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HSAs and Retirement: What You Need to Know

3 min read

30 sec brief

When you reach the age of 65, you'll be able to use your HSA like any other retirement account. The bonus? If you use it for qualified medical expenses, your distributions will still be tax free.

Health Saving Accounts (HSA) benefits change as you get older, specifically once you hit 55 and again at age 65.

Let’s discuss investment options to grow your account and what to expect at age 55 and 65 regarding your HSA.

HSA Investment Options

HSAs offer amazing benefits above and beyond helping you pay for qualified medical expenses.

HSAs are quickly becoming an additional way to save for retirement. Many financial planners advise people to max out their “traditional” retirement saving accounts - like 401(k)s and IRAs - first and then build up their HSA.

Contributed HSA funds roll over every year, letting the account grow over time. The 2020 contribution limits for individuals are $3,550, and for families, it’s $7,100.

Here’s where the HSA investment option comes into play. Individuals and families can have more than one HSA. You can only contribute up to the annual limit between them, but you can have more than one.

You may consider opening one HSA to fund qualified medical expenses, and another to focus on investing.

To use an HSA for medical expenses, look for an HSA administrator offering reliable banking options along with ease of use. Conveniences like online banking and debit cards will make the account easy to utilize.

When looking for an administrator for an HSA you want to invest, look for companies offering diversified investment options. Many HSAs have multiple investment options, including mutual funds, stocks, bonds, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) for you to choose from.

Build Your HSA Even Faster with Catch-Up Contributions

When you turn 55, federal rules allow annual “catch-up” contributions. Individuals over 55 are permitted to contribute an additional $1,000 a year above the annual limit.

To note, when an individual’s spouse turns 55, they cannot add their $1,000 catch up contribution to the HSA. However, the spouse can open their own HSA and contribute their catch-up contributions to that account, as long as eligibility requirements are met.

What Happens When I Turn 65?

Most Americans are eligible for Medicare when they turn 65. If you participate in any type of Medicare (Part A, Part B, Part C - Medicare Advantage plans, Part D, and Medigap), you cannot contribute to an HSA any longer.

However, turning 65 is when you’ll start seeing the advantages of an HSA.

Once you’re 65 and use your HSA funds for qualified medical expenses such as Medicare premiums, long-term care insurance or expenses, you’ll continue avoiding taxes.

You can also use your HSA like any other retirement account. Before 65, if you withdraw money from your HSA for a non-qualified medical expense, you must pay income tax and an additional 20% penalty. After 65, the 20% penalty no longer applies.

When you turn 65, you can use your HSA funds for non-medical expenses, once you pay the income tax.

Medical expenses tend to be higher in retirement. You may consider using your HSA funds for medical costs because you can use the money tax-free. If you’ve been building more than one HSA, you’ll have more options for using your money!

HSAs are excellent accounts to save for medical expenses and retirement. The ability to have more than one HSA allows you to build an additional “retirement basket” to utilize during your golden years!

Disclaimer: the content presented in this article are for informational purposes only, and is not, and must not be considered tax, investment, legal, accounting or financial planning advice, nor a recommendation as to a specific course of action. Investors should consult all available information, including fund prospectuses, and consult with appropriate tax, investment, accounting, legal, and accounting professionals, as appropriate, before making any investment or utilizing any financial planning strategy.

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