Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
Jan. 9, 1998

Extension program promotes personal savings over three years

by Anne Dolan

Employees who need a gentle push to develop -- and stick to - - a savings plan may be interested in a program offered through ISU Extension.

Money 2000 is a free, do-it-yourself program that encourages participants to save $2,000 or buy down their credit debt by $2,000 by the end of the year 2000.

"It's a challenge to Iowans to set a goal now and by the end of 2000, we hope they will be happier with where they're at," said Ruth Freeman, an extension field specialist in family resource management for an eight-county area in central Iowa. "The goals of family communication and planning are as important as their savings goals."

Money 2000 is a response to a needs assessment of Iowans completed by county extension staffs two years ago, Freeman said. Statewide, one of the top five concerns was a lack of savings and excessive use of credit to make purchases.

Saving $2,000 in the next three years means setting aside $12.82 every week. Some may find that an impossible hurdle; others may be able to set their goals higher, Freeman noted.

Participants receive a quarterly newsletter containing suggestions for achieving goals and information on relevant publications available through extension. Twice a year the newsletter will include a return form so participants can report their progress to ISU extension. The program also will offer optional, informational meetings at the county level, and videotapes for participants who prefer to learn at home.

Freeman said Iowa is one of about a half dozen states initially promoting the program. Other states' land-grant universities are sponsoring Money 2000 as well. The program was developed by researchers at Rutgers University and is featured in the January issue of Money magazine.

To request an enrollment packet, contact Jim Trow, extension publications and distribution, 4-5247, or the extension office in your county.

"This is a chance for people to impact their futures," Freeman said. "Too often, we just move through life, not thinking about where we really want to go, much less how to get there."

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