One of the biggest wild cards when it comes to investing for your future is planning for the cost of healthcare. While we can’t offer you a crystal ball, we can offer one strategy to keep these costs in check: a health savings account. More specifically, we are going to share the best features of our favorite HSA provider in this Lively HSA review!
You’ll learn exactly why HSA accounts are so powerful. Plus, we’ll share the standout features (and areas for improvement) to help you see if Lively HSA is right for you.
Let’s get started!
What is an HSA?
A health savings account–or HSA for short–is a type of savings account that allows you to set money aside for future medical expenses.
In order to have an HSA, you have to make sure that you have an eligible high-deductible health plan as your medical insurance. If you do, you are most likely eligible for an HSA.
Once you start setting money aside in your HSA, you want to keep track of your medical expenses.
Some qualifying medical expenses include:
- Chiropractor care
- Speech therapy
- Feminine hygiene products
- Flu shots and vaccines
You are in control of the money in your HSA which is why having the right HSA provider matters so much. Before we learn more about one of our favorite HSA providers, let’s learn more about the advantages of an HSA.
What are the advantages of an HSA?
If you’ve spent any amount of time in the personal finance or early retirement world, you’ve no doubt heard about the benefits of a Roth IRA. Your money grows tax-free and then your withdrawals are tax-free as well. This double tax advantage makes a Roth IRA one of the most powerful investment vehicles available.
As exciting as that double tax advantage is, imagine if you could triple it. With an HSA, you can thanks to the triple tax advantage! Health savings accounts start by reducing your taxable income. Then, they grow tax-free. Finally, your qualifying medical expenses are also tax-free.
Unlike flexible savings accounts (FSAs), HSA balances never expire. Instead, your money rolls over from year to year.
Another benefit of HSAs is that starting at age 65, you can actually tap them like a traditional IRA. That means your withdrawals can go toward anything, not just qualifying medical expenses. Of course, you will pay taxes in this instance, just like you would on a traditional IRA.
Learn more about how HSAs can protect your health and wealth here.
What is Lively?
Are you ready to get started with an HSA? Then you want to get to know Lively! Lively HSA is one of many HSA providers available today. What sets Lively apart is its low fees and solid investment options.
Investors pay no monthly fees and there is no account minimum.
Plus, Lively allows users to invest up to 100% of their funds. Of course, you should save and invest based on what is best for your personal situation. Still, for many investors who look to HSAs for that triple tax advantage, being able to invest your entire HSA balance is definitely a game-changer.
Lively HSA Review: Best Features
No Lively HSA review would be complete without exploring some of its best features. Here are more specifics about why we love Lively:
Fee-Free Debit Cards
Lively gives you access to up to three debit cards. We know! It sounds strange at first, but the fact that you get three debit cards actually shows that Lively really understands families.
Instead of putting one person in charge of managing all of the expenses, up to two additional family members can have debit cards.
Of course, you don’t actually have to request extra debit cards. If one is all you need, that works for Lively too!
No matter how many cards you need, there are no fees associated with the cards. That’s right. Lively debit cards don’t charge a monthly fee and there are no transaction fees either.
HSAs are a way for people to cover the cost of qualifying medical expenses. So our favorite HSA providers, like Lively, make it really easy to get reimbursed.
You have two options to get reimbursed with Lively.
The easiest way to get reimbursed for qualified medical expenses is to simply use your Lively debit card. Whether you’re at a doctor’s office, pharmacy, or anywhere else you can make a qualifying purchase, simply swipe your Lively debit card. It’s that simple!
If you don’t have your card handy or decide to pay another way, you can still get reimbursed. Snap a picture of your receipt and upload it using Lively’s user-friendly mobile app.
Lively Mobile App
Another standout feature of Lively is the mobile app. Since HSAs only come with high deductible health plans, it makes sense that HSA users try to be conscious of their deductible spending. But it can be a lot to figure out how to track it.
That’s where the Lively app comes in! You can use the mobile app to keep tabs on your deductible spending and your out-of-pocket costs. The app breaks it down into two easy-to-read bar graphs: one for in-network and one for out-of-network expenses.
Investing Partnership with Schwab
There's a reason that people pursuing financial independence love HSAs. These triple tax-advantage accounts offer plenty of perks. Lively helps users capitalize on the HSA tax benefits by teaming up with Schwab.
Schwab has built a reputation on offer low-fee and fee-free investing options. So when we learned that Lively HSAs can be invested with Schwab, we had to learn more!
While some people prefer to let their money sit in savings, we are big fans of investing. If you want to invest your HSA, you can do so thanks to this Schwab partnership.
If you have more than $3,000 to invest, there's absolutely no cost. Are you waiting for your HSA balance to grow to $3K? You can still invest for a low annual fee of $24.
Once you set up your Schwab Health Savings Brokerage Account, you can build your portfolio with ETFs, stock, bonds, and mutual funds. You can also set up regular deposits and manage your portfolio from the Lively dashboard.
