Guest Editor

Rebecca Travnichek
University of Missouri


This issue of The Forum for Family & Consumer Issues advances the scholarship of the 2016 meeting of the Family Economics and Resource Management Association (FERMA) meeting. FERMA meets biennially and typically in the southeast region of the country. This is a nod to its origin as the Eastern Family Economics and Resource Management Association at a time when there was also a Western association. In 2010, FERMA recognized that it was drawing participants from as far west as Hawaii and from other countries; it no longer served only eastern region university professionals in the United States. Recognizing this broader reach, the Steering Committee surveyed the membership to assess the sentiment toward a name change and to evaluate proposed names. The membership adopted the name Family Economics and Resource Management Association. The expansion of the Association reflects the continued, and, one could argue, growing importance of economic and resource management challenges faced by individuals and families in the United States and around the world. This special edition provides a glimpse of the multifaceted ways that economics, personal finance, and other economic concepts (health) are fundamental to daily life. A brief description of the articles is given below.

Consumers are expressing great interest in the food they purchase and consume. The local food movement and consumers’ patronage of farmers markets are tangible evidence of this trend. At the same time, nutrition education programs promote the value of eating more fruits and vegetables, the primary product sold at most farmers markets. Important to the success of a farmers market, or any business, is an understanding of its customers. One paper reports consumers’ perspectives to gain insights into what motivates Florida consumers to shop at local farmers markets. The study also reveals what consumers viewed as barriers to or detractors from the farmers market shopping experience. Interestingly, consumers’ farmers market purchases included non-produce items. The paper discusses strategies for enhancing farmers markets’ product offerings and the shoppers’ experience.

Retirement planning for income replacement is a challenge most Americans face, and it has been complicated by legislative changes and economic fluctuations. Even so, some groups experience greater difficulty in accomplishing later life financial security and, for various reasons, women are one such group. The authors use U.S. Bureau of Statistics and U.S. Department of Labor’s 2015 Women’s Bureau data to examine the intersection of women’s employment characteristics, earnings following the Great Recession of 2008, and the correlation between education and retirement account holdings. The authors identify strategies to improve women’s ability to accomplish retirement readiness with specific suggestions for employers, policy advocates, financial planners, and Extension professionals.

Accomplishing financial security requires the confluence of a supportive structure (legislation, policies, financial products, etc.) and individual financial capability, including knowledge about personal finance concepts, and the ability and willingness to act on that knowledge. A paper focused on consumer financial education discusses the process of need assessment, program development, and gives an overview of six programs addressing a range of consumer financial topics to include evaluating health insurance options, downsizing a home, maximizing retirement income, and others. Program evaluation results are given and implications for Cooperative Extension are discussed.

The Small Steps to Health and Wealth program has experienced sustained success in educating and motivating consumers to make changes that have a positive impact on their health and their finances. In their paper, the authors discuss the framework upon which the educational strategies are built and program evaluation procedures. As a further enhancement to the program the Personal Health and Finance Quiz was developed to accompany the curriculum. The authors discuss the quiz and its utility for capturing program impacts and for research. The article includes links to program resources.

Educators are always looking for tools that will engage their audiences that are also effective and appropriate for educational programs. This next article introduces a treasure trove of resources ranging from platforms to create animated videos to online calculators and games. For example, are you planning an in-person session? Then the discussion of IgnitePowerPoint sessions and description of personal finance documentaries might be of interest. While experienced educators are probably familiar with some of these resources, the article’s extensive inventory of Thirteen Terrific Technology Tools is still likely to be valuable.

FFCI extends its appreciation to Rebecca Travnichek for her generous gift of time and talent as Guest Editor. Through her and the authors’ contributions to this special issue the impact of the 2016 FERMA conference is available to a wider audience.

As always, it is my hope that you will read the articles, be inspired, apply the information, and enjoy the experience.


Carolyn L. Bird, Ph.D.
Editor-In-Chief, FFCI

Advancing scientific inquiry, the Land Grant Mission, and information for enhanced quality of life.



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