Managing Money in Tough Times Chat

Personal Finance August 11, 2011 Print Friendly and PDF

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Chat Session: Managing Money in Tough Times: Answers to Your Questions from eXtension Experts

Topic: Managing Money in Troubled Times
Chat Date and Time: January 22, 2009 from 11:00 to 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time

For further information on this topic, please read "Managing Money in Tough Times" information and articles at: Financial_Security:_Managing_Money_in_Tough_Times and Managing Money in Tough Times: Taking Charge in Challenging Times.

Number of Participants: 178 (Estimated, based on those entering, filtered for duplicates)

Chat Record of Questions, Answers, Comments:
NOTE: This record is from an online, live chat. The major topics have been captured in the material below. If you have further questions, please search eXtension for more in-depth and detailed information.

The presenters were:

  • Dr. Michael Gutter, Financial Management Specialist, University of Florida
  • Dr. Barbara O’Neill, Specialist in Financial Resource Management, Rutgers Cooperative Extension
  • Dr. Nancy Porter, Family Resource Management Specialist, Clemson Cooperative Extension


  • Dr. Liz Gorham, Extension Family Resource Management Specialist, South Dakota State University

FSA CoP Evaluation Co-Coordinator:

  • Dr. Elizabeth Kiss, Purdue University Extension, Family Resource Management Specialist

Moderator: Welcome to our Chat on Managing Money in Tough Times. Hi! I’m Liz Gorham (South Dakota State University) your moderator for today’s chat along with our technician, Dustin Hyatt (Connect System). Today’s chat, that will last about one hour, is sponsored and supported by members of the Financial Security for All Community of Practice. Out team of experts responding to your questions include Extension specialists: Dr. Barbara O’Neill, Rutgers University; Dr. Nancy Porter, Clemson University; and Dr. Michael Gutter, University of Florida. All are highly qualified to talk about this subject; their photos and qualifications were displayed online at If you send an email to you will receive notice when a transcribed copy of this chat can be viewed on the eXtension Website. While we are waiting for more participants to join us, please respond to the poll questions on the screen.

Moderator: We are waiting for all to have a chance to respond to the polls before opening it up for questions. Thank you for your patience!

Moderator: Thank you, your response to the polls is duly noted. We are now ready to receive your questions. You will find the box at the bottom of your screen to type in your question. DO NOT HIT THE ENTER KEY UNTIL you are finished typing your question; your typed message will wrap around. You do not need to print your name; the program tells us who is sending the question. Your questions please! Moderator: For those joining this call late, this discussion, after grammatical errors have been corrected, will be organized by topical areas and posted on the eXtension Website for your future reference. This will include responses from everyone and links. Please send the links to Michael Gutter if not listed.


Question: What are your personal favorite tips for saving a little money?

Answer: Saving $1 a day plus change = about $50 per month

Answer: I just refinanced my mortgage from 6.125% to 4.875%.

Answer: I personally like to try to find creative ways to spend family time together for little money. I like simply going outside or playing games. Kids love spending time with their parents.

Comment: I save every $5 bill I get.

Comment: Go to basic instead of expanded cable.

Comment: Clearance racks are my first shopping destinations. I'm still buying Christmas bargains at 70% off.

Comment: Bring lunch instead of buying it--saves at least $30/wk or $120/month.

Comment: The part about eating out, you only save money if you take the amount that lunch would have cost out of your wallet and save it; otherwise it is just spent somewhere else.

Comment: Plan out your meals for the week ahead--and stick to it. That way you won't find yourself rushing out to the grocery store at the last minute or ordering out.

Comment: Besides using my local thrift stores for bargains, I try to see how many days within a week I can go without buying anything.

Comment: Here in Montana one drug store has 90% off holiday stuff."

Comment: I saw 90% off sales in NJ too.

Comment: Don't pay more than $.50 for cards (some dollar stores...if they charge $1.00, I consider that too high).

Comment: I only go out to restaurants that provide discount coupons and I eat out less.

