originally developed in a “paper and pencil” format and is now available online. A paper tracking form can still be downloaded to track activities before points are entered online.

New on eXtension: Webinar

The Financial Security for All (FSA) eXtension Community of Practice (COP) will hold a virtual meeting on February 17 at 1 p.m. ET.  This webinar is for the FSA membership and others interested in joining the COP.  Hear about the “Experiencing eXtension” Moodle course, FSA’s use of social media, and the newly approved course “Financial Success: Recovery After Bankruptcy.”  To participate, log on Iowa State University’s webinar site at the appointed time.

National Financial Capability Challenge

Extension educators working with the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE)High School Financial Planning Program (HSFPP) are asked to encourage high school teachers to participate in the upcoming National Financial Capability Challenge (formerly the National Financial Literacy Challenge). Teachers may begin signing up for the 2010 Challenge today.  Teachers with technical questions may contact the Treasury Department through the Office of Financial Education's Technical Assistance Center


New Credit Card Rules

The Federal Reserve Board released new rules to protect consumers who use credit cards from a number of costly practices. Credit card issuers must comply with most aspects of the rules beginning on February 22. Consumers can learn more about changes to their credit card accounts by accessing a new consumer-friendly online publication. "What You Need to Know: New Credit Card Rules." It explains key changes consumers can expect from their credit card companies as a result of the new rules. More information about the new rules, including the official press release and the full technical requirements, are available online.

Managing in Tough Times National Extension Initiative (MiTTNet)

Few Americans are exempt from the stresses of the national financial and economic crisis. As a result, the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy Program Committee approved 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. Learn more about MittNet online and to sign up to be a member.




Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal (open submissions)

Journal of Consumer Affairs (Open submissions)

Journal of Personal Finance (Open submissions)

Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning (Open submissions) 

The Journal of Youth Development (Open submissions) 

Journal of Family and Economic Issues (Open submissions) 

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

Journal of Family and Economic Issues Special Issue. Deadline is March 1, 2010. 


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. The deadline to apply for September 2010 funding is March 4.

Investment Company Institute. Investor Education Grants. Deadline March 30.

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.



Agricultural Outlook Forum 2010, February 18-19, Arlington, VA.

America Saves Week 2010, February 21-28.   

EFERMA (Eastern Family Economics & Resource Management Association) Conference March 3-5, Chattanooga, TN.

Consumer Assembly 2010, March 11-12, Washington, DC.

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 will be April 20-22, in Mobile, AL. 

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

AFCPE, November 17-19, Denver, CO.  


  • NIFA Contact: Vacant

  • 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, NIFA-USDA.

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