We chat Good Cents with Marc, the founder of the popular financial education Instagram account BetterWalllet, and learn how he optimizes his HSA.
Occupation: Financial Consultant
Industry: Financial Services
HSA Type (Individual, Family): Individual
My name is Marc and I am the creator of the Instagram handle, BetterWallet. During my 9-5, I serve as a financial consultant. I grew up in adoption care, adopted at 13, and spent my childhood in central Pennsylvania. After putting myself through college, I joined the finance world and quickly learned concepts that neither my college education nor parents taught me in the past. My life’s mission to teach practical financial literacy to those who didn’t grow up learning it.
Choosing a HDHP was a no-brainer for me. I lost my adopted father to health complications at a very young age, so I take health very seriously. Soon after his death we realized that most of his health issues were preventable. Given that, I am the crazy person who goes to the doctor regularly - From my ENT (ears, nose, and throat) doctor to my dentist. As I plan for the New Year every year, the benefits of a HDHP (including the option for a HSA) always seem to outweigh other options. Furthermore, contributions to HSAs can be deducted from your AGI (adjusted gross income) so that saves me when Uncle Sam looks for his cut.
I run a pretty tight budget so any contributions I make to my HSA are preplanned and spending is very deliberate. In future years, I want to utilize the investment component of my HSA so I may lean towards the “savings” side a little more by making larger contributions. This will also help me reach my 2021 goal of maxing out of my HSA contributions.
In 2017 I partially tore my hamstring during a game of kickball (long story). During my doctor visit she recommended that I get crutches, compression wraps, pain relievers, physical therapy and come back every two weeks for a checkup. Since I’m as frugal as I am, I started adding up the costs and I quickly realized that an innocent game of kickball will lead to at least $1,000 in expenses. Additionally, I knew I had a HSA but at that time I thought I could only use the HSA funds for the doctor visits and pain relievers. After some research, I found that my HSA covered ALL of the cost I listed above INCLUDING physical therapy. Angel in disguise!
In past years, as I was paying off debt, I only contributed up to my employer retirement match for my 401k and up to expected expense for my HSA. Now that I’m debt free, I plan to take advantage of all tax-advantage vehicles – 401k, HSA, and Roth IRA (in that order) with the goal of maxing out all 3. My 401k is my first priority purely because of my employer’s 5% match. Next up will be my HSA because of the triple tax advantage. Lastly, I will contribute to my Roth IRA.
I am currently building a plan to max all 3 by making continuous bi-weekly contributions. Additionally, all side hustle inflows will go towards my Roth IRA.
Be sure to review ALL of the qualified expenses you can use your HSA for. More than likely, there will be a few that you were unfamiliar with that may be a game changer for you and your family. A few qualified expenses that shocked me included: physical therapy (mentioned above), eyeglasses, psychological counseling, some dental surgeries, and some pregnancy supplies.
Understanding all of the benefits of a HSA will help you make a more informed decision during your employer’s open enrollment.