Comment: Yes, right now it is a great time to find bargains at stores.

Comment: My fiancé and I have put our credit cards away in our house-- we don't carry them so there is no temptation to use them for "little things" that add up fast.


Question: Should people even worry about saving if they have outstanding credit card debt?

Answer: One consideration is what the cost of the debt is. However, assuming average interest rates one should certainly allocate more to debt right now, but I never recommend people stop saving entirely.

Answer: Well said. I agree that savings is often not the issue. That said - employer based accounts when available are often the best way to begin for many families.

Question: What are some ways to get limited resource families and individuals to start saving money?

Answer: Some investments can be purchased for small sums such as $100 for Treasury securities.

Answer: Unit 3 of the Investing for Your Future Learning Lesson ( gives some ideas of saving small amounts of money.

Answer: There is other relevant information on eXtension at


Question: What do you tell people who are scared about retirement? What do you tell people who are afraid to start a retirement savings account because they feel it is not a safe market?

Answer: You need to reiterate that investing is a long-term proposition for goals that are at least 5 years away. Historically stocks have outperformed other investments.

Answer: Be prepared for compromise. I know many retirees are adjusting lifestyles. Many are working at least part time. One simple strategy is for people to not increase withdrawals for inflation. Otherwise change and flexibility will be essential. However panic or making rash moves with investments may only make matters worse.

Comment: Anyone facing retirement in the near future should have at least 3 years of living expenses not covered by Social Security or other sources in cash so they won't have to access a diminished stock portfolio when the market is down.

Question: Where should I put IRA contribution for 2009?

Answer: I would say to think about dollar-cost averaging in your accounts. By buying shares when prices are low - you bring down your average purchase price on the assets. However, this also depends on your timeframe.

Question: If an individual has had a substantial amount of their retirement account invested in stocks and suffered a 24% drop in value, should they rebalance at this time or stay the course and hope that, by retirement, they have recovered the loss? Would shifting to less volatile accounts hamper their ability to regain value or do you think there will be more down turn in stocks?

Comment: The market has undoubtedly rebalanced their portfolio for them. They need to determine their true investment risk tolerance level and stick with it. Unfortunately, nobody knows where stock prices are headed in the near term. All we can go on is past historical performance.

Question: What do you think of Suze Orman's new book? She suggests reducing the amount put into 401ks and 403bs, and putting more into Roth IRAs because of future tax implications.

Comment: I just started reading the book. Yes, I'd agree to prioritize savings in a Roth IRA over a 401(k) if there is no more employer matching due to the recession.

Question: Given all of the transactional activity within actively managed mutual funds, in terms of changing the portfolio, does dollar cost averaging still work? Does anyone have a professional study that reviews the dollar cost averaging results in such a period of market volatility - particularly when investments are made, say bi-weekly and the market volatility is significant from day to day?

Question: Knowing what the economy is right now, should a person cut back on what is being applied to retirement or increase or stay the same?

Answer: It depends...if they have limited emergency reserves, they may want to beef them up for a while. Suze Orman’s new book recommends 8 months of emergency fund savings.

Answer: It does depend on where you are financially. However if you have plenty of time and are falling behind in your bills, then I would certainly say cutting back may be prudent. Remember, you don't want to lose the match or compounding.

Question: Is now a good time to invest in stocks?

Answer: I believe so, assuming people have a good emergency fund no or low debt, and adequate insurance and goals that are 5+ more years away.

Question: What do you tell people who are in retirement or near about their fears of the market and how that is going to or is already affecting retirement?

Question: The onus of investing has been placed on the consumer with the transition from defined benefit to defined contribution plans but wouldn't you agree that there isn't the advice or help available for the low to moderate income investors? How do we correct that?

Answer: Increased workplace education programs would certainly help. Also, some financial planners target middle income consumers.

Question: Don't you think if firms offered pro-bono services this could help close that gap? Similar to the requirement for all CPAs to have community service hours?

