Assessing Farm Households’ Investment Education Needs


O’Neill, B., Porter, N. M., Pankow, D., Schuchardt, J. & Johnson, J. (2010). Online investment education: Listening to learners to develop an effective financial literacy program for farm households. Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning Education, 21 (1), pp. 25-42.

Brief Description:  Quantitative and qualitative data were collected from farm households to better understand their investment attitudes, practices, and learning preferences in order to adapt an online investment course for their needs. Researchers found that farmers are a distinct audience for financial education. Many do not intend to quit working, since their career is a lifestyle for them as well as their work. They tend to be confident about their personal finances and prefer to invest in land rather than in financial instruments. Like other households, farmers who have a financial plan are more likely to save toward a goal. Respondents indicated that they trusted information from Cooperative Extension. They also reported that they have little time for educational activities.

Implications:  Financial planning tools that integrate farm accounts with personal accounts should be part of investment education for farm households. Experience with and knowledge of investing in farm assets should be acknowledged when working with farmers. Off-farm employment is widespread and needs to be included in retirement plans. Educational modules should be designed so that farmers can easily find topics of interest, and collaborating with Extension educators may be a good way to convey investment information.