Iowa State University
University of Idaho
This special edition of The Forum for Family & Consumer Issues is dedicated to making visible to a wider scientific community the knowledge shared at the 2015 Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE) Pre-Conference held in Jacksonville, Florida. The Pre-Conference is an annual gathering of faculty and Extension educators who focus on economic issues pertaining to families. Economics encompasses a number of spheres of human life to include (among others), family finances, health, employment, wealth transfer, and policies shaping these spheres. Families in the United States and around the world continue to struggle with economic aspects of life. The Forum is pleased to crystalize the knowledge shared at the annual meeting with the hope of increasing the number of people who benefit from this professional community’s work. Each paper is briefly described below.
One paper addresses improving the accessibility of the “Starting Over after Foreclosure Toolkit” resource to families who experienced home foreclosure in connection with the Great Recession. Tobe and Carter identified the need for educational content to assist families with regaining stability as housing counseling and other services end. The challenge lay in promoting the greatest access to the resource. The article describes an innovative method of developing a marketing strategy to reach an audience that frequently has fluid housing situations.
The interdisciplinary program Small Steps to Health and Wealth ™encourages behavior to improve health and personal finances. In their article, O’Neill, Gillen, and Hunter focus on advancing this research-based program to an evidence-based program. The article discusses research on health and personal finance that support the interdisciplinary approach, and it is followed by an in-depth conversation about evaluation methods and results of statistical analyses for audiences of different demographics. Importantly, readers are pointed to resources to obtain additional information and training for implementation with their audiences.
Another article provides an overview of the program Women and Money: Unique Issues.Women have made great strides in advancing gender equity. Yet, there are a number of social structures that disparately affect women to their economic disadvantage. And women still lag behind men in comfort with a range of economic issues, including confidence in their ability to manage personal finances. The authors describe the educational sessions and program evaluation results.
Limited resource individuals and families stand to benefit greatly from education that promotes sound financial management practices. In their article, Atkinson et al. discuss the curriculum development process for the All My Money: Change for the Better education resource. The authors note that in the current economic environment Extension educators are often asked to expand their efforts across additional geographic areas. The ability to access existing research-based and effective programs may support educators in expanding their reach, sphere of influence, and effectiveness.
Issues surrounding wealth transfer and, in particular, land transfer pose a challenge for many families. The topic is difficult on many levels as wealth transfer necessarily embodies the idea of one’s own mortality, and it can unearth competing goals and desires within the family. Beyond the financial and emotional aspects, land transfer is also a legal transaction with linkages to Internal Revenue code provisions governing various taxation treatments. The Intergenerational Land Transfer Program is discussed in another of this edition’s articles. The program is designed to assist families as they navigate the many decisions inherent in transferring land from the current-owner generation to a family member in the next generation. The authors report the program has been instrumental as support for families making these difficult land transfer decisions. The experiences of this program may be useful to others assisting families with land transfer decisions.
Communities of Practice (CoP) bring together professionals with a shared passion around a specific concern, such as financial capability. CoPs s are advanced through the collaborative learning domain that seeks best practices, maps knowledge, and identifies gaps. CoPs foster relationships within the community, facilitate discussions about developments and trends, and engender collective responsibility for response. The response results in the performance of practice delivering impactful outputs for the benefit of the intended audience. One of this issue’s articles discusses the history of the Financial Security for All (FSA) CoP. When it launched, this CoP was unique in that its members hailed from land grant universities across the United States and that the CoP conducted nearly all of its work in a virtual space. FSA has been an important venue for both developing professionals in the field and for serving consumers across the nation. The article chronicles FSA’s inception and its many accomplishments, and it points to the future. In true CoP fashion, an invitation is extended to join the CoP as it embraces and meets the challenges ahead.
FFCI extends its appreciation to Suzanne Bartholomae and Karen Richel for their generous gift of time and talent as Guest Editors. The work of creating this edition of FFCI the journal is a hallmark of their commitment to a sustained and meaningful conversation within our profession.
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.
Advancing scientific inquiry, the Land Grant Mission, and information for enhanced quality of life.
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