Answer: Actually FPA (Financial Planning Association) has a pro bono program where many financial planners provide free services. Question: How much would low/moderate income people be willing to pay and can advisors deliver advice profitably for that money? Pro bono can reach only a tiny, tiny sliver of the population, and really most moderate income people won't deserve it.

Comment: I'm talking about someone sitting down with this low to moderate income people and helping them come up with a financial plan.

Comment: I really think there's got to be a way to educate investors (no sales) and them provide advice (disclosure and fiduciary duty required) so they can make the most of what they have

Comment: I hope it's eXtension.

Question: Don't you think the problem with investing is that most Americans don't have the $$$ that firms require to even begin managing their money? If someone only has $5K or $10K, they aren't getting the advice they need.

Comment: While accumulating monies, many participants gain access to professional money management through target maturity models/funds. Consider adding those options to your savings plan at work. Typically available from most IRA vendors.

Question: Why don't you think firms would want to do the pro-bono....if they could get some sort of credit like CPAs?

Answer: I would like to think that some would. I do think as always that moving to a formal recognition system for CFP Practitioners would make this work.

Answer: I cannot say for sure but I would like to think they or even the CFP Board itself might be willing to embrace such a plan.

Question: Who/what is FPA??

Comment: Financial Planning Association

Question: Do you have any examples besides FPA?

Comment: AARP used to have good materials and many volunteers...would love to see them give service to communities again at this time.

Comment: Many local non-profits offer exactly what you are asking in your 2 questions.

Answer: Some middle income planners are charging $100 to $200 an hour. Yes, this can be high for many folks. Some non-profits may be able to assist them.

Comment: The average rate for a CFP to provide financial planning is $162 an hour. There has to be some form of compensation and I'm not sure low to middle income families would be willing to pay very much --comes back to Extension or marketing that draws them into nationally recognized programs Extension doesn't compete very well.

Question: If I am talking to a young person who has some money to invest, what is a good website for to send them to that will keep them excited about the process and want to learn more?

Answer: Investing for Your Future ( is an excellent online learning lesson in eXtension for young people who are beginning investors with small amounts to invest.

Answer: I would suggest Investing for Your Future for a website/program. Are you thinking more about a class/seminar or print material or web-based?

Question: How often is Investing For Your Future updated for the online version?

Answer: Quite a bit...every time there is a tax law change. IFYF was also completely reviewed and updated in 2008.

Question: For those of us who have a previous hard copy version - is there a way that we can update the publications?

Answer: You'll need to print it off the Web. There are no more print copies. There will also be a new IFYF for Farm Families in Moodle.

Question: I just think there needs to be a better way to educate investors. We're expecting Americans to know how to manage their money and be savvy but we're not giving them the tools we need so we see rising debt, foreclosures etc. What I was suggesting is some way for consumers to get 1) unbiased financial education without a sales pitch and 2) advice on what to do with your money for low/moderate income folks.

Comment: Credit counseling agencies are great at offering help w/prioritizing expenses, and budgeting most of the time for free or super low cost. It's been my experience that many problems w/low to moderate income isn't investing; it's living within their means.

Question: When there was discussion about changing Social Security to private accounts that was my concern, who is going to help low to moderate income understand the choices?

Answer: This is clearly a need for outreach efforts. However, the lack of energy in this area with respect to privatization may be tied to a decline in the momentum around privatization - especially given recent stock market performance.

Comment: I completely agree. Where is the education and upside to privatization? People won't have the means for their retirement. We're not equipping them to succeed.

Comment: Should we ever move to change Social Security, even if only to add a side-car account (part of plan that former president Clinton was considering), we would need to change the process to leverage the emerging field of behavioral finance - so that the investment decision (the default if individuals do not take action) is framed in a manner that is most likely to have a favorable result, for long term, retirement savings.

Comment: I've read some research that this has been effective in other countries and the default actually does better than the self-selected accounts.

