IDA Program Information


What is an Individual Development Account (IDA)?

An IDA is a dedicated savings account designed to help low-income individuals and families achieve specific medium and long-term savings goals.

  • The program is a 2 to 1 match meaning that when you save $2,000 the program will match your $2,000 with an additional $4,000; giving you a total of $6,000 to use for your savings goal.

  • Depending on funding, the maximum term during which you receive matching funds is two or three years.

How do I know if I qualify?

To participate in LIFETIMEís program, account holders must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a resident of the city of Oakland, CA.

  • Have a social security number

  • Be over the age of 18 (or 18 by the time you draw down funds)

  •  Have a source of earned income (either part-time or full-time work)

  • Have an overall income that is 200% below the federal poverty level. (If you receive CalWORKs or qualify for the earned income tax credit, then you meet this requirement.)

How much should I save each month?

Participants are required to make a deposit each month. (If you miss three deposits in a row your account will be closed; we encourage participants to use direct deposit as a means to meet monthly deposit requirement.)  

To save $2000 in two years, the average deposit would be $84.00 per month. 

 Monthly statements are mailed to each participant to show their progress.

Are there any other obligations to the program?

  • Participants must attend 8 hours of financial management training (2-3 classes, date and locations vary)
  • Attend classes pertaining to the participantís specific asset goal
  • Attend 2 investor workshops per year

What can I use my savings toward?

LIFETIME's IDA's currently fund three specific areas: Education, Microenterprise, or First time Homeownership.

What if I need the money for emergency purposes?

Account holders are encouraged to maintain a separate savings account for such situations. If Savers withdraw money for purposes other than their savings goal they will lose the match funds on that portion of their personal savings. 

The emergency withdrawal must meet specific criteria and requires the approval of the program staff. Savers may not request an emergency withdrawal until at least 6 months after enrolling in the program.

What if I need to leave the program before meeting my match requirements?

IDA accounts are a once in a lifetime opportunity; meaning that if you withdraw from the program you will not be eligible to enter the program again. Additionally, when you withdraw from the program you will lose any matched funds. Please call to speak with a LIFETIME program representative if you are considering closing your account.


Attend an orientation! (Check the LIFETIME calendar for upcoming orientations.)

What if I donít live in Oakland or Alameda County?