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.

Gov. Evers appoints Collins to retirement security task force

Professor J. Michael Collins

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers appointed UW–Madison Professor J. Michael Collins as a public member of the Governor’s Task Force on Retirement Security. The task force will study issues facing the growing number of retired people in Wisconsin, particularly the amount of money they have saved.

A member of the La Follette School faculty, Collins is the Fetzer Family Chair in Consumer and Personal Finance at UW–Madison and Faculty Director of the Center for Financial Security (CFS) for the School of Human Ecology.

Earlier this month, the CFS received a second year of funding from the Social Security Administration’s Retirement and Disability Research Consortium to explore the financial well-being of financially vulnerable families, older people, people with disabilities, low-wealth households, and children.

“Your experience, knowledge, and dedication will be a true asset to my administration and a great benefit to the people of Wisconsin,” Evers said in Collins’ appointment letter.

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CFS receives funding for research on financially vulnerable

Building on the strengths of its affiliates and partners, the Center for Financial Security at the University of Wisconsin–Madison has been awarded a five-year cooperative agreement with the Social Security Administration’s Retirement and Disability Research Consortium.


“This award from SSA is a recognition of UW–Madison’s extensive research and outstanding scholars in the field of aging and disability,” says UW–Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank. 

The multidisciplinary center, housed in the School of Human Ecology, received the award along with three other RDRC centers at Boston College, the National Bureau of Economic Research, and the University of Michigan.

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Reverse Mortgage Borrowing and Life Satisfaction of Older Adults: A Webinar Presentation of Findings and Implications

The Center for Financial Security held a webinar on November 14, 2018, which explored findings from a new study that examines the relationship of reverse mortgage borrowing with older adults’ satisfaction with their financial situation, housing, health, and daily life/leisure as well as with life as a whole. Cäzilia Loibl, researcher from The Ohio State University, discussed the study objectives, methodology, findings, and implications. Discussants from ESOP (Empowering and Strengthening Ohio’s People), a subsidiary of the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging, shared their practitioner perspectives on the broader subject of older adult financial security, housing, and the issues that face older adult populations in reaching financial well-being and overall life well-being. 

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