Comment: Agree. We frame the investment decision in our 401(k) plan, and, while the market downturn was painful, keeping the focus on the long term helped.

Question: Wouldn't the beneficiaries of better informed/educated consumers be the lending institutions? Why not propose using some TARP money for this purpose?

Question: Do you think the Obama administration would be open to this as a policy suggestion? Perhaps through the President's Advisory Council on Financial Literacy?

Question: Why not send a copy of it to the President's Advisory Council on Financial Literacy? I know they are open to the people's view. They will listen at least.

Comment: Direct deposit offered by the employer works well to get the savings habit started.

Comment: I would like to see more focus on adding more to a savings account or CD, rather than going after higher returns--especially for lower income savers.

Comment: The first goal for new savers should be an emergency savings account.

Comment: Thank you-yes! So many need something more liquid when they are in a bind.

Comment: Even more basic than an emergency fund is savings for non-monthly expenses--nothing wreaks havoc to a budget than those non-monthly expenses.


Question: I am trying to do away with some of our credit cards. I read where it is not always wise to do away with them once they are paid in full, because of the credit rating. Is this true?

Answer: Yes, you need to be careful. If you've held the card a while, it could shorten your credit history and lower your credit score if you close your account. In addition, when you close credit accounts, outstanding card balances will become a higher percentage of your remaining credit lines, which can also lower your credit score. The industry term for this is your credit utilization ratio,

Comment: Use caution when you close accounts, your overall credit score is figured partially on your oldest accounts. Question: Given the status of today's credit crunch, what score represents excellent credit?

Answer: It's now up to about 760 for the best loan rates.

Question: What do we advise homeowners who are experiencing reduced income when their lenders tell them they must fall behind 2 months in their payments before the lender will negotiate their mortgage, and falling behind 2 months on payments hurts their credit?

Comment: Please advise clients who are even one month behind on their mortgage to go to a HUD certified housing counseling agency. And please follow that with: save all the money you can! They will need it for any workout agreement.

Answer: Their policies being what they are - this may be their only recourse. However, I would urge people to try to make drastic cuts elsewhere: get rid of cable television. Otherwise I agree, visiting a local HUD office makes a lot of sense. They may have other ideas or resources.

Comment: I agree, I also find once people feel calmer, they come up with great ideas on how to increase income or decrease expenses.


Comment: While I'm not suggesting that we are in (or heading toward) a depression, I think that we might learn from the depressions of the past by encouraging people to find more low- or no-cost activities to substitute for those costly ones that we've all gotten used to.

Question: Besides the envelope, calendar, or software options, do you have any other tips to help people have a functional budget?

Question: Anyone have suggestions on best software for budgeting, both free and for purchasing? Get many requests for this, especially from young adults.

Question: Any ideas on good budgeting software/books?

Answer: A few other ideas include a simple ledger, steno pad, folding a piece of paper into 8 boxes. Use one box for each day and then the 8th box is for totals.

Comment: PowerPay ( has a great spending plan tab as well as other info.

Comment: See (“paper and pencil” Spending Plan Worksheet) and (Excel spending plan template).

Question: How do you get limited income people to believe there is another way to live? That's the real question. I find the people who need this info the most don't think it even matters.

Answer: Share success stories, particularly about people like them.” Also, give them small assignments to experience success such as saving $1 a day or pocket change.

Answer: Fact sheets and forms can be found on Financial Security: Managing Money in Tough Times (

Answer: Managing Between Jobs is one version at UW – Extension. Comment: Economic crisis is a good time to encourage people to reduce/eliminate unhealthy behaviors such as smoking and eating junk food.

Answer: The Small Steps to Health and Wealth program ( is great to tie these two areas together.

Question: How do you curb the overspending that Americans are facing without a budget?

Answer: It's all about income and outgo. Perhaps some of the strategies in Small Steps to Health and Wealth can help (

Question: In bad economic times, there may be no enjoyment in someone's life other than a cigarette or watching TV with the kids while eating Doritos. How do you tell them to give that up when there is nothing else?

