Imagine a savings account where every dollar you deposit is matched with another dollar. You'd be getting free money. Wouldn't you jump at the opportunity?

Well, you can through an Individual Development Account (IDA) program. In general, money saved in IDAs may be used to buy a home, pay education expenses or fund a new business.

Private nonprofit organizations or other companies sponsor most IDA programs, although some receive government money. For every dollar you save, the sponsor will usually add at least $1—and maybe more—to your IDA savings.

Since different groups support different IDA programs, requirements and the match level may vary. Still, you can see that the prospect of regular matches allows your savings to add up quickly.

To determine whether you’re eligible for an IDA, ask your Community Action Agency case worker, bank, credit union or local housing authority.

The Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) is one of the original organizations to support IDA programs. Today CFED continues its strong support of this innovative tool that helps create economic opportunity. Visit the CFED website, for information on program options and how to get started.

Read on for more information about IDA programs.

Individual Development Accounts