Individual Development Accounts Build Assets and Enrich Lives
Since 2003, WESST’s Individual Development Account (IDA) program has helped low-income individuals build assets such as a home, a small business, or higher education. The program requires participants to complete intensive financial literacy education prior to implementing a savings program with matching funds provided by WESST.
Participants complete a ten-week money management course that focuses on budgeting, saving, and credit. After successful completion of the money management training, participants open a savings account to which they contribute for a period of six months to two years. Participants’ contributions are matched by WESST at a rate of 4:1 over a two-year period, with the goal of accumulating $3,000 in total savings ($600 participant savings and $2,400 WESST match). The use of these matched savings is restricted to high-return investments: buying a home, paying for post-secondary education, or investing in a new or established business.
Teaching Financial Literacy To Adults And Teens
Since the IDA program was launched in 2003, 91% of WESST participants have completed the money management training and opened their IDA savings accounts. IDA is now offered in both Albuquerque and Las Cruces, and Santa Fe. In 2007, a pilot youth IDA program was launched in partnership with Junior Achievement and an Albuquerque high school.
If you're interested in participating in the IDA program as an individual, or you’d like to schedule a financial literacy training for your school or organization, please contact us for more information.