Answer: There is information in Unit 3 of Investing for Your Future learning lesson ( about how to break a habit. This might be one way to approach that subject.

Comment: I think it also takes a longer series of classes to get people thinking about changes.

Comment: I recommend the step-down process; take it down a notch in cost. Or find the real reason they do a behavior and find a cheaper substitute yielding the same effect/result.

Answer: Yes, step-down is a great strategy because people feel less deprived. They can still get what they want, but just at a lower price point.

Question: How do you change attitudes?

Corrected Answer: Research tells us that people need to hear a message several times before they will begin to change attitudes and behavior.

Comment: You encourage them to give up the cigarettes and Doritos to remove that expense from an already stressed budget and to prepare for the better times that are coming. Even more important to change behavior (financial and health) if better times are not coming soon.

Comment: Sometimes I think we miss the boat - the people we see suffering now are the middle class who have to scale back to 1 or 2 cars instead of 3; these people have very different needs than those who are in generational poverty and we, as educators, need to address that.

Comment: I think the overall key is "sacrifice." As educators we can't let our personal bias' affect our clients. We need to help them make the ultimate decision on what changes are going to take place.

Comment: As painful as this may be, perhaps we are taking the wrong approach; maybe we should start with the most basic values (physiological needs) and build upon those instead of starting at the top and encouraging people to cut/reduce. That is, for many people meeting basic needs and little more maybe the best they can achieve.

Question: Has anyone seen any pubs or info on combining households to save $? I think that might be a coming trend.

Answer: I have not seen any pubs on that topic except perhaps in multiple generations deciding to live together to save money.

Comment: Many, many low income families have done this all along. Combining families is common in rural communities as well. I agree - we will be seeing this more.

Comment: Yes, here also, as people lose jobs, they are moving in with their family members.

Comment: I was thinking also of unrelated people, say two single moms, combining forces and renting one space. Seems like some guidelines would be helpful to them.

Comment: Communication skills, listening skills would be good to include when interacting with those who are sharing space with others.

Question: Should individuals sign up for companies' extended warranties on major purchases or credit life insurance when borrowing money?

Answer: Extended warranties are not usually a sound financial decision unless the item is very expensive or has a history of high repair costs (e.g., laptop computers, big screen televisions and exercise equipment, according to Consumer Reports). Credit life insurance is also usually not a good deal. A person could buy term insurance for much less to cover the loss in case of death.

Question: What do you know about cancer insurance?

Answer: Buying insurance for individual risks is like buying toothpaste one squeeze at a time. It is usually better to put your money into the best comprehensive health insurance policies that can be afforded that will cover the most risks.

Comment: Thank you, it's a good line to use with customers.

Comment: Cancer insurance can be like bumper insurance for your car; better to obtain broader coverage for all accidents and illnesses.

Comment: Good resource is This is the Center for a New American Dream with many resources on reducing costs and impact on planet. One slogan they have is More Fun, Less Stuff. They have great resources such as a pub on Kids and Commercialism and Simplifying the Holidays. Go to link and look under Conscious Consumer or pubs.

Comment: Saving electric energy at home and maintaining a healthy environment is an option to save money too.

Comment: Great. Also, driving slower - 40-50, say - efficiency is higher at lower speeds on the highway, so you use less gas.


Question: I would like the group to share ideas on how to get all of our good information to citizens who have lost their job, beyond the media.

Answer: A few ideas are to work with partners involved in social services. They can provide fliers, etc. to participants.

Answer: In addition, I would also suggest placing announcements for classes or materials in places where they frequent; this could include faith-based agencies.

Question: Think of the opportunity if we could come up with a basic fact sheet on stretching money that we used, who could we get to take the lead on this? What is already done that we could all use and do a media blitz?

Question: Can you recommend a good fact sheet series that we can give consumers who need financial management support and who may have lost their job?

Comment: Arkansas has a Displaced Worker Task Force that coordinates services for plant closings and large layoffs. I've worked with them before to provide personal finance information and resources.

