INDIVIDUAL DEVELOPMENT ACCOUNT
IDAs, or Individual Development Accounts, are special matched savings accounts designed to help families and individuals of modest means establish a pattern of regular saving and, ultimately, purchase a “productive asset.”
A “productive asset” is something of value that is likely to return substantial long-term benefits to its owner– benefits like security, stability and opportunities for more income.
Bii Gii Wiin IDA Program participants may use their savings and match money toward any of three productive assets: home purchase, small business, or a post-secondary education.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is a “savings match?”
A “savings match” is a promise to supplement an IDA participant’s savings deposits at a specific rate; in other words, a 2:1 savings match means that for every dollar a Bii Gii Wiin IDA Program participant saves, he or she will have another 2 dollars added to his or her total account balance!
- Why would anyone give away money like that?
Savings matches are not “giveaways.” Participants earn savings matches by saving their own hard-earned dollars and taking other steps to prepare for the future, like attending personal finance workshops. Furthermore, providing match dollars is a way to help hard working low-income families and individuals build a more stable and secure future. Everyone benefits when more members of a community have the tools they need, the productive assets, to provide for themselves and their families.
- What about making savings withdrawals? Because IDAs are intended to help people purchase productive assets, withdrawals for non-asset uses are strongly discouraged. However, in certain emergency situations, program participants may withdraw some of their savings before they are ready to purchase their chosen asset goal. Such withdrawals would not include savings matches. And, of course, participants are always free to close their accounts, withdraw from the program and receive all of their savings and earned interest.
- Is there more to an IDA Program than just savings matches?
Absolutely. Most people need more than just cash to become successful homeowners, entrepreneurs or college or vocational school students. For this reason participants in Bii Gii Wiin IDA Program attend both a personal finance and money management workshop and a special asset-specific preparation program. These workshops are designed to help participants acquire or polish the personal and financial skills that are essential for long-term success, skills like long-range planning, household budgeting, credit repair and savvy consumer habits.
- Who is eligible to participate?
Bii Gii Wiin IDA Program is open to individuals or families who meet the following criteria:
- Residence in the Twin Cities Metropolitan service area (Definition of Service Area)
- Total household income that qualifies for the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) – less than $13,660 with no qualifying children ($18,740 married filing jointly), $36,052 with one qualifying child ($41,132 married filing jointly), $40,964 with two qualifying children ($46,044 married filing jointly) or $43,998 with three or more qualifying children ($49,078 married filing jointly)
- What is required of IDA participants?
IDA participants are asked to commit to:
- make monthly savings deposits of at least $25
- save in the program for at least 6 months
- attend a personal finance and money management workshop
- participate in asset-specific ownership preparation training
- support one another through on-going peer support meetings
- Where are savings deposited?
Bii Gii Wiin IDA Program has enlisted Woodlands National Bank as its financial institution partner. Program participants will establish special IDA savings accounts, jointly owned by Bii Gii Wiin CDLF and individual participants, at this institution. IDA accounts will not be assessed any monthly service fees and will be insured by the FDIC, FSLIC or FCUIC for up to $100,000 per account.
- How do participants receive match funds?
Matched funds will be made available to participants when they are ready to purchase an asset. At that time a vendor check will be issued by Bii Gii Wiin CDLF directly to the company, institution or individual furnishing all or a part of a participant’s asset goal (a mortgage company, home inspector, wholesale supplier or community college, for example).