Assets in America

  • 1 in 5 Americans are asset poor; if they had to live only on their net worth (savings, home equity and other assets) they could not survive at the poverty level for three months.
  • 15.5% of all Americans have zero or negative net financial assets(this is true for 26% of minorities).
  • Nearly 30% of Americans are unbanked.
  • Assets help to increase:
    -community involvement
    -civic participation
    -long term thinking
    -long term planning.



IDAs are special savings accounts for low-income workers where every dollar earned and saved is matched. The Advance Memphis IDA matches every dollar saved with two dollars, allowing grads to save $1500 and receive $3000 in matching dollars. Money saved must go toward the purchase of an asset: education, home, small business, or reliable transportation. The goal of the program is help participants increase net worth through the habit of saving and the purchase of assets.

Why Asset Building?

  • "Few people have ever spent their way out of poverty. Those who escape do so through saving and investing for long term goals." Michael Sherraden, professor of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis and an originator of IDA programs in the U.S.
  • An IDA is NOT a handout. It's a tool that empowers participants through employment and healthy money management.
  • IDA Programs are built on the premise that assets, not just increased income, create opportunties for sustainable, intergenerational relief from poverty.
  • IDAs encourage participants to do what God created them to do: use their gifts and talents to provide for themselves and their families.


SUCCESS STORIES: Bobbie, pictured above, saved for and purchased a home. To see other success stories, like Bobbie's, click here.

CURRENT PROGRAM PARTICIPANTS: To see other Advance grads who are currently saving through the IDA Empowerment Program, click here.

Want to be a part of it?

To begin supporting the Advance Memphis IDA Program, contact or 901.543.8525. You may also click here to give online, and specify "IDA" in the "in honor of" blank.

Advance Memphis provides Biblically based training to empower students to find and retain jobs, and become financially independent. Support these Memphians by tutoring, mentoring or giving. Support a strong Memphis.
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