HealthEquity blog

How millennials can use HSAs to balance life and work

millennialA 2016 survey by Deloitte found that Millennials (those born between 1981 and 1997) “value work/life balance higher than any other job characteristic.” While the definition of “work/life balance” may mean different things to different people, one millennial in a Forbes article said, “It’s about my life goals aligning with my work goals so I focus on doing what I enjoy the most.”

Striking that balance between work and other pursuits can be tricky, but the good news is that a health savings account (HSA) can be a way for millennial employees to manage the balance between their work and personal lives, both now and in the future. 


an hsa provides flexibility that millennials crave

In the same Forbes article mentioned above, another millennial talked about work-life integrations, noting that she was “building a lifestyle and a career…So, earlier this month that meant working from my laptop in the mountains of Columbia. Last week it was skiing in upstate New York…That flexibility makes my career sustainable in a way that I can adapt when new lifestyle priorities arise.”

In a 2018 research report, Udemy found that 44 percent of millennials want flexibility from their employers, especially when it comes to when and where they work. This fact, in conjunction with millennials’ desire for a healthy work/life balance, means that the benefits you provide your employees are key. An HSA can give your millennial employees the flexibility they crave.

HSAs allow accountholders to manage their health savings in a way that suits them. For example, one great benefit of having an HSA is the ability to be reimbursed from the HSA for out-of-pocket qualified medical expenses. Doing this allows accountholders to save HSA funds and earn interest. And, when accountholders reimburse themselves, it is tax-free.1 There is no expiration date on when the expenses can be reimbursed (HealthEquity’s mobile app provides a way to upload the receipts you will need to save), which means accountholders have flexibility to both pay for qualified medical expenses and save money.   

It also means that millennials can have confidence that, whether they’re working in the mountains of Columbia one week or skiing in New York the next, they have flexibility when it comes to saving for their healthcare needs.


an hsa can help millennials plan for retirement

A Merrill Edge report in late 2017 found that while millennials are doing much better than previous generations at saving money for financial freedom, the majority are not planning for retirement in their later years. This could become a major issue for them down the road as estimates suggest that a healthy couple can expect to pay $266,000 in medical premiums alone during their retirement. This means that if millennials aren’t planning on these retirement costs, they may have to work into their retirement years instead of using that time for other pursuits.

An HSA and a 401(k) paired together can be a helpful solution to this problem. HSA funds roll over every year, all the way to retirement and beyond. This allows millennials (and other generational workers) to save not just for future qualified medical expenses before retirement, but also for possible medical expenses during retirement. A 401(k) can also help millennials save money for their future, and by pairing both these accounts, millennials can potentially save enough for their retirement years.

In other words, millennial employees who take advantage of these two retirement programs now can set themselves up for a potentially better retirement in the future.


One of the best ways to attract millennials to your company is to incentivize them with the benefits they are looking for. Providing millennial employees with both flexibility and an HSA can be a great way to attract the best workers to your business because it can bring the desired work/life balance that millennials are seeking. An HSA paired with a 401(k) can also help millennials prepare for retirement.

1. HSAs are never taxed at a federal income tax level when used appropriately for qualified medical expenses. Also, most states recognize HSA funds as tax-free with very few exceptions. Please consult a tax advisor regarding your state’s specific rules.

Nothing in this communication is intended as legal, tax, financial, or medical advice. Always consult a professional when making life-changing decisions.



Topics: HSA, HSA questions, millennials

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