Barbara O’Neill, Ph.D., CFP®
Extension Specialist in Financial Resource Management
Rutgers Cooperative Extension
2014 marks the 100th anniversary of Cooperative Extension nationwide. Our organization was established with the passage of the Smith-Lever Act in 1914 to bring research-based knowledge from land-grant universities to American families. 2014 is also the 10th anniversary of Cooperative Extension’s Small Steps to Health and Wealth™ (SSHW) program. Conceived by Rutgers Cooperative Extension in 2004 to integrate health and personal finance education, SSHW has been replicated in over a dozen states.
The SSHW program encourages people to make positive behavior changes to simultaneously improve their health and personal finances. It focuses on small daily action steps (e.g., cutting 100 calories and saving $1 a day plus loose change) that achieve significant results over time. Most people who successfully lose weight or accumulate wealth do so through small daily personal behavior changes.
So what makes some people practice positive health and financial behaviors while others don’t? Many people, including health and financial educators and behavioral researchers, are interested in knowing the answer to this question. Findings from recent research studies provide some interesting insights:
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