Learn­ing about fi­nances

Houston Chronicle Sunday - - OUTLOOK -

Re­gard­ing “Em­ploy­ers can up­grade fi­nan­cial lit­er­acy” (B1, Wed­nes­day), Chris Tom­lin­son’s busi­ness col­umn pro­vides crit­i­cal ad­vice that should be taken even fur­ther. At a time when both com­pa­nies and work­ers are fac­ing ma­jor changes to fed­eral laws af­fect­ing fi­nances, em­ploy­ees need as­sis­tance plan­ning ev­ery­thing from health care to tax de­duc­tions, in­clud­ing learn­ing the dif­fer­ence be­tween rent­ing, own­ing and man­ag­ing rental prop­erty.

A key factor in eco­nomic class be­tween the rich and poor is knowl­edge of prop­erty and busi­ness own­er­ship and the tax de­duc­tions used by own­ers to be­come in­de­pen­dently wealthy. Work­ers with ac­cess to con­flict resolution man­age­ment or col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing also have ad­van­tages over em­ploy­ees who don’t have this sup­port at the work­place.

Es­pe­cially in cities such as Hous­ton seek­ing bil­lions in fed­eral dis­as­ter re­lief for in­di­vid­u­als and busi­nesses, the needs of the pop­u­la­tion clearly de­mand lo­cal­ized ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion and hands-on men­tor­ship.

Tom­lin­son is right on tar­get that com­pa­nies are the best place to pro­vide oneon-one as­sis­tance to work­ers, not just for ba­sic fi­nan­cial lit­er­acy, but for long-term plan­ning nec­es­sary for sus­tain­able eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

Emily T. Nghiem, Hous­ton

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