Recommendations for HSA Investment

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cdm770234
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Recommendations for HSA Investment

Post by cdm770234 » Wed Nov 19, 2014 11:50 pm

We have an HSA eligible High Deductible Medical Insurance for 2014 and would like to open an HSA account, primarily as a tax-free investment vehicle, since we need to augment our retirement portfolio. Both my wife and I are self-employed and are limited to regular IRAs as the only tax-free retirement contribution. We would like to (and are able to) max out on HSA (in addition to maxing out on IRAs) and treat that as an extension of our retirement portfolio. Consequently, we would like to invest 100% of the HSA contribution in an efficient manner, while managing risk.

After doing a lot of research as to where to open our HSA account, the Health Savings Administrators seem to be the best option, since it offers option to invest 100% of our contribution into 4 Vanguard funds out of 22 options, a combination of Index and actively managed funds. However, I am somewhat concerned about the fees: $45 Annual flat fee + 0.08% Quarterly Asset-based fee. Is this fee reasonable, given the investment options they are offering? Is there a comparable or better option out there? I have looked at the HSA page of the Wiki as well as several other online resources. So far this is the best I have found.

Any feedback & recommendation would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
CDM

asif408
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Re: Recommendations for HSA Investment

Post by asif408 » Thu Nov 20, 2014 9:29 am

CDM,

I've been looking into this as well (and am considering HSA Administrators), since I will have some HSA money to invest next year. HSA Administrator's fees don't look too bad compared to the other HSA options out there (my HSA investments through work, for example, all have 5%+ front loads and 1%+ ERs).

The other company I am considering is HSA Bank. With HSA Bank, you would use a brokerage account through TDAmeritrade and only ETFs are available. However, you wouldn't have any fees if you keep more than $5000 in the HSA account (though it looks like you also have to have more than $5000 in the investment account as well to avoid a fee there: http://www.hsabank.com/~/media/files/fees_s1). So if you didn't maintain the minimum balances it looks like you'd pay $66/year at HSA Bank vs. $45 + quarterly fee at HSA Administrators. The downside with HSA Bank is that you would have to keep $5000 invested in the savings account earning less than 0.5% interest. Quite honestly I have a hard time deciding between the two, so maybe someone with some experience with these companies will chime in. If I had to pick a company today I'd probably go with HSA Administrators, but I am open to be convinced that HSA Bank would be the better choice long term as well.

JacobyTT
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Re: Recommendations for HSA Investment

Post by JacobyTT » Thu Nov 20, 2014 10:23 am

I am very happy with Saturna Brokerage as my HSA custodian. You can invest the entire account and there are no monthly fees. You do pay $14.95 to trade most mutual funds and an additional $10/trade for Vanguard funds. If you're a lump sum investor, $25/year is really quite good.

Here's a detailed thread discussing Saturna: http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=135513.

Here's a fee comparison between HSA Administrators and Saturna. HSA Administrators: $45 + $10.72/year/$3350 -- After 5 years of max contributions, you'll be saving $20 + ($10.72 * 5) + quarterly payments on investment gains = $70+ per year with Saturna.

Smokey21
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Re: Recommendations for HSA Investment

Post by Smokey21 » Thu Nov 20, 2014 10:32 am

I am currently in the process of switching from Health Savings administrators to HSA bank. The quarterly fees plus the annual feeat Health Savings administrators are much greater than the HSA bank fees. I am fully invested in stocks and bonds and am "happy" to pay the monthly fee for not maintaining the minimum in the bank account so the money can keep working.

Depending on your asset allocation in the health savings account and your account balance, HSA bank might be the less expensive option. It is for me.

asif408
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Re: Recommendations for HSA Investment

Post by asif408 » Thu Nov 20, 2014 10:50 am

Smokey21 wrote:I am currently in the process of switching from Health Savings administrators to HSA bank. The quarterly fees plus the annual feeat Health Savings administrators are much greater than the HSA bank fees. I am fully invested in stocks and bonds and am "happy" to pay the monthly fee for not maintaining the minimum in the bank account so the money can keep working.

Depending on your asset allocation in the health savings account and your account balance, HSA bank might be the less expensive option. It is for me.

Smokey,

For HSA Bank, if you had less than $5000 in both accounts, it looks like you pay $66/year ($2.50+$3.00*12 months) in fees. Is that your understanding as well? It looks like if you had over $5000 in the investment account but not the savings you would pay $30/year (in addition to your ERs, of course), which isn't too bad to have all your money invested.

