Skip to Main Content
HomeAbout UsGrantsFormsNewsroomHelpContact Us
Search NIFA
Advanced Search
Browse by Subject
Agricultural Systems
Animals & Animal Products
Biotechnology & Genomics
Economics & Commerce
Environment & Natural Resources
Families, Youth & Communities
Food, Nutrition & Health
Pest Management
Plants & Plant Products
Technology & Engineering

Family Economics News National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA July/August 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

  • Weakness of Housing Affordability Indices Used by Practitioners

  • The State of Metropolitan America

  • Financially Fit: Now and in Retirement


  • Finding Help in Tough Times

  • Helpful Personal Finance Articles

  • EDEN Provides Support for the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Extension Response



  • Oil Spill Stock Scams

  • Retirement Made Simpler News


  • 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 Consumer Expenditure Survey Microdata Users’ Workshop

    • 2010 AFCPE Conference

    • The Journal of Consumer Affairs

    • Journal of Financial Therapy

    • 10th Consumer Issues conference

    • The Journal of Business Venturing & University of Alberta

    • National Competition for Financial Services Research Papers

  • Funding:


    • FINRA Investor Education Foundation

    • Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Grant Programs

    • National Endowment for Financial Education

    • MMI Financial Education Foundation



Weakness of Housing Affordability Indices Used by Practitioners

Housing affordability is a prominent concern in the Unit­ed States for multiple reasons. There has been a decline in housing prices since 2007 and, in some parts of the country, a significant depreciation has occurred. The U.S. government continues to emphasize homeownership, by establishing several programs to help low-income individuals purchase a home (Schwartz, 2006). Qualifying guidelines for mortgages became more lenient for a time, which contributed to the mortgage crisis. In addition, lenders approved borrowers regardless of the borrowers’ ability to repay the loan, and many of those loans were load­ed with predatory features (Rushton, 2007). At the same time, the nation as a whole experienced a negative savings rate (Bureau of Economic Analysis, 2008) and increased levels of debt — a notorious combination that caused con­cerns for housing instability.  The paper, published by the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education, is available online.

The State of Metropolitan America

The State of Metropolitan America is a signature effort of the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program that portrays the demographic and social trends shaping the nation’s essential economic and societal units — its large metropolitan areas — and discusses what they imply for public policies to secure prosperity for these places and their populations. The report focuses on the major demographic forces transforming the nation and large metropolitan areas in the 2000s. In this sense, it previews what we will learn from the results of the 2010 Census, as well as supplements those results in important ways. It includes chapters that correspond to nine of the most important subjects tracked by the Census Bureau in its annual American Community Survey, along with the policy implications of the findings. The State of Metropolitan America uses data from these subject areas to show that our nation faces five "new realities," currently redefining the country. In each of these five areas, the nation reached critical milestones in the 2000s that make those underlying realities too large to ignore. And, large metropolitan areas — the collections of cities, suburbs, and rural areas that house two-thirds of America’s population — lay squarely on the front lines of those trends. The report also introduces an emerging metropolitan typology, containing seven distinct categories. These new classifications are based upon metrics of population growth, diversity, and educational attainment as compared to national averages.

Financially Fit: Now and in Retirement

Elizabeth Goldsmith and David Eccles, of Florida State University, have been presenting workshops where participants learn the six key strategies of being financially fit – in everyday life and for a lengthy retirement. The free program is based on their 3-year research study (conducted along with Paul Ward), which revealed the six strategies that have helped American householders accumulate wealth and become financially fit upon retirement. The top households in their study had accumulated 4 times the wealth of the bottom households, even though they had similar incomes and life circumstances. The Money Smart program is sponsored by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. So far, presentations have been made in libraries in Sacramento, CA, and in Des Moines, IA, for the Money Smart Week Kickoff at the Federal Reserve Office; next up is Ipswich Public Library in Massachusetts. More locations are in process. Audience response has been overwhelming. Contact Elizabeth or David for more information.


