I don’t know if you guys have noticed, but this blog is named Thousandaire. Why is it named Thousandaire you might ask? Because I’m a jackass that has to tell the world his net worth, and there isn’t that much to speak of right now?
Nope. Well, sure it’s not like I’m a millionaire, I do fit into the thousandaire category, but that’s not what this blogs about. This blog was started to take you from no net worth, or in some cases less than no net worth, to that vaunted height of Thousandairedom.
So you might wonder to yourself, “self, what’s the best way to save $1,000?” There are a number of ways to answer that question, and we’ve gone over it a number of times on this blog. The only way to save $1,000 is to spend $1,000 less than you earn. Money coming in minus money going out has to be $1,000, only then will you own $1,000.
Alright, but assuming you can save $1,000, what’s the best way to save $1,000? The correct answer to that is in an individual development account.
What is an Individual Development Account
Alright, first off you need to not make very much money. Those of you making $100,000 a year should click right out of here and try to determine on your own time why you can’t save $1,000. I’m sure it’s probably some politician’s fault.
Are they gone? Maybe, it’s just folks who actually have to struggle to make ends meet reading now. So, what is an individual development account? Well, if you make less than 200% of the poverty line (in most areas) or under 80% of the median area income (in others) you can make monthly contributions to a special savings account. The contributions to this special savings account are usually matched. Yes, in the case of the Individual Development Account program closest to me (it goes by the PIE program ’round these parts), the match is 4:1. That means as you save up $1,000 the program will also put $4,000 in the account.
I know of literally no other investment this good.
This is it.
This is the best investment.
What’s the Catch?
Good question. There are a couple big important catches.
- The money must be spent on some individual development goal, like post-secondary education, buying a house, or starting a business.
- You often have to attend some personal finance classes. The important part about this caveat is that the personal finance classes are free.
So, you have to save money to invest in your future, can’t just spend it on consumer crap. Surprise, surprise.
Where are Individual Development Accounts Available?
Basically, if you live in a US State that isn’t Wyoming you’ve got a good shot. You can find a complete list at CFED.org. I’ve known some people who have gone through the PIE program in Colorado, where they were matched 4:1 to get $4,000. There are so few obvious wins when it comes to personal finance and investing, this is an obvious win. So if you want to start a business, if you want to go to college, if you want to own a home, look into an IDA ASAP, and when you’re done at the very least you’ll be a Thousandaire.