Recent events – including the coronavirus pandemic, its economic fall-out, and the outrage over the killings of Black citizens across our country – highlight the ongoing pattern of racial injustices that have been perpetuated for generations.
The goal of the Center for Financial Security (CFS) is to develop evidence–high quality, rigorous research–that can guide policies, programs and financial systems that reduce inequities, and that include and support economically vulnerable people. We are driven by serious concerns about racial injustice, and its attendant economic insecurity. Our research often highlights the harmful impacts of programs, as well as the institutional rules and unequal access to services that impact families, resulting in systemic racism. We know we can do more, and be more supportive of research that challenges our understanding of inequality in household finances, especially related to the social safety net. Our commitment to this work includes supporting a new generation of researchers, especially those who have been historically marginalized, and focusing on racial disparities in our studies.
Please let us know if you have suggestions for outreach, policy analysis or research ideas that help to shine a light on economic inequities and better ways to support financial security for all. You can reach us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mortality rates for working age adults without a college degree have increased in recent years, driven by rising ‘deaths of despair’ including drug overdose mortality. At the same time, demand for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) programs among working age adults have increased in recent decades. Research suggests that fading economic opportunities—such as the decline of manufacturing employment—may explain an important portion of these worrisome trends.
The economic challenges from the pandemic have drawn added attention to student loan debt relief. There are various approaches to address the $1.7 trillion of national student loan debt or reduce loan default: employer-sponsored repayment, public service loan forgiveness, income-based repayment plans, deferment, refinancing, loan consolidation and in particular loan forgiveness.
A new Harris Poll among over 500 U.S. millennials (ages 24-39), commissioned by DailyPay, the Funding Our Future Campaign, and the Center for Financial Security at the University of Wisconsin reveals that millennials have been hit hard financially by the global pandemic. More than half (52%) note that their savings on hand have declined since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and more than 2 in 5 (44%) cite they have either no savings (17%) or not enough savings to cover a $400 emergency expense (27%).
“This data shows the resilience of younger generations in the face of the second major economic shock of their financial lives, as well as highlights how vulnerable people are today, especially given the effects of the pandemic on top of student loan debt and other concerns,” said J. Michael Collins, Director of the Center for Financial Security. “It is also notable that Social Security is still very much viewed as being important, even among young people, as a pathway to financial security.”
The University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Financial Security Retirement and Disability Research Center (CFS RDRC) is an applied research program which develops evidence that can assist policymakers, the public, and the media in understanding issues in Social Security, retirement, and disability policy, especially related to economically vulnerable populations. The CFS RDRC incorporates diversity of viewpoints and disciplines, develops diverse emerging scholars and generates research findings that are used in policy and practice. To this end, CFS has released four calls for applications for training programs within the CFS RDRC.
Read more about the CFS RDRC in our newly released Newsletter and subscribe to our CFS RDRC updates:
The Center for Financial Security, in partnership with the Wisconsin Coalition on Student Debt hosted an event entitled “Student loan debt issues for Veterans: what do we know about the challenges and barriers?” on November 12, 2020.
Stephen Ross, CFS Affiliate and Professor in the Department of Economics at University of Connecticut, along with his co-author Tingyu Zhou, Assistant Professor in the Department of Risk Management/Insurance, Real Estate, and Legal Studies at Florida State University, release working paper that builds on existing literature documenting loss aversion in the housing market, where expected losses lead to higher sales prices. Ross and Zhou study how exposure to expected losses may correlate with unobservables that influence housing prices.
U.S. Social Security Administration approves 11 major projects, investigating topics including vulnerability to Social Security scams, identity theft among seniors, older Americans’ changing work, and the impact of employment shocks.
The Center for Financial Security (CFS) at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, as part of the Retirement and Disability Research Consortium (RDRC), has been awarded a third year of funding from the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA). One of just four RDRC centers in the country supported by SSA, UW–Madison’s is the only one to focus specifically on the financial well-being of economically vulnerable families, older people, people with disabilities, low-wealth households, and children.
CFS produced a webinar on October 6, 2020 entitled “Does State-mandated Financial Education Affect Subjective Financial Well-being?”. Associate Professor Carly Urban presented research with CFS Director J. Michael Collins and Research Scientist Jeremy Burke on how state-mandated financial education in high school impacts subjective financial well-being. The research was supported by a grant from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation.
