NIFA Celebrates America Saves Week February 25-March 2
WASHINGTON, Feb. 25, 2013 – As part of a government-wide collaboration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is celebrating America Saves Week, Feb. 25-March 2, to encourage all individuals to take action daily to improve their personal finances. To celebrate, USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the Cooperative Extension System (CES) are launching “2013 America Saves Challenge,” an online challenge for individuals and families to set a financial goal, make a plan and save automatically.
“The recent economic crisis has highlighted how essential it is that individuals – young and old – have the information, education and tools they need to make wise financial decisions in an increasingly complex U.S. and global financial system,” said Sonny Ramaswamy, NIFA director. “The Cooperative Extension System offers essential programs to individuals and families by delivering family and consumer economics programs. By partnering with Cooperative Extension, USDA is able to make tremendous contributions to individuals living in rural and urban America.”
NIFA recognizes the efforts of land-grant universities that offer personal finance, consumer sciences and family resource management curriculum. The CES provides personal financial programs and distributes educational materials to individuals and families in the Extension programs areas of: family and consumer sciences, 4-H youth development, agriculture and community development. Another accessible resource enabling individuals to obtain personal financial information is eXtension, a Cooperative Extension website at www.extension.org/personal_finance.
To participate in the America Saves Challenge, visit the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Small Steps to Health and Wealth™ Challenge website. Set up a user name and password and download a one-page user’s guide with instructions about how to proceed.
“The nation’s financial attitude, behavior and knowledge starts with the family unit,” said Caroline Crocoll, director of NIFA’s Family and Consumer Sciences Division. “Individuals and families communicate and make informed economic decisions based on their own values. Children learn these values, attitudes, behaviors and money management practices from their parents.”
“Starting Early for Financial Success,” the theme adopted by the U.S. Financial Literacy Education Commission (FLEC), will empower Americans to make wise decisions regarding their personal finances. As part of FLEC, the Division of Family and Consumer Sciences at NIFA partners with the CES to deliver programming in local communities that focuses on five core areas: earning income, spending, saving and investing, borrowing and protecting finances. This programming helps support the nation’s financial stability, because financial literacy among individuals and families has a dramatic impact on the financial health of local communities and regional markets.
FLEC is comprised of 22 federal entities and is chaired by the U.S. Treasury Department. One of FLEC’s primary responsibilities is to develop and promote financial literacy in the United States. Along with the 22 federal partners, NIFA is engaged in implementing the 2011 National Strategy for Financial Literacy, designed to empower Americans to make wise decisions regarding their personal finances.
Congress established FLEC through passage of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act of 2003. The 2011 Vision of the National Strategy for Financial Literacy seeks “to foster a culture in which households take periodic stock of their financial situations, individuals seek information and ask questions before entering into financial transactions, and everyone has the information and tools needed to help manage debt, save to meet their financial goals, and plan for secure financial futures.”
Through federal funding and leadership for research, education and extension programs, NIFA focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people's daily lives and the nation's future. More information is available at: www.nifa.usda.gov and about family and consumer economics at www.nifa.usda.gov/financialsecurity.cfm.