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Extension begins Money 2000 initiative

By Nancy Templeman

Spectrum Volume 20 Issue 31 - May 21, 1998

It doesn't matter how much they earn; some people never have a rainy-day fund, retirement savings, or a zero balance on their credit cards. Managing money is not an inborn skill, and a great many people were never taught how to do it.
Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) is ready to teach them how. Under the VCE's Money 2000 initiative, said program director Connie Kratzer, "We can all learn how to save, spend wisely, and plan for our financial futures."
Money 2000 is available through the Montgomery County VCE office and other Extension offices in the state. Under the initiative, the end of the year 2000 should see Virginia households with improved personal finances. The goal is to have each of the participating households increase its savings or reduce its debt by $2,000. If 12,000 households enroll, their individual efforts could have as much as a $24-million positive impact on Virginia's economy.
Those signing up for Money 2000 will receive a start-up record-keeping kit, newsletters, and twice-a-year contact with the local VCE office to help track their progress. "People can choose a home-study course; a confidential, computer analysis of their debt situation, along with guidance about payoff options; and they can participate in additional money-management workshops and receive publications," Kratzer said.
"By participating in Money 2000, people take a big step toward increased financial security," said Dawn Barnes, the family-and-consumer-sciences agent serving the Montgomery County VCE office.
"Each person keeps his or her own records so confidentiality is assured," said Kratzer, who is also an Extension family-financial-management specialist.
"When someone enrolls in Money 2000, they'll learn how to set realistic goals," Barnes said. "We'll also help people learn how to increase their savings and slim down their debt. We want people to develop a spending plan for their future. As they learn money management skills, they will be able to become more financially secure," she said.
Who is Money 2000 designed to help? New employees learning to manage a regular paycheck; workers seeking financial stability; beginning savers and investors; young couples who are just starting out; first-time home buyers; parents who want to raise financially responsible children; parents who are saving for children's educations; teens and young adults seeking financial independence; and people planning for retirement can benefit from the initiative, according to Kratzer.
Virginia Tech employees can enroll in the Money 2000 program by contacting Barnes at 382-5790, lbarnes@vt.edu; Kratzer at 1-4958, kratzer@vt.edu; or their local Extension office: the phone numbers are in the University Directory under Cooperative Extension, Unit Offices, by county, and on the web at http://www.ext.vt.edu/offices/.