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IDAs: Saving for the future

The Utah Individual Development Account Network (UIDAN) Program is an investment strategy and multi-faceted financial education program designed to help provide low to moderate income individuals and families with the opportunity, incentive, and institutional support necessary for them to save for and acquire productive assets that promise a higher income, new wealth and self-sufficiency. Helping individuals and families achieve long-term self-sufficiency will reduce poverty and revitalize local communities from the inside out.

Participation in the program requires 8 hours of financial education training. Classes focus on self assessment, goal setting, debt reduction, budgeting, saving, consumer awareness, understanding investments, and measuring personal growth and commitment. Also required are classes on the specific asset that the participant is planning to acquire, such as homebuyer education or business plan development. Classes are held at a variety of community partner locations throughout Utah.

Working through the IDA program typically takes 1-3 years and involves the following:

  • Actively participate in financial education training classes (8 hours), plus asset-specific training (3-8 hours)
  • Address any existing credit issues
  • Identify an asset: home, small business, education or job training, assistive technology
  • Deposit a designated amount in an IDA savings account at a participating financial institution
  • Make consistent monthly deposits to the account

According to the Center for Enterprise Development (CFED), every public dollar invested in IDA's generates $5 for the community. This is measured in new business and jobs, increased earning and educational achievements, new and improved homes, higher tax receipts and reduced welfare expenditures.

Assets provide benefits that income alone cannot offer. People with assets have more options in life and can pass on status and opportunities for future generations. Broadening the ownership of assets through IDAs is one way to help the nation's low-income working families move out of poverty, giving them a "leg-up" to enter the financial mainstream.

How Do IDAs Work?

In an Individual Development Account, also called an IDA, UIDAN will match your savings 3-to-1 when you save toward a first home, a small business, higher education or assistive technology devices.

After taking the required 8 hours of Financial Management Training, you can open an IDA with as little as $15. You can save up to $1,500 in your IDA, and UIDAN will match it with an additional $4,500, giving you a total of $6,000.

In order to receive the matching funds, you must complete all the required financial management training and invest your savings in one of the following assets:

  • Home ownership for first-time home buyers;
  • Post-secondary education or certified vocational training for the account holder (institution must be accredited);
  • Small-business development or business capitalization
  • Assistive technology devices for people with disabilities

Continue on to learn how IDAs workClick to Continue

“Few people have ever spent their way out of poverty. Those who escape do so through saving and investing for long-term goals.” -Michael Sherraden, author of Assets and the Poor

For more information please call 1-877-787-0727 or E-mail info@uidan.org.