You can also change your investing preference at any time. Low fees and flexibility are a winner in our book!
To learn more about the triple tax advantage that comes with HSAs, check out our podcast all about HSAs.
Are you ready to see our favorite features in action? Learn more about Lively HSA here!
Lively HSA Review: Areas for Improvement
There’s a lot to love about Lively, but no fintech is totally flawless. If we had to pick out a few areas for improvement, here’s what we would focus on:
Interest Rates on Cash Balances
Lively is quick to point out that you don’t have to invest your whole HSA. But one of the biggest drawbacks to Lively is what happens if you don’t.
You do earn interest on your cash balances but you might have to squint to see it. That’s because Lively pays just above 0% at 0.01% APY.
Your money definitely isn’t keeping pace with inflation here. That’s why the first-dollar investing option with Lively is so appealing.
Additional Account Needed
Another aspect of Lively that we don’t love–but we do understand!–is that you have to open another account to actually invest your money.
Whether you want to design your own portfolio or go with a guided option, you need to open an account with TD Ameritrade or Devenir respectively. This definitely isn’t a deal breaker, but it is another step for people to contend with.
Just like the horror stories you sometimes hear about people opening their 401ks and never actually investing the money, you can imagine some people setting up their HSA but then not making the next move to invest.
Note that an account with Devenir comes with a 0.50% annual management fee. If you go with the TD Ameritrade account, Lively does not charge a monthly fee to invest.
On a personal note, I like the TD Ameritrade option because I invest in fee-free ETFs. That way the entire investing and saving process with Lively HSA is completely free.
Lively HSA Review: Competitors
There are several Lively HSA alternatives worth considering as well.
HealthEquity is another HSA provider. Users can save pre-tax dollars for qualifying health expenses. Notably, you can invest in Vanguard funds, which means low fees. Additionally, individuals and employers can open HSAs. There is a charge of $3.95 per month; however, HealthEquity waives that fee once you have more than $2,500 in your cash balance.
Another Lively HSA competitor is HSA Bank. HSA Bank pays significantly more in interest on cash balances. But that’s only fair because you actually have to have a minimum balance of $1,000 before you can invest. Remember with Lively that the minimum is $0.
Fidelity is most likely the best competitor to Lively HSA in our opinion. They have no account fees or minimums and offer you the ability to invest in Fidelity funds as well! If you're already a Fidelity customer, opening your HSA with them makes the most sense to us.
Lively HSA Review: FAQ
To round out our Lively HSA review, we tracked down answers to some of the most commonly asked questions. Learn a little bit more about Lively HSA to see if Lively is right for you.
What bank does Lively HSA use?
Lively partners with Choice Financial. As Lively HSA’s partner bank, Choice Financial is able to offer FDIC insurance for funds that remain with Choice Financial.
How does Lively make money?
With all of the perks that come with using Lively HSA, you may be wondering if it’s too good to be true. It’s not! But we get the concern. No fees, no account minimums. You might be wondering what’s in it for them. It turns out that Lively is an excellent product for consumers, and they have a solid business model that allows them to turn a profit as well.
The main way that Lively makes money is through a monthly fee. Employers who use Lively are charged a flat fee of $2.95 per month for each employee. It’s also worth noting that an employer with fewer than 50 employees will have to pay $50 per month.
Another way that Lively generates money is from their debit cards. As with many other financial services and banks, Lively offers customers the option of using a debit card. Lively then keeps a small percent of the merchant fees charged during debit card transactions.
Finally, Lively also makes money from your money! More specifically, if you do not invest your money, Lively earns interest on that money.
Can you invest for free with Lively?
Yes! You can invest for free with Lively HSA! One of the most appealing aspects of Lively is the fact that there are no account minimums to start investing.
Investors who want to create their own portfolios will appreciate Lively's partnership with Schwab. The Schwab Health Savings Brokerage Account is fully customizable. If you already have experience building a portfolio with index funds, this option might be really appealing.
Investors who want more support can get that, too! There is a guided investment option with Lively HSA as well. Devenir provides the HSA Guided Portfolio options, offering investors the chance to get investing suggestions tailored to their investing goals, risk tolerance, and timeline.
Final Thoughts on our Lively HSA Review
It's true that an HSA can be a secret weapon in your retirement planning portfolio. With a triple tax advantage and the ability to function like another IRA, there's a lot to love about health savings accounts. But not all HSAs are created equal.
If you really want to take advantage of all that a health savings account offers, you need a provider that offers a streamlined user experience and keeps your fees as low as possible. That's where Lively HSA comes in!
Check out Lively if you're ready to see how this HSA provider helps you protect your health and grow your wealth on your financial journey. Need some help getting started? Let us help you set up your Lively HSA in five simple steps!
Do you have an HSA? How might Lively HSA fit into your future planning?
Please let us know in the comments below.