Comment: We used the media to promote a Get a Grip on Your Money in 2009 packet in Montana.

Comment: I'm encouraging folks who STILL have a job to reconsider their federal withholding. That $2,600 refund that the commercial preparers and tax prep software makers are getting you is actually a lot of overwithholding and equal to about $50 a week extra they could have in their check - which could be diverted to build an emergency fund and/or pay down debt. Also filing a W-5 form for the advanced earned income tax credit for eligible families could increase their checks an additional $30 or so per week!

Question: Have any of you offered a program on Managing During Tough Times and if so how did it go?

Answer: Barb O'Neill has conducted a two hour PowerPoint presentation about surviving tough times that went well. Question: Can you share the program? Thanks!

Answer: Nancy Porter is currently conducting a series of lunch seminars to Clemson employees who are having to take five days of furlough before June 30. They are using the Taking Charge in Challenging Times publications that are also in eXtension.

Answer: Michael Gutter has a PowerPoint to go with the Managing Money in Tough Times on He would be happy to share it. He also has some of the flipbooks if you needed some. Question: What marketing approaches have been effective in getting our unbiased, research based education in the hands of people who need this education?

Answer: Newspaper case studies worked well for me as a teaching method and for program marketing.

Comment: Thanks for the suggestion. I'm thinking in the larger context but realize it has to be done on a grassroots level with a variety of media as you suggest.

Comment: An educator in Idaho has effectively marketed programs by getting a feature story in Boise's largest daily newspaper. She finds local people the writer can interview and pitches the story to the paper. It takes time, but she ends up with big registration #. The educator finds someone she knows who has taken an Extension class in the past and can exemplify the concepts in the class she's trying to promote.

Comment: That has worked very well in one of our counties in NH too.

Question: Great programming and resources shared, does anyone have evaluations for your programs?

Answer: We are constantly talking about how to effectively evaluate our efforts in the eXtension online environment. We just do not have an excellent way to evaluate our work except for the Google Analytics data that we get.

Comment: I typically include an evaluation tool. I often use a version of a retrospective pre-post.

Question: What are some alternatives to reaching large numbers of people while insuring behavior change with money management besides the strategy of face to face programming over the course of 5-6 weeks?

Answer: Try combining online learning with face-to-face. I always give the personal finance eXtension web address so that people can get more info, take online lessons, and ask questions of experts. I also do Senior Seminars here at Clemson. I give the URL to them for further study.

Comment: You could also set up an on-going blog.

Comment: To reach a large group while ensuring behavior change, before the face to face activity, require prework as the price of admission. One option we have considered in the past is an education program called Money Choices, available I believe to the general public at


Question: Is there some way to link all of the resources around Managing Money in Troubled Times besides going to eXtension? Is there some way to PDF the materials so that consumers can readily access the information? In Michigan I am working to highlight the information on the front page of our website.

Answer: You can link your Extension/University page directly to the information on Managing Money in Troubled Times available at eXtension: There is an effort beginning to explore how to enhance the materials that are made available on a national scale. Stay tuned!

Question: Is there a common place where participants could post the resources that have come up in the chat?

Comment: That's good idea to have a common place for the resources spoken about.

Moderator: Send to for posting materials on the eXtension website. Or, go to the eXtension wiki and enter your resources at:

Comment: For Holiday packet order at

Comment: Purdue Extension has a series of publications on When Your Income Drops

Comment: Arkansas Extension has the fact sheet Living Resourcefully with Reduced Income and several fact sheets in a Stretch Your Dollar series that covers food, leisure, medication, home energy, transportation, etc.

Question: Is that information available to others? We have many who are without jobs and/or looking at layoffs soon. I'd like to offer them a resource.

Comment: Many people do not realize how much money they can save by just cutting/trimming a few dollars a day--here's a simple calculator that I developed to illustrate the savings, Break-A-Habit at:

Comment: You have identified a good process. We need to help families set new goals with considering what their personal values are.

