J. Michael CollinsFetzer Family Chair in Consumer and Personal Finance, Professor

J. Michael Collins is faculty director of the Center for Financial Security at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He is the Fetzer Family Chair in Consumer & Personal Finance in the School of Human Ecology, a Professor at the La Follette School of Public Affairs, a family economics specialist for the Division of Extension, and an affiliate of the Institute for Research on Poverty and Center for Demography and Ecology.

Collins studies consumer decision-making in the financial marketplace, including the role of public policy in influencing credit, savings and investment choices. He is involved in studies of household finance and well-being supported by leading foundations and federal agencies. Collins brings nearly a decade of applied experience to his research. He founded PolicyLab Consulting Group, a research consulting firm working with national foundations and government agencies, and co-founded SpringFour, an online database for mortgage servicers and counselors.

Recent press

‘If you’re behind, these funds won’t really make a difference’: J. Michael Collins on impact of stimulus package on recoveryYahoo! Finance, December 30, 2020
A new poll shows the ‘outsized’ financial burdens faced by millennialsYahoo! Finance, December 11, 2020
Is more economic relief from Congress on the way?Minnesota Public Radio, September 10, 2020
Coffee, ketchup and Nike Air Max: It’s the COVID consumer economyReuters, September 1, 2020
Why Black Americans face more retirement challengesYahoo! Finance, July 15, 2020
Wisconsin workers, small businesses, eye COVID-19 stimulus to get through hard timesCap Times, March 29, 2020
‘I have no money’: debt collection continues despite pandemicThe Guardian, March 28, 2020
Coronavirus will affect everyone, even if you never get sick. But some people will be hit harder than othersMilwaukee Journal Sentinel, March 23, 2020
How to build an emergency fund in the middle of an emergencyNew York Times, March 20, 2020

Classes Taught

  • Course number: CS 930: Course title: Family Economics Doctoral Seminar


  • Consumer Science

Degree Program

  • PhD Human Ecology: Consumer Behavior and Family Economics


  • Center for Financial Security
  • La Follette School of Public Affairs
  • Institute for Research on Poverty
  • Center for Demography and Ecology
  • Division of Extension


  • Ph.D, Policy Analysis and Management, Cornell University
  • MPP, Harvard University
  • BS, Miami University


Office: 4208 Nancy Nicholas Hall

Phone: 608-616-0369



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