My background in community development planning and housing allowed me to work directly with families facing foreclosure and economic difficulties. This work inspired me to seek an area of
engagement that would connect low-income and vulnerable populations to financial capability tools and techniques that are empowering, inspiring, and well-researched. The Center for Financial Security in the School of Human Ecology takes this mission seriously and brings innovative thinking and research to a field that requires ongoing development and dynamic solutions.
Senior Research Specialist
Collin O’Rourke focuses on evaluating financial education, counseling, and coaching programs. He recently completed the U.S. Treasury-funded evaluation of the My Classroom Economy financial education program, and he supports the Center’s research on emergency savings. He previously served as the youngest member of the Lake County and Lake County, IL Forest Preserve District Boards, and worked as the case study manager for 80,000 Hours at the University of Oxford. O’Rourke earned a master’s degree in public affairs from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he also completed his undergraduate studies.
Faculty Director, Center for Financial Security
Fetzer Family Chair in Consumer and Personal Finance
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
Governor Scott Walker announced recipients of the 2017 Governor’s Financial Literacy Award, as selected by the Governor’s Council on Financial Literacy. Eighteen individuals, businesses, and organizations were chosen as recipients for the award. The UW-Extension Family Living Program’s Check Your Free Credit Report Campaign was announced as one of the recipients of the award. Since 2013, the Family Living Program has conducted a “Check Your Free Credit Report Campaign,” which seeks to increase Wisconsin residents’ access to, and understanding of, their credit histories. Residents can sign up for e-mail reminders every four months (2/2, 6/6, and 10/10) to check their credit scores with one of the three major credit reporting bureaus. Since 2013, 940 Wisconsin residents have signed up for the reminder e-mails – 181 of them in 2017 alone.
Read Full Press Release
With over 30 faculty affiliates across departments at UW-Madison, as well as more than 30 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 in Rm 1199 of Nancy Nicholas Hall from 3:45-5pm for this multi-disciplinary exploration of household finance research.