Finding Help in Tough Times

Money and work are two of the top sources of stress for almost 75 percent of Americans, according to the American Psychological Association’s 2007 Stress in America survey. With rising consumer debt, falling housing prices, rising costs of living, and declining retail sales, many people are worried about how they will get through this recession. Oregon State University Extension Service has compiled information to help you find the help you need during these tough times.

Helpful Personal Finance Articles

If you’re in a tough financial situation, can see one on the horizon, or want to remain on solid ground financially, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) has personal finance articles to help. Check out Controlling Spending and Keeping your Family Strong During Economic Downturn on the UNCE website.

EDEN Provides Support for the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Extension Response

The Cooperative Extension System, working through the Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN), has been addressing the needs of Gulf Coast citizens and affected communities in regard to the damage and impending risks resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. EDEN has been part of the picture since early on. The Cooperative Extension and Sea Grant directors in the Gulf Coast region recognized the strategic nature of the EDEN website and the EDEN network of state extension workers, and immediately designated the website as the central location for extension multistate task force work regarding this disaster.

Extension directors in the Gulf States have organized several multistate task forces, composed of extension and Sea Grant subject matter specialists, to address oil spill issues. These task forces were organized around three general topic areas: 1) damage assessment and disaster assistance; 2) family and community educational needs; and 3) human health, food safety, and environmental quality. A fourth task force, communications, was given the charge of helping to coordinate and distribute messages that are released to the public. In addition to providing educational content for extension and community educators, content is also being developed for the public and posted to the EDEN website.

To extend its outreach, extension specialists are establishing an Oil Spill community of practice on eXtension. In addition to news articles for release on this website, extension specialists and land-grant university scientists are developing feature articles, fact sheets/articles, and FAQs with answers to populate the growing body of information on the EDEN and eXtension websites.


Spendster is brought to you by the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE). The idea is to get people to think about how much useless junk they have that they spent good money on. This site gives people a safe haven; a confessional, where they can talk about what they shouldn’t have bought — better yet, what they could have saved if the money spent had been put to more productive use. Here, people can tell their stories or confess about their collection of bric-a-brac and useless, expensive gizmos and gadgets. Face it: people make some lousy purchases. But don’t worry; we’ve all been there at one point or another. The noncommercial, unbiased, nonprofit NEFE works to improve everyone’s money management so that they are better able to reach their larger financial goals. If you can’t find what you need on this site, check out NEFE’s other program website,

Oil Spill Stock Scams

The following information comes from ASEC Partners, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA),and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).  The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico poses more than an environmental and economic threat to the region. It also poses a financial threat to investors in the form of scams promising financial gains from investments in companies that claim to be involved in cleanup operations. FINRA and the SEC have issued an Investor Alert to warn about potential scams that exploit the Gulf oil spill and related cleanup efforts. While some of the companies touting their role in the cleanup may be legitimate, others could be bogus operations that are only looking to clean out unsuspecting investors. The alert outlines ways to spot a potential oil spill scam, steps you can take to avoid potential frauds, and instructs investors on how to report suspicious offers.

Retirement Made Simpler News

Retirement Made Simpler News is a resource brought to you by three organizations combining three missions. Because these organizations know that Americans are not saving enough for retirement, they want to help. By combining their resources and expertise, AARP, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, and the Retirement Security Project pool their varied strengths to help employers and their employees save more effectively. It’s easy to subscribe to Retirement Made Simpler News.



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)

Journal of Consumer Affairs Deadline for submissions June 15 

Journal of Financial Therapy Deadline for submissions is June 15.

10th Consumer Issues Conference Deadline for poster submissions is July 16.

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

National Competition for financial services research papers

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. 

Internal Revenue Service Grant Programs. Tax Counseling for the Elderly and Volunteer Income Assistance. Open application period is June 1–July 9. 

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.



Consumer Expenditure Survey Microdata Users' Workshop, July 14-16

National Youth Involvement Board, July 26-29

10th Consumer Issues Conference: Unlocking the Digital Marketplace: Legal and Ethical Issues, September 30–October 1

Society for Financial Education and Professional Development, Inc., October 25-26   

Pre-AFCPE Conference, November 17

AFCPE, November 17-19


ACCI Conference, April 13-15


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

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.