Financial Education Programs

Building Strong Families

The Building Strong Families:  Challenges and Choices program helps families build strengths, face challenges and make choices.  (Two hour sessions)

Topics include:  family strengths, communicating, child self-care, food and fitness, positive discipline, healthy house, kids and self-esteem, Managing Stress, Working, Go For It!, Money Matters, Balancing Responsibilities, and Consumer Beware.

Home Ownership Made Easier (HOME)

Often, home ownership is one of the first steps for family financial stability and security.  Participants, to date, are primarily underrepresented audiences for MU Extension.  Target audience for the two hour HOME course is USDA Rural Development clients.

Topics include: developing a spending plan, writing goals, tracking spending; analysis of credit reports; how to correct errors on credit reports; quality strategies for improving credit reports and FICO scores; accessing free credit reports; cost of consumer credit from various sources, including predatory lenders; managing credit in addition to mortgage debt; identity theft avoidance; factors impacting price; negotiating; terms; working effectively with professionals; buying home owner's insurance with confidence; home weatherization, home maintenance and repairs and additional related topics.  Cost is $60 per person.

Safeguard Your Savings

This program is designed to empower citizens to be educated investors.  Many avoid planning for their futures because they feel they need more information or expertise to make such decisions.  Safeguard Your Savings will teach the basics of financial planning;  how to invest; saving for college, a home or retirement; setting up and managing a retirement account; and avoiding scams. 

Small Steps to Health and Wealth

By attending one of the Small Steps to Health and Wealth workshops, you will hear about 20 similarities between health and wealth issues discovered by researching financial parallels for expert health recommendations and vice versa.  Most importantly, you will learn about 25 behavior change strategies that can be simultaneously applied to improve both your health and personal finances.

The workbook for the workshop will provide you with information to help you take charge of your future.  They were designed primarily to provide motivation to take action to improve your health and personal finances.  Each of the 25 behavior change strategies has health and wealth action steps and one or more worksheets that provide an opportunity to apply the strategy to your health and wealth goals and life situation.  This workshop is a one day long session.  Cost is $25 per person.

Taking Care of You

Taking Care of You is based on concepts and strategies from the evidenced-based group program, mindfulness based-stress reduction program (MBSR) founded by Jon Kabat-Zinn with University of Massachusetts School of Medicine; as well as research-based concepts and strategies from the field of positive psychology.  The Taking Care of You program was developed to help participants reduce stress levels and improve lifestyle behaviors. Over the eight program sessions, participants learn about concepts and practical strategies they can incorporate into their everyday lives to better deal with life's challenges/stress through discussions, mini-lectures and experiential opportunities.  Program participants are provided opportunities to practice strategies during the program sessions and are encouraged to use program strategies outside of class.

Stress adversely affects our health physiologically through for example increasing blood pressure, stomach problems, sleep problems, decreased immunity and poorer glycemic control in diabetics.  It negatively influences our psychological health making one more susceptible to mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety,  Finally, according to the American Psychological Association stress is associated with less healthy lifestyle behaviors such as eating a diet higher in fat and sugar, sedentary behaviors, tobacco use and increased alcohol intake.  As a result, stress is a major component in the cause of obesity and many of the major chronic conditions that are the leading causes of death in United States such as heart disease, stroke, lung disease and cancer, making the cost to the public insurmountable.  Due to the connection between stress and lifestyle behaviors, this stress management program is evaluated for its effectiveness to improve not only stress levels but also various lifestyle behaviors such as nutrition, physical activity, and aspects of one's mental well-being.  Results of the program evaluation show that participants significantly decrease stress levels and improve lifestyle behaviors as a result of the program and such improvements are maintained at three months following the program.  The program is four two hour session or one day long event.  Cost is $25 per person

Financial Security in Later Life

Financial security is the ability to meet future needs while keeping pace with day-to-day obligations.  Preparing for retirement and potential long-term care costs takes planning, saving and debt control.  This University of Missouri Extension initiative seeks to help people improve personal finance behaviors leading to financial security in later life, enhance the capacity of local educators and their partners to deliver effective programs and increase economic vitality and quality of life for families and communities.