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The529guy
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Re: Recommendations for HSA Investment

Post by The529guy » Thu Nov 20, 2014 11:47 am

cdm770234 wrote:Both my wife and I are self-employed and are limited to regular IRAs as the only tax-free retirement contribution.

Have you considered establishing Solo 401ks?

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tludwig23
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Re: Recommendations for HSA Investment

Post by tludwig23 » Thu Nov 20, 2014 12:13 pm

I use a combo of HSA Bank, where I keep exactly $5,000 to avoid all fees (and earn a small amount of interest), and TD Ameritrade which allows me to buy 25 different Vanguard ETFs with no transaction or trading fees. My original plan was to buy TSM/TISM (VTI/VXUS), but since I needed to leave $5,000 in HSA Bank to avoid fees, I'm buying VBR/VSS.
That's what I do: I drink, and I know things. --Tyrion Lannister

cdm770234
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Re: Recommendations for HSA Investment

Post by cdm770234 » Thu Nov 20, 2014 12:36 pm

@The529guy:

Thanks for the suggestion about the solo-401K. One of us is not eligible (owns a business with employees) and the other one could not contribute more than the IRA / Roth-IRA limit last time I checked. Will check again now for 2014, since the net income from business has gone up.

On a side note, in addition to the regular IRA accounts, both of us have SEP-IRA as well as Roth-IRA accounts and we contribute to one or more of these accounts, based on eligibility and maximizing contribution every year.

ebv
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Re: Recommendations for HSA Investment

Post by ebv » Thu Nov 20, 2014 12:53 pm

We've been at Eli Lilly (ELFCU) for about a year and have liked it.

You have to keep 2500 in the HSA savings account (and earn ~1% interest), but can thereafter invest the rest at TDAmeritrade without any annual fee. My employer's custodian has very few investment options, so I keep the amount of our deductible in a money market account with the custodian, and anything left over at the end of the year I roll into our ELFCU HSA.

Pretty much just keep our invested funds in two ETFs: 90% iShares S&P 500 (IVV) and 10% Vanguard Intermediate Bond (BIV).

Hope this is helpful. Feel free to reach out with any questions.

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White Coat Investor
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Re: Recommendations for HSA Investment

Post by White Coat Investor » Thu Nov 20, 2014 12:57 pm

I've got $5K at HSA Bank and the rest in TSM via TD Ameritrade. I've been thinking about just investing it all and paying the fees starting this year though since I don't actually plan to spend out of this account for decades.

http://whitecoatinvestor.com/choosing-an-hsa-provider/

http://whitecoatinvestor.com/a-health-s ... ment-plan/
1) Invest you must 2) Time is your friend 3) Impulse is your enemy | 4) Basic arithmetic works 5) Stick to simplicity 6) Stay the course

cdm770234
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Re: Recommendations for HSA Investment

Post by cdm770234 » Thu Nov 20, 2014 1:25 pm

Thanks to all #BogleHeads who have responded with valuable suggestions.
Since I will be starting the HSA this year (2014), I will have approx. $7000 (pro-rated, with catch up contribution, per IRS limit) to invest. I investigated HSA Bank and Saturna options, but they appear to be more complex and/or more expensive compared to the one offered by HSA Administrators based on the following rationale:
  • My preference is to invest in Vanguard Mutual Funds. HSA Admin offers that directly. Others require me to open separate accounts with their partner brokerage houses - more complex with having to move money back and forth and managing two accounts with small balances (and possibly additional fees for small balances).
  • I will have to buy ETFs rather than mutual funds to avoid/reduce transaction fees on Vanguard funds with the other two options. I am still learning about ETF's and am not knowledgeable enough to dabble in ETF's at this time.
  • My total fee for the 1st year will be $67 which is lower than the other two recommended options if I want all of my balance to be invested in 2 or more ETFs/Funds. Down the road when my balance grows, asset-based fees will certainly overtake the flat fees & transaction fees, but by then I will be ready to dabble into ETFs and can move my account elsewhere.
  • Finally, HSA Admin offers a broad range of Vanguard funds - from target dates to index (total market as well as market segments) to actively managed funds (some of which are not available in ETF form).
Given the above rationale, HSA Administrators appears to be the best option for opening my HSA account - at least for now. Any comments & feedback is welcome.

CDM

Smokey21
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Re: Recommendations for HSA Investment

Post by Smokey21 » Thu Nov 20, 2014 2:16 pm

HSA bank will be less expensive than health savings administrators if your account value rises to the tipping point.

cdm770234
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Re: Recommendations for HSA Investment

Post by cdm770234 » Thu Nov 20, 2014 5:08 pm

Smokey21 wrote:HSA bank will be less expensive than health savings administrators if your account value rises to the tipping point.

