building wealth

Considering the recent financial repercussions of my father’s death, this article struck a cord:

NCLR Recommends Grassroots Wealth-Building Strategy
— reported by Hispanic Business

“Financial literacy” is the key to building wealth across the U.S. Hispanic economy, and the best strategy for generating a foundation of savvy is creation of “a financial counseling infrastructure at the community level,” according to analysts at the National Council of La Raza.

Their reasoning, and the first steps in community education, are laid out in the paper “Financial Counseling: A Meaningful Strategy for Building Wealth in the Latino Community,” by NCLR Assets Policy Analyst Beatriz Ibarra.


The NCLR analysis suggests the following steps at the federal level to overcome “structural barriers” to Hispanic community wealth building:

  1. Create new incentives for low-income families to seek certified one-on-one financial counseling. Congress should establish a “refundable federal income tax credit” for this taxpayer segment to cover the cost of obtaining such services – and/or issue targeted vouchers to cover the cost of the service.
  2. Create an infrastructure of the needed financial counselors at the community level. Congress should authorize Health and Human Services or HUD to run a program that manages grants to community-based organizations to support these services, and provides tools such as software for their operation and tracking – estimated initial cost $100 million.
  3. Increase funds for low-income tax-preparation support and counseling sites. Congress should allocate an additional $50 million “to support the creation of tax preparation sites and education efforts” at the community level that will identify and reach out to families who quality for assistance via such important IRS initiatives as the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit.

The full text of the NCLR report, “Financial Counseling: A Meaningful Strategy for Building Wealth in the Latino Community,” is available online at

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Author: Paloma Cruz

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