Comment: I agree, I also find once people feel calmer they come up with great ideas on how to increase income or decrease expenses.

Comment: As many in this audience know, Advantage Publication's Where To Find the Money You Need slide calculator suggests specific things to cut back on and helps people change their attitude toward casual discretionary spending.

Question: Does anyone have a good values clarification activity?

Comment: Values clarification activity – Debra Driscoll has one that uses numbers around the room. E-mail me if interested at

Comment: Values clarification activity - Try asking people to list 15 items that they cannot live without, then ask them to reduce the list to just 10. Discuss.

Comment: Check out George Kinder's book, Seven Stages of Money Maturity, for those kinds of values clarification exercises.

Comment: NH has a display of "When the unexpected happens, you can stay afloat -- change your spending habits and watch your money add up." I can send a PDF of this display so that others can use it. We also have a building an emergency fund that can go with this display that I can send a PDF if this would be helpful (Suzann I'll send the PDFs of the display and the emergency fund brochure)

Comment: Ryan Carver, AAA Fair Credit Foundation Utah: We've developed a periodic expenses worksheet to help individuals set a budget for those expenses and set it aside each month.

Answer: Agreed. I teach folks to try to budget for those on a monthly basis...take the annual cost and divide by 12.

Question: How do we deal with the high cost of college?

Comment: I've got a fact sheet up on re: how to reduce the costs for college.

Question: Does anyone have resources to help youth manage during these tough times? I have seen the pubs on eXtension - is there anything more?

Answer: The youth sub-group of the Financial Security for All CoP is working on materials for youth. Some of the Managing in Tough Times articles have information for youth.

Question: How can I get more info about IFYF for Farm Families?

Answer: We are enhancing IFYF for Farm Families as we type. The pilot test will occur in Feb. and March. We plan to have the completely revised program ready in late 2009.

Question: Is it possible to organize the chat into topics with questions at intervals? It's hard to follow the multiple threads

Answer: We cannot organize it as it happens, but we will have the threads of the discussion organized when it is posted to the chat as a transcript.

Question: Anyone want to help me write the family guidebook: How To Have Fun On A Dollar A Day? Contact Jan Andersen

Comment: I'm planning a lesson on Staycations - Laura Connerly

Comment: No time to help right now, but I hope Jan and Laura will share the finished product with us all.

Moderator: We will soon bring this session to an end. Those who may not have had their questions answered are invited to email questions to Michael Gutter, chat leader for our Financial Security for All (FSA) unit, at for a response. Note that several articles from Extension faculty have been shared on the eXtension FSA Website under “Financial Security: Managing Money in Tough Times.”

Moderator: We will take 4 more minutes of questions. We had over 170 people sign on to this chat!

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Moderator: Thank you for participating in this chat about Managing Money in Tough Times. We ask that you complete our poll questions on the screen before you sign off. After editing the Q&As, you will be able to find a transcribed copy of this chat online. Remember, if you send an email request to you will be notified of the location on the Web when the chat transcript has been posted.

Question: Any idea when the transcript may be available?

Moderator: Transcript will be available about mid-February.

Question: Any way to get the websites listed, sooner than that?

Question: Please repeat how to order the transcript. Thanks.

Answer: We will put the transcript on the chat page for this topic. That URL was in the original message you received.

Question: Will an email be sent out to notify us when the transcript will be available?

Comment: Thanks to the panel for answering questions.

Comment: Panel members, you have done a great job.

Comment: Thank you to all involved for making this possible. I enjoyed it immensely and in just the span of minutes, I learned life-changing information. It's wonderful to live in America!

Answer: Thank you for the kind remarks.

Comment: Very creative, positive content - just right for these times!

Comment: Thanks. This was my first chat. A new experience and very helpful content.

Moderator: Our time for this chat session has elapsed. Thank you for chatting with us today. We hope this has been a good experience and that you will want to join us for another chat in the future. Have a great day and good bye!


