First Dollar Investing: Making It Simple To Maximize HSAs

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."

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.

HSA Investing 101

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:

  • Contributions are tax-free: Individuals can contribute pre-tax funds to their HSA, reducing their taxable income, or they can deduct post-tax contributions from their taxes.
  • Spend tax-free on qualified items: Individuals can spend their HSA funds on eligible medical items tax-free.
  • HSA balances grow tax-free. Account holders don't pay taxes on HSA growth, making it a great investing tool.

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.

Simplified investing: Understanding with a glance

An iPhone showing Health Wallet dashboards that consumers can use to track their HSA investments progress
Consumers are able to track their stock's performance in the Health Wallet.

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:

  • Search for stocks and ETFs
  • Invest their HSA balance
  • Sell their securities

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. 

Curated investing: A helpful stock list for investor guidance

An iPhone product marketing image showing the categories of stocks organize the curated list of investing options for Health Wallet users
Consumers have access to a curated list of ETFs and individual securities.

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.

Curated ETFs and individual securities

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.

HSA investing service collaboration

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.

Seamless investing: One place for all investment activity

a product marketing image showing three iphone screens that are displaying the different ways consumers can access embedded HSA investing in their Health Wallet.
Health Wallet users will be able to do their investing within the Health Wallet.

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. 

DriveWealth operational infrastructure

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.

Coming Soon: Widgets, APIs

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. 


  1. “2022 Health Savings Account Landscape.”Morningstar Manager Research. Accessed 10 February 2023.
  2. “How many stocks are there?” Benzinga Pro. Accessed 10 February 2023.
Josh Hostetler

Josh leads content for First Dollar, a fintech company that builds infrastructure for health spending benefits. Before First Dollar, Josh led course creation at Aceable, taught First Grade, waited tables at Olive Garden, and wore many other hats. He misses the breadsticks.