Yes, I agree. Hopefully that is about 2 to 3 years away and by then I will be ready to move to ETFs. At that point, I can consider moving to HSA Bank - who knows, by then the fee structure and/or interest rates will change the relative merits of the two!!

CDM

Planner
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Re: Recommendations for HSA Investment

Post by Planner » Thu Nov 20, 2014 5:24 pm

I started at Health Equity, switched to Health Savings Administrators, and just recently moved to HSA Bank with TD Ameritrade investments (and I pay the monthly fee as I invest everything). I hate the fees, but I think my final choice is right, and I'm sure sick of switching...

Smokey21
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Re: Recommendations for HSA Investment

Post by Smokey21 » Thu Nov 20, 2014 6:05 pm

I'm with Planner.

ricb
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Re: Recommendations for HSA Investment

Post by ricb » Thu Nov 20, 2014 10:34 pm

I decided to use the HSABank-TDAmeritrade combination. Keeping $5,000 at HSABank saves $66 in fees which is like earning 1.32% plus the 0.2% interest = 1.52%, a respectable rate. At TDAmeritrade, I invested the equity portion in commission-free Vanguard ETFs VTI for 70% of equities and substituted VEU/VSS at 90/10 for VXUS which was not available - I did not use the Vanguard Mutual Fund versions because of the $25 transaction fees per Mutual Fund. The Fixed Income balance at TDAmeritrade I invested in a 4-yr ladder of new issue brokered CDs and a little BND (just to be represented). The CD coupons will be reinvested either in more ETFs and/or more brokered CDs for each $1000 accumulated. The plan is not to use the fully funded HSA for at least ten years or more, so these are long-term investments. The HSABank and TDAmeritrade online experiences and the customer service folks from both companies have been quite good. Do keep an eye on the HSABank savings minimum to avoid the $66 fees - they do raise that minimum as they did for next year.

perl
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Re: Recommendations for HSA Investment

Post by perl » Wed Nov 04, 2015 11:27 am

I'm trying to determine what custodian is the best option for an investment HSA. I've read the older posts on this, but some fee arrangements might have changed. Is HSA Bank+TD Ameritrade still likely the best? Or are there other good options to consider?

Jozxyqk
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Re: Recommendations for HSA Investment

Post by Jozxyqk » Wed Nov 04, 2015 11:37 am

Haven't looked at the other options recently, but I am still at Elements Credit Union (formerly Eli Lily Federal Credit Union --"ELFCU").

Linked brokerage is TD Ameritrade -- good range of funds. Access to vanguard.

I either have to keep $2,000 (I believe) in the account or endure a $3.00 per month charge. I take the charge.

There is also a $24 fee for transfers from the HSA to the brokerage.

I do a lump sum once per year, so total I'm looking at $60 per year in fees.

Pretty solid deal, and having skimmed this thread looks like it is worth considering.

asif408
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Re: Recommendations for HSA Investment

Post by asif408 » Wed Nov 04, 2015 12:18 pm

HSA Bank/TDAmeritrade (which I use) is one of the cheapest as far as I know. You can move money between the HSA portion and TDAmeritrade account without any fees. I am also able to make partial trustee-to-trustee transfers from my work HSA custodian to HSA Bank at no charge, so I can move smaller amounts over more frequently to invest, which I like. You may not have this luxury, as it seems that most HSA custodians charge a fee for partial trustee-to-trustee transfers, so most end up doing once a year rollovers to avoid or limit fees.

I have found some downsides to HSA Bank. You have to watch your account regularly, because I (and others here) have had some issues with charges and moving money over to the TDAmeritrade side. For example, the other day I noticed a strange $3.00 deposit into the account. I've also had an issue where I initiated a transfer to the TDAmeritrade side and it did not go through, then I had to resubmit several weeks later. They've resolved the issues each time when I have contacted them, and I don't think HSA Bank is the only HSA custodian with problems, but just be aware of it. Overall I've found the benefit of the being able to invest the HSA funds outweighs these small issues I've had.

I think other Bogleheads have had some success with Elements, HSA Administrators, and Saturna. Maybe they can chime in as well with some experiences.

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Bob B
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Re: Recommendations for HSA Investment

Post by Bob B » Wed Nov 04, 2015 1:50 pm

Take a look at Alliant.
http://www.alliantcreditunion.org/bank/health-savings-account#features
No minimum deposit and no fees.
Regards, | Bob |

perl
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Re: Recommendations for HSA Investment

Post by perl » Thu Nov 05, 2015 3:48 pm

Thanks for the suggestions. It looks like there are multiple options in the $50-75/year range.

