Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Individual Development Account (IDA)

I found out about this only because my sister-in-law is a banker...

There is a new type of bank account (set up in Federal law) called an Individual Development Account (IDA).

You can open this account, and it teaches you how to save. What that means is that for each dollar you deposit, it will be matched 1-to-1 or better (even 6-to-1 sometimes I guess). That's a great incentive to save! But it goes further. As part of this deal, the person who opened the account has to agree to save a certain amount every month (whatever amount), and also has to attend several training classes on compound interest, etc.

It sounds like a revolutionary idea! So why didn't I hear about it until just now? Why haven't there been a million ads promoting it? Maybe banks wouldn't be too excited about promoting it, although my sister-in-law said that they want to encourage savings as much as possible, because their savings business is much more profitable than their loans business. Seems counter-intuitive, but when I realized that interest rates are quite low and the stock market is doing well, that explains it somewhat.

Anyway, here's a link to an explanation from the North Carolina government (best one I could find).

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