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 2003, WESST’s IDA Program has achieved the following results:
- 781 of low-income New Mexicans residents completed the personal financial literacy training.
- 692 individuals opened their own IDA savings account.
- 509 reached their savings goal and purchased their “asset.”
- 52% of asset purchases were for small business; 32% for higher education; and 16% were for down payments on a first-time home.
Currently we do not have any open accounts or training opportunities available. If you have submitted an inquiry, we have your name on a waiting list and the program manager will be in touch if there is an opening for you to apply. If you would like to be put on a wait list, please complete the IDA Financial Literacy Inquiry form or contact Zoe Otero-Martinez for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org or (505) 246-6945.
We hope to continue to offer IDA accounts in 2021, please check back to see if we are successfully in identifying funding for new accounts.