It looks like Alliant charges $6/month for an investment account, and I can't find a list of what funds are offered and their expense ratios. If someone know where to find this, please let me know.

SpideyIndexer
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Re: Recommendations for HSA Investment

Post by SpideyIndexer » Thu Nov 05, 2015 4:11 pm

Do investments firms such as Vanguard and Fidelity charge much more?

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grabiner
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Re: Recommendations for HSA Investment

Post by grabiner » Thu Nov 05, 2015 10:09 pm

SpideyIndexer wrote:Do investments firms such as Vanguard and Fidelity charge much more?


Vanguard and Fidelity don't offer HSAs themselves. Many HSA providers offer Vanguard and Fidelity funds as investments, and others offer brokerage accounts in which you can buy Vanguard ETFs (or others).
David Grabiner

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Makaveli
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Re: Recommendations for HSA Investment

Post by Makaveli » Thu Nov 05, 2015 10:21 pm

grabiner wrote:
SpideyIndexer wrote:Do investments firms such as Vanguard and Fidelity charge much more?


Vanguard and Fidelity don't offer HSAs themselves. Many HSA providers offer Vanguard and Fidelity funds as investments, and others offer brokerage accounts in which you can buy Vanguard ETFs (or others).


I would double check this. My HSA is stationed at Fidelity and invested in fidelity funds.

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TimeRunner
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Re: Recommendations for HSA Investment

Post by TimeRunner » Thu Nov 05, 2015 11:29 pm

Check your state HSA rules. CA and NJ, for example, are quite different than Fed tax rules.
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Rob54keep
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Re: Recommendations for HSA Investment

Post by Rob54keep » Sat Dec 19, 2015 8:51 am

It looks like Alliant charges $6/month for an investment account, and I can't find a list of what funds are offered and their expense ratios. If someone know where to find this, please let me know.

They can be viewed at:

https://www.savedaily.com/partners/acu/smi.asp

jjface
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Re: Recommendations for HSA Investment

Post by jjface » Sat Dec 19, 2015 9:13 am

What about optum bank?

There is a $3 fee if you do not keep $3000 in the cash part but the investing is free as far as I can tell. They have vanguard mutual funds. Not a huge list but includes vwenx (wellington) and some vanguard index funds.
Last edited by jjface on Sat Dec 19, 2015 9:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

jjface
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Re: Recommendations for HSA Investment

Post by jjface » Sat Dec 19, 2015 9:14 am

Rob54keep wrote:It looks like Alliant charges $6/month for an investment account, and I can't find a list of what funds are offered and their expense ratios. If someone know where to find this, please let me know.

They can be viewed at:

https://www.savedaily.com/partners/acu/smi.asp


Click on funds on the top right corner of the page

alwyn
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Re: Recommendations for HSA Investment

Post by alwyn » Thu Mar 31, 2016 5:16 pm

Are there any specific ETF's or funds that are best suited for HSA investment purposes?

I assume since it is like a Roth you probably want high returns or maybe lots of dividends?

Any specific good choices?

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grabiner
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Re: Recommendations for HSA Investment

Post by grabiner » Thu Mar 31, 2016 7:34 pm

alwyn wrote:Are there any specific ETF's or funds that are best suited for HSA investment purposes?

I assume since it is like a Roth you probably want high returns or maybe lots of dividends?


If you live in AL, CA, or NJ, which tax HSAs, then you may want to use Treasury bonds such as TIPS' to get a state tax exemption.

Otherwise, your HSA is being invested for your retirement, so it should be invested as if it were part of your Roth IRA. If you have a taxable account, an HSA is a good place to put something tax-inefficient.

There is a slight advantage for holding bonds in an HSA and stocks in a 401(k) or IRA, rather the other way around. If you are too healthy in retirement, you might not be able to use your entire HSA balance for medical expenses; it will then be taxable if used for other expenses or left to your heirs. Putting bonds in your HSA reduces the risk that this will happen.
David Grabiner

alwyn
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Re: Recommendations for HSA Investment

Post by alwyn » Thu Mar 31, 2016 8:05 pm

Thanks for the bonds tip. I assume the reason is that you don't expect stellar growth so there is less money to spend?

malabargold
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Re: Recommendations for HSA Investment