[Coming Soon]

Panel of Experts

Barbara O’Neill, Rutgers University

Dr. Barbara O’Neill, Rutgers Cooperative Extension’s Specialist in Financial Resource Management
Barbara O’Neill has written over 1,500 newspaper articles and over 100 articles for academic journals, conference proceedings, and other professional publications. She is a certified financial planner (CFP®), chartered retirement planning counselor (CRPC®), accredited financial counselor (AFC), certified housing counselor (CHC), and certified financial educator (CFEd). Dr. O’Neill is the author of two trade books, Saving on a Shoestring and Investing on a Shoestring, and co-author of Money Talk: a Financial Guide for Women and Small Steps to Health and Wealth™. She is also a frequent presenter at professional conferences. Dr. O’Neill received her Ph.D. in family financial management in 1995 from Virginia Tech. She has received over two dozen awards for program excellence from national professional organizations and over $450,000 in grants to support her financial education programs and research. Her research interests include families experiencing financial distress, measuring the impact of financial education programs, and associations between health status and personal finances.


Michael Gutter, University of Florida

Dr. Michael Gutter, Assistant Professor and Financial Management State Specialist, Department of Family, Youth, and Community Sciences, in the Institute for Food and Agriculture at the University of Florida
Michael Gutter's BS degree is in Family Financial Management and his PhD is in Family Resource Management from The Ohio State University with a specialization in Finance. The common theme that connects Gutter's Research, Teaching, and Outreach is helping households achieve financial security. This has involved research examining how socioeconomic status, financial education, personal psychology, and financial socialization are related to financial behaviors. In the context of this model, Gutter currently explores how financial education is related to financial behaviors and whether or not it is effective as a treatment resulting in improved financial decision making. This line of research has funding from the Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation, the National Endowment for Financial Education, and the NASD Investor Education Foundation.


Nancy Porter


Dr. Nancy M. Porter is a Family Resource Management Specialist with the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service in South Carolina.

Dr. Porter holds the rank of Professor and is a Registered Financial Gerontologist®. Her primary areas of expertise are family financial management and consumer education.

After serving a year as the National Program Leader for Family Economics CSREES in Washington, DC, Dr. Porter has co-chaired a National Extension Initiative entitled "Financial Security in Later Life" and is now Vice Chair of a national Community of Practice developing the "Financial Security for All" program offered on the Internet through eXtension (pronounced ee-extension). Dr. Porter has worked with a variety of personal finance programs for youth and adults during her 19 years with Clemson.

Dr. Porter completed her Bachelor's and Master's of Science degrees in Home Economics Education at Mansfield University in Pennsylvania. Her Ph.D., in Family Resource Management, was earned at Virginia Tech.



Liz Gorham, South Dakota State University

Dr. Elizabeth Gorham, South Dakota State University, Extension Family Resource Management Specialist
Elizabeth Gorham, a native of Iowa, is currently employed as an Associate Professor at South Dakota State University in Extension. She received her bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University, her master’s from Utah State University, and her Ph.D. from Oregon State University. She spent several years in youth and family resource management programming in Utah before transferring closer to home to care for her aging parents. Liz has been active in the eXtension Financial Security for All Community of Practice, serving as a co-author of the Legally Secure Your Financial Future teaching and eXtension curriculums, and the upcoming eXtension Bankruptcy and the soon-to-be- developed Caregiver curriculums.

FSA CoP Evaluation Co-Coordinator:

Dr. Elizabeth Kiss, Purdue University Extension, Family Resource Management Specialist

Elizabeth Kiss is an Extension Specialist at Purdue University. Her Extension and research activities concentrate on the economic well-being of individuals and families. Developing the financial literacy of youth, improving the financial management skills of adults, and enhancing the marketplace know-how of consumers of all ages are primary areas of focus. Originally from Iowa, Kiss holds B.S. degrees in history and foods in business and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in family and consumption economics. She earned her degrees at Iowa State University and at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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