Money Management

Research Year: 
2008
Issue: 

Since the third quarter of 2007, the national, state and local economies have been in a decline that has been accelerating since August, 2008. The United States stock market has lost 40 percent of its value at time when credit is becoming difficult to obtain with the average consumer carrying a $10,000 balance on credit cards. Arizona ranks No. 4 in housing foreclosures that has resulted in an increase in bankruptcy filings of 90% from 2007 filings(data through October, 2008). In Arizona as well as nationally, residents lack health insurance (more than 20%) and this is developing into one of the most critical issues facing employers and their employees. Extension Money Management(EMM) programs support the Federal Performance Goals to reduce consumer debt and to increase consumer savings for a secure retirement. These programs support the CSREES agency goal "to enhance economic opportunities and quality of life among families and communities." Arizona personal financial programs are geared to individuals across the lifecycle, as financial and gerontological issues involved in the EMM initiative simultaneously affect younger, middle-aged and older members of the same families. Agent Block serves as the Arizona program leader for money management programs, is the liaison with CSREES, on the Board of Directors for Take Charge America Institute(TCAI), and a committee member of The United Way Impact and Strengthening Families Councils.

Description of Action: 

Desired Program Outcomes

1) Short-term, Extension Educators and partners will increase ability to plan, deliver, and evaluate educational programs; 2) Medium, individuals and families will develop knowledge, attitudes, skills, and confidence to apply effective and successful retirement and long-term care planning strategies; 3) Long-term, individuals and families will be more financially literate leading to financial security in later life.

Program Inputs

A variety of methods are used to maximize communications and marketing efforts for Educators including educational strategies gained from research to identify critical factors affecting financial security; research summaries developed from program inputs to develop a strong research base; marketing tools that provide a clear message to program participants to plan, act, achieve and evaluate financial routes to achieve financial success at www.extension.org; this web site includes curricula and tools to facilitate all aspects of the program and especially during the current financial crisis. Much of the EMM efforts focus on Small Steps to Health and Wealth(SSHW) as both financial and health issues are addressed in the curriculum. Outreach was implemented at, YWCA Women & Money Conferences in Arizona and California, Arizona Saves, Staff Advisory Council, and AFCPE Conferences. Other collaboration on outreach with money management programs included TCAI, United Way, Arizona Saves and with Walk The Talk (WTT) State Initiative. National exposure included input on the peer review of FAQs for eXtension on Financial Security for All.

Program Outputs

Eighty-three participants at SSHW workshops completed surveys and reported the value of the class about combining health and wealth topics with an average score of 3.90 based upon a scale of 5 (high) and 0 (low). After the training, the average score reported on knowledge gained was 3.26 based upon a scale of 4 (high) and 1 (low). Twenty-five SSHW Instructor Guides were developed during 6 month sabbatical with 10 guides distributed to WTT team between August - December 2008. Agent Block participated in 1 Financial Resource Fair and conducted 7 educational outreach programs to low-literacy, train-the-trainer groups, and extension reaching 744 individuals.

Impact: 

etting one or more written goals (44%) was the top rated behavior change reported by participants(83) who attended SSHW presentations;increasing daily exercise ranked second(39%) and decreasing portion sizes (34%) was third.
193 individuals from 33 of the 59 states and US Territories registered on the UA SSHW online site. Arizona had the highest number of registrations with 43 registrations representing 23% of all registrations. 35 respondents to the 6-month follow-up survey identified health and wealth progress goals with 69% reporting eating whole grains daily and reducing calories consumed. The same sample identified decreasing spending (57%) and increasing financial knowledge (46%).