San Antonio Express
Opinion by Carlos I. Uresti
February 18, 2010
Being successful in life means setting priorities, making good decisions and taking advantage of opportunities when they come along.
If one of your priorities is the American dream of homeownership, opening a small business or getting a college degree, there's an amazing opportunity available to help you get there -- an Individual Development Account.
An IDA allows you to earn money by saving money, and it delivers more than a simple compound interest account.
Eligible IDA participants are asked to save a minimum of $25 per month, which will be matched on a 4-to-1 basis. When you have saved up to $1,000 in a 12-month period, it will be matched with $4,000.
That adds up to $5,000 to help purchase a home, pay for higher education, or start a business. Families that qualify may also sign up for the Ford Working Family Vehicle Purchase Plan using another IDA account that offers a 2-to-1 match.
Since the beginning of the program in 2000, 502 people have completed their IDA asset purchase, and 146 people are currently saving toward their goal. Currently there are 89 slots available for people who want to join the program.
Since 2007, 58 families have taken advantage of the vehicle purchase program and another 18 are currently saving to complete their purchase.
Forty-four slots are open for the vehicle program, which Richard Keith, special projects manager for the city of San Antonio Office of Financial Empowerment, says is a great way for families to obtain reliable, independent transportation and maximize their employment opportunities.
Cindy Schoenmakers, interim director for the city's Department of Community Initiatives, says tax season is a great time for individuals who qualify to take advantage of the IDA program because they can use their income tax return to get a head start on saving for their future.
So there is no better time to act than right now. Life is about making good decisions, and here's a chance to make a smart one.
For more information on the IDA program, residents can call 207-2836/5916. EISD residents should call 431-7505.
Carlos I. Uresti of San Antonio represents District 19 in the Texas Senate