Barbara O’Neill, Ph.D., CFP® Extension Specialist in Financial Resource Management Rutgers Cooperative Extension
Americans struggling to make money management decisions in a complex marketplace have a new educational tool at their disposal. The eXtension (pronounced ee-extension) Personal Finance Web site brings together a wealth of research-based university information on all aspects of attaining personal financial security. To visit the site, go to: www.extension.org and click on Personal Finance. eXtension provides Internet visitors with reliable and up-to-date financial information through online lessons for self-paced learning and a database of over 1,100 frequently asked questions (FAQs) with research-based, peer-reviewed answers about specialized areas of personal finance. Publications and answers to FAQs on a wide variety of financial topics (e.g., consumer credit, insurance, estate planning, homeownership, income taxes, and saving and investing) are available to consumers 24/7/365 at no cost. The Personal Finance Web site was developed through the collaboration of Financial Security for All Community of Practice members—Cooperative Extension Service professionals with expertise in financial planning and family economics. It addresses the learning needs of three target audiences -- Financial Stability for people facing personal and family transitions such as bankruptcy, the loss of a job, or a health crisis; Youth Financial Literacy for children through young adults as well as parents and educators working with the next generation of spenders, savers and investors, and Financial Security in Later Life for baby boomers facing retirement and older adults striving to preserve and transfer wealth. Land-grant universities were founded on the ideals that higher education should be accessible to all and that the university should teach practical subjects and share the university's knowledge with people throughout their states. eXtension is an educational partnership of more than 70 land grant universities helping Americans improve their lives with access to timely, objective, research-based information. Included in eXtension is the best information from the Cooperative Extension System’s network of 106 universities and more than 3,000 county offices in every State, the District of Columbia, and seven U.S. territories. Personal finance is just one of over a dozen subject matter areas that are part of eXtension. Other topics include family caregiving, horticulture, parenting education, entrepreneurship, and horses. The www.extension.org/personal_finance Personal Finance Web site provides links to in-depth learning lessons written by Cooperative Extension experts and non-profit financial education partners. Examples include the Credit Union National Association’s Thrive by Five, to help pre-schoolers learn money basics, and PBS’s What’s Up in Finance to help youth transition to financial independence. Financial calculators such as Utah State University Extension’s PowerPay are also available to help consumers test a pending financial decision before taking action. Other resources include a glossary of personal finance terms and links to dozens of Cooperative Extension publications. Got financial questions? With eXtension’s Ask an Expert (ATE) function, an Extension educator will reply to consumer questions in 48 hours or less with general information, including where to go for more details, and guidance for gaining the knowledge, skills, and motivation to make informed financial decisions. “Credible,” “Reliable,” “Research-based,” and “Personal.” These are just some of the words that have been used to describe eXtension. If you haven’t visited eXtension’s Personal Finance Web site yet, do so today.