Credit Score:  The Most Important Number in Your Financial Life

Have you been denied for credit or a loan?  Do you know what your credit score is and what it means for your financial life?  The goal of building a respectable credit rating diminishes when you struggle to comprehend what is contained in your credit report.  If you don't have a good credit score or maybe you don't have a credit score at all!  Using your own credit report and credit score, this workshop series will help you identify your credit score and learn steps you can take to improve your credit score.  The program is four two hour sessions or one day lone event.  Cost is $40 per person.

High School Financial Planning Program (HSFPP)

The innovative HSFPP uses contemporary materials to teach the basics of personal finance to young people while they are developing habits and attitudes about money that will influence them for the rest of their lives.  It is based on the philosophy that learning about money is as important as earning it - and that effective money management results from a disciplined behavior, which is most easily mastered if learned early in life.  This practical and objective program is available at no cost to all high schools throughout the country.

The NEFE HSFPP is offered in partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extensive Service and participating Land-Grant University Cooperative Extension Services; and with the Credit Union National Association, Inc., and America's Credit Unions.

As a complement and enhancement to the NEFE High School Financial Planning Program, NEFE provides its first web based training program. The course is aimed at teachers and others who work with young people and provides background information on personal finance and features myriad suggestions and examples that can be applied to classroom exercises and discussions.  This program is free to schools.

Missouri Taxpayer Educational Initiative (MOTax)

MOTax serves as a gateway to financial education through taxpayer assistance.  MOTax offers preparation of federal and state tax returns to low-income families and uses this opportunity to emphasize the importance of financial planning management.  MOTax is supported by University of Missouri Extension along with federal and local partners.

When Creditors are Predators

Predatory Lending is the practice of charging excessive fees for loans that are not in a borrower's best interest, sometimes through targeted, aggressive sales tactics, unscrupulous claims or failure to disclose all terms.  The Predatory Lending program will assist participants to learn how to make wise decisions regarding their lending choices.

Women's Financial Educations Series

The Women's Financial Education Series (WFES) is a multi-session workshop that helps women to improve money management skills, increase current levels of financial knowledge, develop confidence in decision making abilities and gain control over lives by taking control over their finances.

Making Money County

A curriculum designed to address the need for financial management education.  It can be used as a train the trainer curriculum targeting helping professionals who work with individuals and families having financial problems.  Topics include:  introduction to money management; developing a spending plan; record keeping; credit; communication about money; insurance; and consumer issues.  Each session includes background information as well as activities, handouts and worksheets for one-on-one or group settings.

You Know Who You Are; Who Else Does Too?

Identity theft has become a new "industry".  Millions of dollars are spent in attempts to prevent identity theft and to deal with identity theft after it has occurred.  Estimated time spent in resolving problems associated with identity theft - 2 to 200 hours.  When people are aware of identity theft, they can better protect themselves against becoming a victim.

People often fall victim to identity theft, no fault to themselves.  Many have their bank checks imprinted with their full name, address, phone number and driver's license number.  For many, their license number is also their social security number.  Protecting oneself from identity theft is often quite simple - be very conscious of the information you are providing to others.  With education comes awareness - the goal of this program.

Who Gets Grandma's Yellow Pie Plate?

This program is designed to help families distribute their non-titled property.

Smart Credit Use

High school students are receiving credit card applications in the mail.  They will be exposed to credit card issuers on college campuses across the United States.  Education of our youth as to how to use credit cards wisely and not abuse them, could lead to better money managers as adults.  Program is free to schools.

Money Apron

Youth in first grade learn how to identify money, what can be used as money, what people can do to earn money, as well as, the difference between needs and wants.  All of this information is shared with the help of a large orange apron and props/toys.

Originally created as "Where Does Money Come From and Where Does it Go?: An Apron Pocket Story" by Nancy Bilitho, Education Coordinator for the Consumer Credit Counseling Service.   Dr. Rebecca Travnichek revised the material to better meet the needs of today's youth.  The original "apron" used colored (not green) miniature paper money, enlarged plastic coins and tiny paper credit cards.  Dr. Rebecca Travnichek uses actual paper bills, "real" coins, a few of her own credit cards and her checkbook.  Also included is foreign currency from Costa Rica, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and Iraq.  Free to schools.

