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 and their partners.
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 various rates that are dependent upon funding. Over the last several years, match rates have ranged from 4:1 to 8:1, providing participants with $2,500 to $4,500 in total savings ($500 participant savings and $2,000 to $4,000 from the WESST match). The use of these matched savings is restricted to high-return investments: buying a home as a first time home-buyer, paying for post-secondary education, or investing in a new or established business.
Since October 2013, 378 people have completed the IDA Financial Literacy training, 258 of those trained have opened an IDA savings account and 164 have successfully purchased an asset through the program.
IDAs Teens To Adults
Currently, WESST is working with adults in the Albuquerque area providing IDA programming and accounts through our partnership and support from the City of Albuquerque’s Department of Family and Community Services, the Assets for Independence Program, Wells Fargo Bank, Bank of the West, The Simon Foundation, and United Way of Central New Mexico Women in Philanthropy. We are also continuing to provide IDA programming and accounts to youth through a partnership with the Simon Foundation and their Simon Scholars Program.
For more information, and to see if you might be able to participate in WESST’s IDA program, please contact Zoe Otero-Martinez for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org or (505) 246-6945.