All Spring 2021 HHF Seminars will be held virtually. Click HERE for Zoom link and meeting invitation.
With over 50 faculty affiliates across departments at UW-Madison, as well as more than 50 fellows at other institutions throughout the nation, The Center for Financial Security is pleased to provide a platform for sharing some of the most exciting and innovative early stage research in the household finance realm. Join us every Thursday of the academic year for a virtual seminar from 3:45-4:45 pm for this multi-disciplinary exploration of household finance research.
The Center for Financial Security (CFS), in collaboration with the Wisconsin Coalition on Student Loan Debt (WCSD) and Ascendium Education Solutions, Inc., hosted a webinar entitled “The COVID19 Crisis and Student Loans: A Webinar Event for Borrowers and Practitioners” on June 9th. The webinar increased awareness about how COVID19 has impacted student loan borrowers and on the various types of COVID19-related relief available.
The Center for Financial Security at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, held a webinar on May 29th at 10:00 am to 11:30 am CT.
The webinar provided timely resources, information, and updates on resources for landlords, tenants and homeowners during the COVID19 crisis. The information and resources provided are most appropriate for Wisconsin-based practitioners, educators, and those working with the public to address housing related issues resulting from the COVID19 crisis.
Presenters included representatives from the Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA), Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP), the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) and Legal Action of Wisconsin.
The Center for Financial Security at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in collaboration with the Division of Extension, hosted a webinar on April 27th. The purpose of the webinar was to provide timely resources, information, and updates on Wisconsin state agency responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has impacted the financial well-being of households across the state. The information and resources were especially helpful for Wisconsin-based practitioners, educators, and those working with the public to address financial issues resulting from the COVID-19 crisis.
Presenters included representatives from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP), Department of Financial Institutions (DFI), Department of Workforce Development (DWD), Department of Children and Families (DCF), Department of Health Services (DHS), and the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA).
The novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has caused devastating financial strain on families and individuals nationwide. From unprecedented levels of people applying for unemployment insurance, constantly shifting policy responses, and the impacts on housing and food insecurity, CFS experts are available and being called upon to provide insights on the crisis. A UW-Madison COVID-19 Experts list was released to help guide media to appropriate researchers.
With the support of a grant from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation researchers, J. Michael Collins and Carly Urban, conducted a study that examines the financial well-being of young adults through the lens of gender and educational attainment. Using the CFPB’s Financial Well-Being Scale, the research contrasts the financial well-being of men and women among college graduates and high school only graduates.
The coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is impacting households, communities, and businesses. A new national survey shows that 1 in 5 households in the US have already had their income cut or stopped altogether. UW-Madison Division of Extension has put together a list of frequently asked questions that highlight some common financial challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The answer to each question has links to government websites and the types of assistance that might be available. The resource list will be added to as new policies and resources are put into place.
This February 26th webinar focused on a recent study exploring how housing assistance may influence people’s decision to apply for and receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. The research was presented by Erik Hembre, who conducted the study with Carly Urban at the Center for Financial Security Retirement and Disability Research Center, supported by the Social Security Administration. Discussants, Kathleen Moore, a researcher and contractor with the Administration for Children & Families, and Arthur Jacobs, Housing Coordinator for the Mayor’s Office of People with Disabilities in New York, provided commentary on the implications of the study.
“Planning for and managing out of pocket medical costs is an emerging form of financial literacy that all of us need to be aware of, including older people for whom health care expenses are a rising part of their retirement spending,” said J. Michael Collins, Faculty Director of CFS and Professor in La Follette School of Public Affairs and the School of Human Ecology, in a recent live interview with Yahoo Finance. Collins spoke about the impact of people choosing to use less healthcare as out-of-pocket costs rise, a decision that could lead to greater health and financial outcomes in the long run.
The Center for Financial Security and the Asset Funders Network (AFN) collaborated on a case-study investigation of employer-based financial coaching programs in the latest research: Supporting Employee Financial Stability: How Philanthropy Catalyzes Workplace Financial Coaching Programs. This brief shares innovative approaches employers believe increase recruitment and retention while impacting employee financial well-being.