True Colors

Dr. Rebecca Travnicheck is a trained and certified facilitator of True Colors.  The program helps people understand why certain behaviors prevail.  It allows for a better understanding of family, friends and co-workers so that fewer conflicts arise.  Cost is $25 per person which includes a book.

Your Money, Your Goals:  A financial empowerment toolkit for social services programs

Finances affect nearly every aspect of life in the United States.  But many people feel overwhelmed by their financial situations and they don't know where to go for help.  This is a train-the-trainer curriculum for social workers/case managers.  They are in a unique position to provide that help.  Their clients already know and trust them, and in many cases, they're already sharing financial and other personal information with their case managers.  The financial stresses individuals face may interfere with their progress toward other goals, and providing financial empowerment information and tools is a natural extension of what case managers are already doing.

Financial empowerment includes financial education and financial literacy, but it is focused both on building the ability of individuals to manage money and use financial services and on providing access to products that work for them.  Financially empowered individuals are informed and skilled.  They know where to get help with their financial challenges.  This sense of empowerment can build confidence that they can effectively use their financial knowledge, skills and resources to reach their goals.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's mission is to make markets for consumer financial products and services work for Americans - whether they are applying for a mortgage, choosing among credit cards, or using any number of other consumer financial products.  Above all, this means ensuring that consumers get the information they need to make the financial decisons they believe are best for themselves and their families - that prices are clear up front, that risks are visible and that nothing is buried in fine print.

Youth Mental Health First Aid

The Youth Mental Health First Aid training presents an overview of mental illness and substance use disorders in the United States and introduces participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems, builds understanding of their impact and overviews common treatments.  Participants who take the eight hour course are certified as Youth Mental Health First Aiders.  They learn a five step action plan encompassing the skills, resources and knowledge to help an individual in crisis connect with appropriate professional, peer, social and self-help care.

Annie's Project - Risk Management Education for Farm Women

This is a program designed around specific educational and social needs of Midwestern farm women.  Farm women, young and old (ages 19 to 84) participate in the six workshops for a total of 18 hours.  Teams of instructors, which represent University of Missouri Extension, government and private agri-businesses deliver educational programming in the five areas of risk:  production management, financial management, marketing, legal issues and human resources.  Annie's participants learn about personality characteristics and traits through True Colors.  Also, they learn about money management, constructing a business plan, financial documents, marketing, ownership of assets and leasing issues.  Instructors not only teach, but also encourage interactive discussion and debate among the women.  In this environment women find answers and build their confidence by sharing experiences.  To accommodate lively discussions and an environment that fosters questions, the groups remain fairly small in size from 8 to 30 women, with the average size of 15.  Key local instructors are recruited and trained so women can begin building their teams of professionals and network support.

Annie's project teaches farm women about computer and internet use to improve their record keeping and decision making skills.  In a hands-on environment, women familiar with computers are paired with women who have little or no computer skills.  Women with little farm experience are mentored by women with years of experience.  Specifically participants are trained to use spreadsheets to improve their decision making abilities and/or lend support to decision makers of the farm operation.  Beyond the six week course, the participants continue to serve as mentors to one another, and are given an opportunity to continue their education on-line through Iowa State's Agricultural Management e-School.

Managing for Today and Tomorrow

Creating a transition plan to make sure a farm continues as a productive, agricultural business can be challenging.  Farm women can have a key role in successful farm transitions.  "Managing for Today and Tomorrow", a new Annie's Project course for women is divided into the following planning areas:

  • Succession Planning - Transferring knowledge, skills, labor, management, control and ownership between generations
  • Business Planning - Developing goals, strategies and actions that form a road map to business growth
  • Estate Planning - Managing an individual's asset base in one's lifetime, at death or after death
  • Retirement Planning - Designing an enjoyable and productive time in life

University of Missouri Extension specialists and local professionals will teach the sessions on business, estate, retirement and succession planning.  Besides brief presentations, there will be discussions based on participant questions and follow-up activities for family members to complete at home.