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National Extension Money Management 1

Managing money effectively to meet present needs and future goals is a learned skill. Working as learning partners with adults and youth, as individuals and families, the Cooperative Extension System has the capacity and expertise to be key contributors to a financially literate America.

Financial Literacy for Americans

Through its base program, Family Development and Resource Management, Extension pledges to "strengthen the capacity of families to establish and maintain economic security." The Cooperative Extension System has eight decades of experience in personal and family money management education.

The National Extension Money Management Education Framework clearly and succinctly articulates the core and common ground of Extension's work in this area. It is designed to be equally illustrative for Extension educators, university administrators, public and private collaborators, decision-makers, researchers, mass media representatives, and community partners. The framework can be a foundation for program development, a marketing tool, and a guidepost for tracking program impacts. Most importantly, the framework summarizes what Extension can and does deliver.

Certainly, Extension money management educators do not do this work alone. Community economic development creates jobs so individuals have money to manage. Money decisions for families have psychological and sociological impacts as well as economic ones. The educational agenda informs research, and vice versa. Extension works with private, public, and non-profit groups to be effective money management educators.

Today, the complexity of the financial products and services industry, along with rapid changes in technology, information availability, and policy, demands an educated consumer. Join Extension in working toward a financially literate nation.

Guiding Principles of Extension Money Management Education

Basic guiding principles serve as a catalyst for the development, implementation, evaluation, and marketing of effective Extension money management education programs. They identify that unique blend of skills and beliefs that Extension educators bring to money management education. Rising from a research-based foundation, these guiding principles provide the framework whereby current and future programming efforts can help meet the critical needs of Extension clientele as they manage their financial resources.

Basic guiding principles serve as a catalyst for the development, implementation, evaluation, and marketing of effective Extension money management education programs. They identify that unique blend of skills and beliefs that Extension educators bring to money management education. Rising from a research-based foundation, these guiding principles provide the framework whereby current and future programming efforts can help meet the critical needs of Extension clientele as they manage their financial resources.

SKILLS

Effective Extension Educators:

  • Possess good communication skills
  • Are familiar with community resources
  • Are compassionate,empathetic, and non-judgmental
  • Are sensitive and responsive to cultural, ethnic, and regional differences
  • Exhibit a non-threatening approach
  • Have the ability to "start with families where they are"
  • Have a grounding in basic principles and concepts of financial management
  • Are skilled in the principles of adult education
  • Are knowledgeable about child/youth developmental stages and characteristics
  • Are good listeners and are sensitive to the needs of others

BELIEFS

About Individuals and Families . . .

Extension educators believe that every individual and every family can:

  • Have control over their lives
  • Make changes when they have the capacity to change
  • Be self-reliant
  • Help themselves
  • Collaborate in learning
  • Make decisions about money consistent with their values
  • Distinguish between needs and wants
  • Benefit from knowing their financial rights and responsibilities
  • Improve the quality of their lives by practicing sound money management behaviors

About Education . . .

Extension educators believe:

  • All people have the capacity to learn
  • People empower themselves and acquire knowledge and skills through a collaborative, life-long process
  • People's actions affect themselves, their families, and their communities
  • All people benefit from enhancing life skills
  • Learning is best achieved when approached as an interdependent and interactive process

About Communities . . .

Extension educators believe:

  • The economic strength of a community depends upon the financial literacy and prosperity of its citizens
  • Community development and personal development are interdependent
  • The leadership and knowledge for defining local problems and implementing solutions lies within the community
  • Every community possesses strengths which, when drawn upon, result in civic commitment and positive action

POSITIONING FOR SUCCESS

Careful planning, implementing, evaluating, and marketing are critical to successful Extension money management educational programming, both now and in the future. Positioning Extension for success involves continued and expanded efforts toward:

  • INTEGRATING . . . comprehensive programming that addresses the complex needs of individuals, families, and communities rather than just addressing one facet of the problem/issue.
  • TARGETING . . . educational programs toward audiences with critical needs and/or toward critical issues, while reducing or eliminating programming that no longer addresses critical issues.
  • TRANSITIONING . . . to issues-based programming that addresses current and future issues, needs, and challenges.
  • FOCUSING . . . on educational programming that builds upon existing strengths of individuals, families, and communities.
  • LINKING . . . program delivery systems to individual, family, and community needs and well-being.
  • CREATING . . . a learning environment where individuals, families, and communities can effectively access information and other technology to their best advantage.
  • EXPANDING . . . thinking beyond traditional audiences and programming paradigms about who, what, when, where, and how.
  • INVOLVING . . . individuals, families, and communities in the who, what, when, where, and how of their learning.
  • NETWORKING . . . to establish, expand, and refine collaborations, partnerships, and linkages with other organizations, agencies, groups, and businesses while minimizing turf barriers and maintaining visibility.
  • EVALUATING . . . key programming efforts to determine impacts on individuals, families, and communities and to provide accountability for the Cooperative Extension System.
  • EMPOWERING . . . individuals, families, and communities to enhance their ability to further family economic security and become involved and proactive in public policy decisions related to personal money management.
  • INCREASING VISIBILITY . . . by defining, clarifying, and articulating the mission, role, goals, and impacts of the Cooperative Extension System to the public and public policy decision-makers at all levels.
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