FINRA 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.
Retirement 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.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released the Money as You Grow book club materials on their website, which can be accessed HERE. The book club is a family financial education program that uses children’s books to help families learn key money concepts through reading, play, and quiet one-on-one talks.
The 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.
Faculty Director, Center for Financial Security
Associate Professor, Consumer Science
Associate Professor, La Follette School of Public Affairs
University of Wisconsin-Madison
In addition to serving as Faculty Director of Center for Financial Security, I hold appointments at the La Follette School of Public Affairs, UW-Extension, Cooperative Extension and the Institute for Research on Poverty.
I study consumer decision-making in the financial marketplace, including the role of public policy in influencing credit, savings and investment choices. My current focus is on financial capability and well-being with a focus on low-income families.
I came to academia after consulting and working in the nonprofit/foundation sector, as well as the public sector. My masters is from the John F. Kennedy School of Government and Harvard University and my PhD is from Cornell University.
Areas of Research Interest: Consumer Decision-Making in the Financial Marketplace, Role of Public Policy in Influencing Credit, Savings and Investment Choices, Financial Capability with Focus on Low-Income Families, and Household Finance
Financial Capability Specialist
As Financial Capability Specialist, I hold a joint appointment with SoHE’s Center for Financial Security and with UW-Extension Cooperative Extension Family Living Programs. Prior to joining UW-Madison, I worked with UW-Extension providing community-based education, with a focus on financial coaching, counseling, and education for individuals and community partners. I have also worked as a therapist, home visitor, and collaborative services coordinator. In all of my previous positions, I’ve been privileged to talk with hundreds of people about their money – goals, fears, hopes, challenges. While my academic focus is to translate research from household finance and learning theories into financial education programs on the UW-Madison campus and statewide in partnership with UW-Extension, my purpose is to help people align their money with their values. I graduated from UW-Milwaukee with a Bachelor of Science in Social Welfare and a Master’s in Social Work, and hold a Professional Life Coaching Certificate from UW-Madison.