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Center hosts financial literacy symposium, showcases research opportunities

March 12, 2010

The Family Financial Security Symposium, which will explore research examining why consumers sometimes make choices they later regret and put their families at financial risk, will be held on the UW–Madison campus April 19-20.

Co-sponsored by the School of Human Ecology’s Center for Financial Literacy, the event is open to the university community and the general public at the Fluno Center, 601 University Ave.

The conference requires a registration fee. For symposium details and registration information, visit here. Early-bird registration ends Monday, March 15.

The research into such consumer behavior requires collaborative investigations across areas such as economics, finance, psychology, sociology, law, public policy, and human development.

“Positive financial decision-making is shaped by many factors,” says J. Michael Collins, assistant professor of consumer science and faculty director of the Center for Financial Security. “Better understanding these influences helps researchers, business practitioners, and policymakers create an environment that enables and encourages responsible decision making.”

Four panels — on banking choices, credit use, retirement saving, and thrift and debt — will present a papers on the forefront of interdisciplinary research. Participants will explore how programs, policies, and products can best support family financial security based on the findings presented.

Collins hopes the symposium will help faculty engage with an emerging network of scholars in financial literacy.

The center welcomes new faculty affiliates and provides a place to get funding for applied research projects, as well as a way to disseminate working papers. Faculty interested in center affiliation or those who have specific project concepts or working papers in mind are invited to contact J. Michael Collins at (608) 262-0369 or

Symposium sponsors are American Family Insurance, CBM Credit Education Foundation, and Summit Credit Union, with additional support from the School of Human Ecology’s Ruth S. Dickie Fund. The center is home to the Financial Literacy Research Consortium established in 2009 by a $7.4 million, five-year federal cooperative agreement.