In a recent post on USNews.com, myFinancialAnswers Senior Advisor Evan Powers gave his thoughts on the benefits of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), which have earned renewed attention since the release of the new healthcare bill being considered in Washington, D.C. It’s a topic that’s been discussed here before, and HSAs certainly require some thought and planning to be used optimally.

Here are Evan’s thoughts, as relayed by the article’s author, Beth Pinsker:

Health Savings Accounts feature prominently in the new healthcare bill being considered by the U.S. House of Representatives, with a variety of changes in store.

But research shows not many participants are actually saving money beyond the initial tax break…

Most of the $37 billion in HSA accounts is sitting in cash, with only $5.5 billion invested in any way… EBRI’s study found that investments made up only about 3 percent of the total deposits. In today’s low interest-rate environment, that means these accounts are not keeping up with inflation, and actually losing value over time.

“If you think you’re going to spend most of the funds, it doesn’t make sense to invest it,” said Evan Powers, a certified financial planner with Cypress Financial Planning in Charlottesville, Virginia, and an adviser for myfinancialanswers.com.

Those who are saving and investing are doing better – they have an average balance of $14,971, seven times larger than those who do not invest.

HSAs can be complicated to set up and use, and many investors avoid them simply because they seek to avoid complexity. But for the right individuals, HSAs can offer a package of benefits (and flexibility!) that are unmatched by almost any other financial tool.

Having the confidence to use HSAs wisely starts with knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your overall financial plan—whether you’re on track to retire at your desired age, how much excess cash flow you have, and what your other savings options might be. Using software like ours at myFinancialAnswers can be an important first step toward building that necessary confidence.

To read more about consumer data regarding HSAs, feel free to click on over to the article at U.S. News. And if you’ve got questions about HSAs and how they work, don’t hesitate to let us know!

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