The Center for Financial Security is an applied, multidisciplinary research center that seeks to inform practitioners, policymakers, and the general public on strategies for building financial capability and security over the life course. CFS research examines the role of specific products, policies, and advice in helping individuals navigate the increasingly complex financial marketplace. The Center’s research is notable for its focus on vulnerable populations—including low-income families, youth, and people with disabilities. Currently, 43 researchers in a diverse array of departments at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and campuses across the nation are affiliated with the Center.
The Council on Contemporary Families is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to providing the press and public with the latest research and best-practice findings about American families. Founded in 1996 and based at the University of Texas at Austin, the Council’s mission is to enhance the national understanding of how and why contemporary families are changing, what needs and challenges they face, and how these needs can best be met. Members include demographers, economists, family therapists, historians, political scientists, psychologists, social workers, sociologists, communication scholars, as well as other family social scientists and practitioners.
The Work and Family Researchers Network (formerly the Sloan Work and Family Research Network), is an international membership organization of interdisciplinary work and family researchers. The WFRN also welcomes the participation of policy makers and practitioners as it seeks to promote knowledge and understanding of work and family issues among the community of global stakeholders.
Lorna Wendt, late founder of the Equality in Marriage Institute, and vocal advocate for women’s financial equality, was a founding sponsor, advisor, and partner in the MORE initiative. For 32 years, Lorna Jorgenson Wendt was a full-time wife, mother, manager of her home and corporate wife. Overnight, she became one of the most visible women in America and a pioneer in the quest for equality before, during and after marriage. Lorna had been married to Gary Wendt, former CEO of General Electric Capital, for over three decades when he took steps to end their marriage. When she was offered approximately ten percent of their assets, Lorna mustered the courage and strength to fight back, defending her role as an equal partner in their long-term relationship.
Fenaba Addo is the Lorna Jorgensen Wendt Associate Professor of Money, Relationships, and Equality (MORE) and Associate Professor of Consumer Science in the School of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is also an affiliate of the Center for Financial Security, Institute for Research on Poverty, and the Center for Demography and Ecology. She received her Ph.D. in Policy Analysis and Management from Cornell University and holds a B.S. in Economics from Duke University. Her research agenda examines the role of debt and increasing wealth inequality over the past 40 years within communities of color, among economically vulnerable populations in the U.S., and across the life course. I am a social policy researcher whose work is interdisciplinary, spanning the fields of family and social demography, economics, and policy analysis. Click here for more information on papers and presentations.
Sarah Halpern-Meekin is an Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is also an affiliate of the Institute for Research on Poverty, Center for Demography and Ecology, Center for Financial Security, and La Follette School of Public Affairs. Her research focuses on two primary factors shaping the lives of lower-income families: finances and family formation and dissolution. This includes examining social and welfare policies in place to support families.
Dr. Litzelman is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is also an affiliate of the UW Carbone Cancer Center, the Center for Aging Research & Education, and the Center for Child and Family Well-being. Her research focuses on family caregiving and the impact of illness on families. Specifically, she studies how caregivers are impacted by their role, the internal and external resources that support them, and the interrelationships among caregiver and care recipient well-being.
Peggy is a Faculty Associate in the Department of Consumer Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She also serves as Financial Capability Specialist for the Center for Financial Security and the University of Wisconsin-Extension with a focus on translating financial research into practice. Peggy has 20+ years of experience providing financial education, counseling, and coaching for individuals and couples. She holds a Professional Life Coaching Certificate and provides financial coaching training for organizations across the United States.
Dr. O’Brien is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Yale. He is an affiliate of the Center for Demography and Ecology, Institute for Research on Poverty, and the Center for Financial Security. His research focuses on the causes and consequences of social and economic inequalities with substantive interests in taxation, household finance, and population health. Current projects examine: the interplay between health and intergenerational economic mobility; inequality, demography and the structure of subnational tax systems; and how social context influences financial decision-making. He is coauthor of Taxing the Poor and his research has appeared in academic journals including the American Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, and Demography and his policy writing has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Washington Post.
Christine Schwartz is a Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an affiliate of the Center for Demography and Ecology and the Institute for Research on Poverty. She received her PhD in Sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2006 and her bachelor’s degree from Reed College. Her primary research interests are in social demography, family, and stratification. Much of her research focuses on the link between demographic change and social inequality. Her current research examines the relationship between changes in union formation and dissolution, assortative mating, and income inequality in the United States. A second line of research examines the consequences of the reversal of the gender gap in education for marriage patterns and outcomes. Her work has appeared in leading journals including the American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological Review, Demography, and Gender & Society.