Matched Savings Account
In addition to attending program classes, Network members are given the opportunity and support to participate in savings. Through a partnership with American Heritage Federal Credit Union, members open accounts and make deposits within the group sessions. For 12 months, the Network matches a dollar for every dollar that members save in their savings account, up to $20 per month, in addition to providing the initial $15 account minimum.
- The account is opened in the member’s name.
- Members with an unfavorable banking history are able to open an account.
- The Network will wire funds directly into member’s matched savings account.
- Network members are able to take advantage of this match for a year.
Members are encouraged to use money saved towards their financial and personal goals. The Network does not limit or restrict how members use the money they save.
The goal is to support members as they establish a habit of savings, as opposed to focusing on a monetary savings goal. The program focuses on unlearning the belief that saving is about putting as much of your disposable income in the bank as possible. Saving money is about creating a productive habit of building liquid assets, which lead to less stress and higher achievement.
Members are discouraged from withdrawing from their savings for the duration of the Financial S.E.L.F. Empowerment sessions through restrictions on the match. Each month a withdrawal is made, no match will be given. This restriction is lifted once members have completed all sessions. Additional incentives are given each week that no money is withdrawn through redeemable incentive points that are collected throughout the program. These policies offer opportunities to incentivize members to build their savings habit, instead of simply focusing on building up their bank account.
Many people don’t believe they can save money. Members of The Network leave the program knowing that they can save and seeing the balance in their account as proof.