IDAs make saving a habit, promote financial security and opportunity

Kitten perched in Austin Ells's shoulder

The New Hampshire Individual Development Account (IDA) program helps people who don't earn much money save and pay for goals like a home or an education. It encourages them to think and to plan for the future. It encourages them to become savers instead of consumers, and to work toward their financial security.

Poverty strains resources and relationships within families and communities. People with limited incomes have no margin for error and no cushion for emergencies. One in five New Hampshire households–about twice as many as exist in Manchester–wouldn’t have the resources to feed, clothe and shelter themselves for three months after a job loss or medical emergency.

Savings, and assets like a home or education, help people weather financial crises.

But a savings account can feel like an unaffordable luxury for people who live paycheck to paycheck. And many people in low-income/low-wealth households haven’t learned how to use tools like budgets to escape poverty.

The New Hampshire IDA program’s matched-savings accounts give people and families with limited incomes a large incentive to identify and save toward a goal, as well as the extra boost they need to succeed.

Just as important, the education provided by our community partners helps people build the skills they need to reach their goals, and to make smart financial decisions. It also starts, or strengthens, a relationship that can connect those families with other local resources.

The New Hampshire IDA program is coordinated by the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund. New Hampshire's IDAs are supported by a grant from Assets for Independence (AFI), a program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which provides approximately 40% percent of the project funding. Support is also provided by the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority, the N.H. Housing Finance Authority, and the federal Assets for Independence Program, private foundations, N.H. businesses, and individual donors.