IDA - Individual Development Accounts
Individual Development Accounts
What are IDAs?
Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) are special savings accounts designed to assist low income people on their path toward asset ownership through matched savings and financial education. IDAs reward the monthly savings of people who are trying to buy their first home, pay for college or start/expand a small business.
IDAs help people invest in their future. According to one participant, "I started the IDA because of the match, it’s hard to believe that anyone who had the opportunity would turn it down. Now my life is richer because of the IDA, I feel better about myself and I know what I can afford."
Get money for saving money
Saving money for future needs can be difficult for people struggling to keep up with current bills. There are many helpful programs that put food on the table or cover immediate needs, but they don’t move people out of poverty. IDAs can help people save money for assets; asset accumulation can help people move out of poverty.
Our IDA programs are an important part of the Credit Path® model used by Alternatives to help members progress towards financial self-sufficiency. Savings enable people to achieve stability, plan for the future, and have reserves to get through disasters. Individual Development Accounts provide financial education and an incentive to save for assets like a home, an education or a small business.
Alternatives began offering IDAs in 1998. We have partnered with local organizations (Challenge Industries, Tompkins Community Action and Department of Social Services) to provide IDA programs, each with different goals, savings matches and eligibility requirements.
Learning Money Management
Money Wise® is a financial education course that all IDA participants complete. It provides individuals and their families with the practical tools and information to make economic decisions and improve their financial situation. During this seven-week course, participants track their expenses, assess spending habits, set financial goals and review credit reports. Guest speakers lead discussions on predatory lending, socially responsible investing, credit issues and practical economics. (For more information, request the Money Wise® brochure.)
IDAs at Alternatives:
Assets IDA Accounts
This program is open to people in Tompkins and the adjacent counties. Assets IDAs combine financial education and a match on savings towards an asset goal of home ownership, business ownership or higher education. Participants can save up to $1,000 (saving a maximum of $125 per month). Savings are matched 2:1, so up to $1,000 of savings are matched with $2,000 for a total of $3,000.
Eligibility Requirements: You can apply for the Assets IDA program if your total household income does not exceed the income limits listed below. Your assets cannot exceed $10,000 excluding the value of one home and one car per household. Income limits are based on gross income.
(Based on gross income within Tompkins County. Income limits vary by county)
(for each additional member add $8,320)
The First Home Club IDA
This program is open to people in Tompkins and the adjacent counties. Under the terms of this program, participants will have 24 months to save $1,875 (maximum of $188 per month) which will be matched at a 4:1 ratio, so up to $1,875 of savings are matched with $7,500 for a total of $9,375 for a down-payment and closings costs in the purchase of a home. Eligibility is also contingent upon pre-qualification for a mortgage.
Income Chart (for Tompkins County; other counties may vary)
Do I qualify for an IDA?
1) My household's total income is within the limits of the Income Chart.
2) I have proof of earned income (pay stubs, letter from employer, etc.).
3) I am a resident of Tompkins County or adjacent counties in New York State.
4) I am committed to saving towards my future.
To obtain an application packet for an IDA, fill out below and click on submit. You should receive your packet within five days.