CFPB Releases New Youth Financial Education Resources with Research Conducted by CFS Affiliates Elizabeth Odders-White and Chuck Kalish

Logo1_horizontal-lockup_@2The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has released new resources for financial educators including Building Blocks to Help Youth Achieve Financial Capability, a report brief that presents a new financial capability developmental model and makes recommendations for financial education. Based on the developmental framework that is introduced in the report, the CFPB also released a Youth Personal Finance Pedagogy, a teaching tool to enhance personal financial education in schools.

Center Affiliates and UW-Madison youth financial capability experts, Elizabeth Odders-White and Chuck Kalish, were part of the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) team that conducted research described in the report.

My Classroom Economy Evaluation Results Now Available

The Center for Financial Security recently completed an evaluation of My Classroom Economy (MCE), an innovative approach to financial education. In contrast to more traditional financial education programs based around lesson plans, MCE is experiential. Teachers establish a classroom-based economy that integrates into the school day as a classroom management system. Research suggests that this type of experiential approach is a promising teaching strategy, with the added benefit of minimizing time away from other classroom activities.

During the 2015-2016 school year, 24 elementary schools in the School District of Palm Beach County, FL participated in the evaluation. Students in MCE classrooms show consistent gains in financial knowledge, budgeting, financial socialization, and economic experience after 10 weeks. These effects range in size but are all statistically significant and positive. Overall, the results of this study are encouraging and highlight the promise of experiential learning programs like MCE for elementary school–age students.

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Presentation slides from the September 21, 2016 webinar are available to view.

A supplementary guide discusses the Center’s development of the survey measures used in the evaluation.

The evaluation was performed under contract TOS-14F-0028 for the U.S. Department of the Treasury. 

Study Shows National League of Cities’ LIFT-UP Program Helps Cities Recoup Lost Revenue & Families Build Financial Security

The Center for Financial Security conducted the evaluation of LIFT-UP, with CFS researcher Stephanie Moulton leading the study, which shows that participating cities were better able to collect overdue water utility payments with less reliance on costly debt collection agencies or resorting to shutting off service to customers. At the same time, program participants were able to catch up on overdue bills, make more on-time payments and save money on late fees.

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Release of FINRA’s Financial Capability Study Puts Media Spotlight on CFS

finraFINRA released results of the National Financial Capability Study in July, a report that provides comprehensive findings of financial behavior in the United States. The survey is part of an ongoing, multi-year effort with consultation from the U.S. Department of Treasury, to better understand the key indicators of financial capability and evaluate how they differ based on varying population demographics and characteristics.

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J. Michael Collins and Carly Urban Publish Paper on Retirement Planning in Economic Inquiry Journal

StagesRetirement planning is a difficult task for many people in the U.S. and as studies by the National Institute on Retirement Security show, about 38 million working-age households do not have any retirement savings. Various tactics to increase participation in retirement savings in the workplace have been employed, such as tax subsidies and automatic defaults. Some states are even seeking to pass legislation on state run retirement programs for private sector employees.

A newly published paper,The Role of Information on Retirement Planning: Evidence from a Field Study, authored by CFS Faculty Director J. Michael Collins and CFS Research Fellow Carly Urban, present the findings of a randomized field study showing that an information-based intervention increased participation in retirement plan savings. Education programs offered to employees increased their monthly contributions to retirement accounts, a finding that shows promise for retirement education programs as a strategy for increased saving.

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Center for Financial Security and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Finances Research Workshop

rwjf-hss-dark-greenThe intersection of health and finance is an increasingly linked area of study that continues to gain traction in research and policy. Collaboration and discussion across disciplines and sectors of health and financial well-being are fundamental to the progress of these fields.

On June 1, 2016, the Center for Financial Security at the University of Wisconsin‐Madison, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholars program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, hosted a Health and Finances Research Workshop to convene faculty and researchers across UW-Madison and the Center for Financial Security and related centers on campus to explore existing research and to foster future research ideas. CFS initiated this effort to discover innovative research opportunities as well as nurture this growing community of scholars committed to building the field of health and finance research.  

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Center for Financial Security Speaker Menu

The Center for Financial Security is fortunate to affiliate with researches from a wide variety of disciplines across UW-Madison’s campus. These researchers are available to present on a number of different topics in the area of household finance.  Community groups, civic organizations, professional, and educational institutions are invited to browse our menu and request a speaker for your event. We prefer speakers to be requested at least four weeks out for the event, which will increase the likelihood of speaker availability. Speakers do not charge a fee for speaking, however, hosting groups should plan to cover/and or provide event space fee, audiovisual equipment, marketing and promotion, staffing for the event, and any necessary handout or printing charges.Please click here to fill out a Request Speaker Form.

Peggy SoHE pic 2015 colorSpeaker: Peggy Olive, Financial Capability Specialist
Presentation Title: “Secrets to Financial Happiness for a Lifetime”
Description: Peggy Olive introduces strategies for realizing financial security. Olive focuses on planning for day to day expenses, unexpected expenses, setting goals and budgeting to allow for some “wants” in addition to covering “needs.”
Approximate Length: 45-75 minutes

Speaker: J. Michael Collins, Faculty Director of the Center for Financial Security
Presentation Title: “The Financial Lives of Economically Vulnerable Families”
Description: Dr. Collins explores current research demonstrating the volatile nature of families living in and on the edge of poverty. Collins’ presentation discusses the effects of this income and spending variability on family security, implications for policy and program design, and strategies for overcoming the cycle of instability.
Approximate Length: 45-60 minutes

Sarah Halpern-MeekinSpeaker: Sarah Halpern-Meekin, Associate Professor in Human Development and Family Studies
Presentation Title: “How Working Families Make Ends Meet in a Post-Welfare World”
Description: In the talk, Dr. Halpern-Meekin discusses how the basic financial supports from government for low-income workers have changed, with tax refunds–and the Earned Income Tax Credit in particular–coming to play an increasingly important role in boosting families’ bottom lines. She explains how families use their tax refunds and what the money means to them. This has implications for our tax policies, low-income families’ financial decision making, and savings and asset building initiatives.
Approximate Length: 45-60 minutes


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