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Family and Consumer Economics News National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA - March 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 (NPL) for Family and Consumer Economics.  Back issues of Family Economics News are available. To submit items for consideration for this newsletter, contact Cameron Briggs, NIFA program assistant.

NIFA Updates

  • USDA Celebrates America Saves Week with Personal Financial Programs Offered Through State and Local Partnerships


Research/Program Evaluation

  • Financial Management Practices of Couples with Great Marriages

  • Household Assets and Food Security: Evidence from the Survey of Program Dynamics

  • America Saves Week 2011 – Report Results

  • 2011 National Strategy for Financial Literacy



  • Small Steps to Health and Wealth Program: Challenge and New Blog

  • ‘Educator Toolkit’ for the 2011 National Financial Capability Challenge

  • 2011 Marginal Tax Brackets



  • National Consumer Protection Week is March 6-12

  • IRS Extends Tax Filing Deadline to APRIL 18

  • CARD Act Factsheet


  • 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

    • The Journal of Consumer Education

    • The Journal of Housing and Society

  • Funding:


    • FINRA Investor Education Foundation

    • MMI Financial Education Foundation1



USDA Celebrates America Saves Week with Personal Financial Programs Offered Through State and Local Partnerships

“The Cooperative Extension System (CES) helps families to learn from our consumer economics programs, which were designed specifically to help people living in rural and urban America manage their money,” said Roger Beachy, director of USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). “In an increasingly complex financial system, programs like this help equip Americans with the information, education and tools to make smart financial choices.”

As part of the U.S. Financial Literacy and Education Commission, NIFA’s Division of Family and Consumer Sciences partners with CES to deliver programming in local communities that focuses on five core areas: earning income, spending, saving and investing, borrowing, and protecting finances. Visit NIFA’s website to view this news release online.



Financial Management Practices of Couples with Great Marriages

This qualitative study explored the financial management practices of 64 self-selected couples from throughout the United States who believe they have great marriages. Three themes emerged from the data. First, for most couples, one of the partners handled the day-to-day finances and that required trust and communication. Second, these couples had little or no debt or had a goal of paying off debt. Third, couples lived within their means and were frugal. Other findings described these couples’ practices of having joint or separate accounts, how they dealt with financial challenges, and their view of other couples having financial challenges.

Household Assets and Food Security: Evidence from the Survey of Program Dynamics 

This study uses the Survey of Program Dynamics data to examine the independent role of household assets in food security. It further examines whether assets provide a buffer for low-income households to food insecurity in the face of income losses. Results of the two-part model analyses show that household assets have a significant association with food security in both the full sample and the low-income sample. In the presence of household assets, income’s effect on food security decreases. In addition, the significant interaction terms of income loss and household assets indicate that assets provide resources to smooth food consumption. The findings of this study suggest a consideration of asset building strategies in asset related provisions of current food assistance policy.

America Saves Week 2011 – Evaluation Results  

Please take a few minutes to complete the questions in this short survey of America Saves Week 2011. This compiled evaluation will be used to report Cooperative Extension System programs.  America Saves Week 2011 is an annual opportunity for individuals to assess their financial situation to increase their savings, reduce debt, and build wealth.

2011 National Strategy for Financial Literacy 

The Financial Literacy and Education Commission set forth a framework for Promoting Financial Success in the United States. The National Strategy 2011 provides a national structure for local programs and events to be designed, developed and applied. There is a NIFA Stakeholders group working on Evaluation and Education.



Small Steps to Health and Wealth Program

  • New Small Steps to Health and Wealth (SSHW), a national Cooperative Extension program, now has a new component – a SSHW Blog. The author, Patti Wooten Swanson, is the Nutrition, Family, and Consumer Sciences Advisor for the University of California Cooperative Extension in San Diego County and the director of San Diego Saves. Consumers can view and comment on weekly posts containing relevant news and information to help them implement behavior change strategies to simultaneously improve their health and personal finances.


“Educator Toolkit” for the 2011 National Financial Capability Challenge

The educator toolkit, which is available on the U.S. Treasury website, covers five core competencies of financial education: earning, spending, saving, borrowing, and protecting against risk. It includes a collection of lesson plans that are designed to help teach students important financial skills.  This year’s educator toolkit will include interactive online lessons and Spanish-language materials. The toolkit will prepare students for the challenge’s online exam and for year-round classroom instruction on financial capability. This year’s exam will be available online between March 7 and April 8. Educators can administer the exam to students at any time during that window. Visit the National Financial Capability Challenge website to register.

2011 Marginal Tax Brackets

Your marginal tax bracket determines how much of the earnings from savings and investments you get to keep after taxes. Rutgers University provides tables for the four individual tax rate schedules for 2011.


National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) is March 6-12. Visit the NCPW blog for the latest consumer tips and resources.

IRS Extends Tax Filing Deadline to April 18:  Because Emancipation Day falls on April 15, taxpayers will get a couple of extra days to file their taxes.

CARD Act Factsheet

On February 22, 2010, many of the provisions of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act (CARD Act) took effect. When the CARD Act was signed into law in May 2009, it was clear the credit card market was in need of serious reform.  Congress concluded that certain practices in the credit card industry were not fair and transparent to consumers, and the CARD Act passed with very strong bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate.  Visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau website to read their report.



Journal of Consumer Affairs (Open submissions)

Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning (Open submissions)

Journal of Family and Economic Issues (Open submissions)

Journal of Financial Therapy (Open submissions)

Journal of Extension (Open submissions)

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

Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences, Participation and Policy – Civic Engagement. The fall 2011 deadline is April 6.

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.  

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.




Joint Council of Extension Professionals – Public Issues Leadership Development Conference, April 4–6, Alexandria, VA   

ACCI Conference, April 13–15, Washington, DC

USDA and the Department of Defense Family Resilience Conference, April 27–29, Chicago, IL

National Urban Extension Conference, May 2-5, Des Moines, IA
23rd Annual Personal Finance Seminar for Professionals, May 11–13.

National Healthy Homes Conference, June 20-23, Denver, CO

AAFCS (American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences) 102nd Annual Conference & Expo, June 23–25 (educational excursions, June 22) Phoenix, AZ

NEAFCS (National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences), September 26-30, Albuquerque, NM 

Housing Education and Research Association, October 12-15, Baton Rouge, LA


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, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.