Post by malabargold » Thu Mar 31, 2016 10:15 pm

ricb wrote:I decided to use the HSABank-TDAmeritrade combination. Keeping $5,000 at HSABank saves $66 in fees which is like earning 1.32% plus the 0.2% interest = 1.52%, a respectable rate. At TDAmeritrade, I invested the equity portion in commission-free Vanguard ETFs VTI for 70% of equities and substituted VEU/VSS at 90/10 for VXUS which was not available - I did not use the Vanguard Mutual Fund versions because of the $25 transaction fees per Mutual Fund. The Fixed Income balance at TDAmeritrade I invested in a 4-yr ladder of new issue brokered CDs and a little BND (just to be represented). The CD coupons will be reinvested either in more ETFs and/or more brokered CDs for each $1000 accumulated. The plan is not to use the fully funded HSA for at least ten years or more, so these are long-term investments. The HSABank and TDAmeritrade online experiences and the customer service folks from both companies have been quite good. Do keep an eye on the HSABank savings minimum to avoid the $66 fees - they do raise that minimum as they did for next year.


Why not just invest the $5000 in the S&P?
The dividend alone will earn $110. You'll be
$45 ahead, plus the opportunity for capital growth
And tax-free dividend reinvestment!

malabargold
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Re: Recommendations for HSA Investment

Post by malabargold » Thu Mar 31, 2016 10:17 pm

malabargold wrote:
ricb wrote:I decided to use the HSABank-TDAmeritrade combination. Keeping $5,000 at HSABank saves $66 in fees which is like earning 1.32% plus the 0.2% interest = 1.52%, a respectable rate. At TDAmeritrade, I invested the equity portion in commission-free Vanguard ETFs VTI for 70% of equities and substituted VEU/VSS at 90/10 for VXUS which was not available - I did not use the Vanguard Mutual Fund versions because of the $25 transaction fees per Mutual Fund. The Fixed Income balance at TDAmeritrade I invested in a 4-yr ladder of new issue brokered CDs and a little BND (just to be represented). The CD coupons will be reinvested either in more ETFs and/or more brokered CDs for each $1000 accumulated. The plan is not to use the fully funded HSA for at least ten years or more, so these are long-term investments. The HSABank and TDAmeritrade online experiences and the customer service folks from both companies have been quite good. Do keep an eye on the HSABank savings minimum to avoid the $66 fees - they do raise that minimum as they did for next year.


Why not just invest the $5000 you're keeping
At HSA in the S&P?
The dividend alone will earn $110. You'll be
$45 ahead, plus the opportunity for capital growth
And tax-free dividend reinvestment!

alisa4804
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Re: Recommendations for HSA Investment

Post by alisa4804 » Thu Mar 31, 2016 10:34 pm

We are content using HSA Bank, with the TD Ameritrade option to purchase Vanguard ETFs with no fees. The 2 accounts are linked so it's very easy to toggle from your HSA account to your TD Ameritrade account, and transfer funds between. HSA Bank also issues you a credit card, which is easy to use to pay medical expenses, with no charge for this service. (Other Bogleheads build up their HSA funds for distant future use, a strategy sometimes called a "stealth IRA.")

And yes, the HSA Bank fees are $5.50/month if you are below the $5000 minimum balance. Our employer paid the low balance fees, but other participants have the fees taken out of the account.

From reading others' posts on health savings accounts, it seems HSA Bank is one of the best reviewed. Hope this is helpful!

luckybamboo
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Re: Recommendations for HSA Investment

Post by luckybamboo » Thu Feb 02, 2017 8:04 pm

@alisa4804 - If you have accounts with all 3 firms how do you manage to keep the allocation percentage in check?

alisa4804
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Re: Recommendations for HSA Investment

Post by alisa4804 » Thu Feb 02, 2017 11:34 pm

I should have explained better! The HSA account is with it HSA Bank. Through that account, one can open a TD Ameritrade account to invest part/all of your HSA balance, and we chose the no-fee VSS ETF which is a Vanguard fund.

VSS is an all world ex-US small-cap fund, so really a world stock fund. Our holding with our HSA funds is such a small percentage of our investments, we just consider that part of our international stock allocation, if that makes sense?

Hope this is helpful. It's not as complicated as it sounds to invest part of your HSA account, through HSA Bank.

whitecliff
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Re: Recommendations for HSA Investment

Post by whitecliff » Mon Feb 27, 2017 1:23 pm

jjface wrote:What about optum bank?

There is a $3 fee if you do not keep $3000 in the cash part but the investing is free as far as I can tell. They have vanguard mutual funds. Not a huge list but includes vwenx (wellington) and some vanguard index funds.



optum does have fees. I think its 0.033% per month. I was signing up last night and saw that at the end and backed out. Any consensus on which company is cheaper if you have say 35k in it. I have searched through every provider multiple times and feel more confused that when I started. I almost went with saturna but it is very complicated and can't buy funds online. Its a weird setup.

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