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Keywords:

  • assets;
  • families;
  • Individual Development Accounts;
  • policy;
  • poverty;
  • savings

Data from 25 participants in the Family Assets for Independence in Minnesota (FAIM) project were used to identify factors that enabled these low-income wage-earning families to save money and build assets. FAIM, part of the Individual Development Account movement, is a pilot program for families with incomes ≤ 200% of poverty to build assets. An analytic induction method was used to identify constructs from three waves of interviews conducted during 2001–2002. Our focus is on four of the eight major constructs that emerged: financial vulnerability, personal attributes, social support, and resource management strategies. Our findings provide evidence that low-income families can save money toward a goal in the face of hardships and become asset builders.