Our CFS Commitment to Change

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 cfs@mailplus.wisc.edu.

The COVID19 Crisis and Student Loans: A Webinar Event for Borrowers and Practitioners

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.

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A Webinar Session: Information and Resources for Landlords, Tenants, and Homeowners during the COVID19 Crisis

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.

Financial Resources during COVID-19 Crisis: A Webinar Event for Wisconsin Practitioners & Educators

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).

CFS Faculty Director, Staff, Affiliates and Fellows Provide Expertise on COVID-19 Crisis

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.

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Newly Released Research Brief: Understanding Differences in Financial Well-being Based on Educational Attainment and Gender

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.

UW-Madison Division of Extension: Financial Resources to Help Get Through COVID-19

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.

Webinar: How does Housing Assistance Affect Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Application for People with Disabilities?

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.

J. Michael Collins Yahoo Finance interview on healthcare costs and impact on retirement savings

“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.

Supporting Employee Financial Stability: How Philanthropy Catalyzes Workplace Financial Coaching Programs

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.

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Spring 2020 Speaker Calendar

January 30: Sara Stith, SNAP-Related Work Requirements and Disability Claiming

February 6: Madelaine L’EsperanceDisability and Wealth: Exploring the Liquid Asset Trajectories of SSI and SSDI Applicants

February 20: Anita Mukherjee, Lost and Found: Claiming Behavior in Abandoned Retirement Accounts

February 27: Yulya Truskinovsky, Caregiving and Labor Force Participation: New Evidence from the American Time Use Survey

March 5: Erik Hembre, Local Variation in Housing Assistance Programs and SSI Takeup by People with Disabilities

March 12: Melody Harvey, Do Standardized Testing Requirements Enhance Mandate Effectiveness?

March 26: Katie Jajtner, SSDI and Intergenerational Economic Mobility

April 9: Adibah AbdulhadiThe Effects of Prescription Opioids on Labor Market Outcomes and SSDI

April 23: Jordan van Rijn,  The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Recession & its Impact on Credit Unions

April 30: Leafia Ye, Rethinking the Foreign-born Longevity Advantage: U.S. Immigrants’ Experience of Poverty in Later Life

May 7:Stephanie RennaneEmployer Incentives in Return to Work Programs

May 21: Carly UrbanUnderstanding Differences in Financial Well-being Based on Educational Attainment and Gender