Learn how we simplified HSA investing for both account holders and HSA providers.
Investing HSA funds can have more tax benefits for account holders than 401(k) plans, 529 education savings plans, and traditional and Roth IRAs. Despite these tax advantages, Morningstar Manager Research’s 2022 Health Savings Account Landscape1 found that only 9% of HSAs have investment assets, signaling that account holders are not taking full advantage of the accounts' investment features or triple tax benefits.
Part of the challenge to consumers is complexity, as few understand how to invest or use their benefits (e.g., an HSA). Clunky user experiences hiding core actions and basic knowledge can only add to user complexity.
"Investing is historically difficult to understand, and it's even more daunting for those unfamiliar," said Izamar Loredo, Product Director at First Dollar. "But not investing just adds to widening gaps. By offering a frictionless, simplified HSA investing experience, we hope to help level the playing field. Investing should be for everyone, regardless of what you know or what you have."
Before we show off our product, let’s make time for a quick HSA 101 lesson. Health savings accounts provide account holders with three significant tax advantages:
First Dollar’s HSA Investing equips customers of our partners to benefit from all three HSA tax advantages. Let’s look at the pretty product screens now.
Most benefit experiences feel like they were designed for someone else, without the benefit holder’s needs in mind. To avoid this, our Product and Design teams collaborated to create benefits designed for humans. After all, humans (like you and me) are the ones using benefits, right?
First Dollar’s HSA investing begins with an interface where users can see all core HSA investing actions at a glance. From the home screen, the user can:
By designing a simple interface, we've focused on eliminating user guesswork and made it possible for users to understand what they can and can't do with HSA investments. We imagine a newly informed user might say, "I can invest and then later sell my investments for HSA funds if I want to." We've designed core functions to be obvious with the purpose of making user education possible without requiring someone to read a knowledge-base article.*
*We have those, too.
The two largest stock exchanges by market cap, NYSE and Nasdaq, have 7,754 and 4,448 names, respectively, as of August 2021.2 That’s a lot! We could all use guidance from a well-known resource to help simplify our choices, which is why we’re excited to team with the Workplace Solutions group within Morningstar Investment Management LLC, a subsidiary of Morningstar Inc.
Morningstar Investment Management will curate a list of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and hundreds of individual securities by applying a similar approach it uses to build investment menus and lineups for more than 21,000 retirement plans (as of June 30, 2022). This research-backed approach helps ensure account holders have access to the right mix of diversified asset classes based on their goals, with the knowledge that the narrowed investment options have passed Morningstar Investment Management’s stringent screening for risk and return characteristics.
"First Dollar understands the importance of simplifying investing so individuals can maximize the value of their HSA investments," said Brock Johnson, president of Global Retirement and Workplace Solutions at Morningstar Investment Management. "That vision aligns perfectly with our mission of empowering investor success.”
First Dollar's HSA Investing is one of the first HSA investing services to offer a curated list of ETFs and individual securities from Morningstar Investment Management LLC.
To the consumer, there's no separation between paying for health care with their HSA and investing their HSA funds—it's all a part of using their HSA.* We believe logging into another platform to access HSA investing or even use another benefit is one more confusing barrier for the consumer and a lost opportunity for the HSA provider.
For this reason, we've partnered with DriveWealth, a global fintech investment rail and pioneer in fractional investing, to create a seamless investing experience.
We built our investing product with DriveWealth’s expansive APIs. By doing this work up front, we've designed an experience in which users will never have to leave their Health Wallet to invest their HSA funds.* All HSA investing activity (and any other benefit activity) can occur within the user’s Health Wallet and is truly embedded.
"We want to empower individuals to control their financial future from the palm of their hand," said Stan Smith, Managing Director of DriveHSA, powered by DriveWealth. "That's why I'm so excited about our partnership with First Dollar. Together, we're equipping First Dollar customers with seamless HSA investing in their Health Wallet app."
*It’s First Dollar's POV that users consider all healthcare benefits and funds part of the same pool—benefits to be used to pay for health care.
We’re just getting started as our Product team is now working on APIs and widgets for our HSA Investing. Just like the rest of our Health Wallet platform, our partners will be able to choose to embed our investing product through documented API endpoints and/or a library of turnkey widgets.