Could your Health Savings Account (HSA) make you wealthier than the match your employer puts into your 401(k)? Yes!

How to determine which one will make you wealthier? Use the graph in Figure 1 on page 44 in the article you can download at to compare two percentages.

The first percentage is your employer’s matching contribution to your 401(k) (e.g., 25%, 50%, 100%). The second percentage is your combined tax rate (i.e., federal income tax rate, state income tax rate, Medicare tax rate on your salary, and Social Security tax rate on your salary) you are subject to on the last part of your salary (that will be directed into your HSA). The federal income tax rate schedule is available at When using the federal income tax rate schedule, remember to subtract your exemption deduction(s) of $4,050 per exemption and the greater of your standard deduction ($12,700 if married filing jointly and $6,350 if single) or itemized deductions to estimate your taxable income for 2017.

Click on “State Individual Income Tax Rates” at to find state tax rate information.

The Medicare tax rate is 1.45% (or 2.35% if your total salary exceeds $200,000 if single or $250,000 if married filing jointly).

The Social security tax rate is 6.2% but becomes 0% to the extent one’s salary exceeds $127,200 in 2017.

Now that you have the two percentages, go to the graph in Figure 1 on page 44. For points northwest of the curved HSA line in Figure 1, an employee will be wealthier if contributing to his or her employer-matched 401(k) first. For points southeast of the curved line, employees will be wealthier if contributing to their HSA first. (Note that you can only contribute to an HSA if you have qualified high deductible health insurance.) For instance, if an employee’s combined tax rate is greater than 20 percent, and his or her employer’s 401(k) match is 25 percent or less, contribute to the HSA first. Another example is that if an employee’s combined tax rate is greater than 33⅓ percent, and his or her employer’s 401(k) match is 50 percent or less, contribute to the HSA before contributing anything to your 401(k). Remember that the tax-favored treatment for HSAs only occurs if the distributions are to pay for or reimburse yourself for qualified medical expenses.

Even if the comparison of the two percentages on the graph shows you’ll be wealthier if contributing to the HSA first, for your financial well-being also try your best to get the maximum employer 401(k) match you are entitled to.

Posted in Accounting | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Prof. Geisler wins financial planning article award

The Montgomery-Warschauer Award honors the paper published in the Journal of Financial Planning that provided the most outstanding contribution to the betterment of the profession in the preceding year. The article provides the tax-efficient rank ordering for contributing to Health Savings Accounts (HSA), retirement accounts, and 529 higher education accounts, and for paying debts. Geisler shows that the tax savings on many employees’ contributions to an HSA increases wealth by more than an employer match on the same employees’ 401(k) contributions.

Posted in Accounting | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

#MDMC17 Through Students’ Eyes

On April 12-13, 2017, UMSL hosted the Midwest Digital Marketing Conference (MDMC17), for the 5th year in a row. From Under Armor to Pinterest, speakers from companies all over the US gave their insights on the digital and social media marketing world as they see it. The conference was open for both professionals working in this sphere, as well as students making their first steps in marketing.

Day 1 was full of activities from the Networking and Professional Development Fair, where attendees could talk face to face with some of the companies that were presenting later that day, to various sessions and MDMC Opening Keynotes. As the evening approached, Momentum Worldwide held an opening night party, where attendees were invited to come to chat with each other and try out new widgets in a relaxing environment. Day 2 offered 52 concurrent sessions for the public to choose. UMSL Business had the opportunity to speak with some of the students who were able to attend this year’s MDMC, and get their impressions.

This blog originally appeared on UMSL Digital Mindshare. Click here to read the full story.

Posted in Social & Digital Media | Leave a comment

Digital Summit by Purina

Angela LaRocca is the chair of the UMSL Marketing Advisory Board and the Brand Manager at Unidev in St. Louis.  This year she was invited to the Purina Digital Summit. This is an event put on annually for the company’s employees, close colleagues, and business partners.  Below, Angela shares her thoughts and experiences about this event with us and what she has learned.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

MDMC17 Startup Pitch Competition

By: James Stout

This was another year of success for the Midwest Digital Marketing Conference (MDMC), and this time the conference was two days full of great panels and great weather. MDMC is constantly growing, adding new features, events, and panels to be able to offer more to its visitors. An interesting addition this year was the Startup Pitch Competition, where a selected number of young startups had a chance to promote their product in only 3 minutes in front of the panel of experts. The judges were represented by the industry experts from such companies as Purina, Facebook, Snapchat, Microsoft, Google and more. The winner received a check for $5,000 from Purina and UMSL|Accelerate.

This year’s winners were MetKnow – creators of a mobile application that helps members in all types of organizations know each other’s names. We were able to chat with CEO and founder of the startup Will Edwards and get a little more information about his product and his thoughts on MDMC17. This blog first appeared on UMSL Digital Mindshare. Click to read full blog.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Future of Marketing According to Industry Experts

By: Jordan DeMars, Pablo Romero

Marketing is everything when it comes to promoting businesses, yourself, events, practically anything can be marketed. Over the years, it has evolved from newspaper ads to TV commercials and then to social media, and it just keeps evolving with the advances in technology. But how far can it go? On April 12-13, 2017, we had the privilege to attend the Midwest Digital Marketing Conference (MDMC) where we met and interviewed various speakers from different companies including Microsoft, Pinterest, and Pandora. After listening to them speak, we were able to sit down and talk to each of them about what they think the future of marketing and technology has to hold. Since they are all unique to each other in aspect of what their companies focus on, they had different ideas which allowed us to draw a much larger picture of the broad question that we asked them. One thing they all agree on, however, is that the future lies on the Internet of Things (IoT).

This blog originally appeared on UMSL Digital Mindshare. Read the full blog here.

Posted in Social & Digital Media | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

3 Big Reasons Nutella’s Facebook Page is Worth the Like and Follow

By: Brittney Hager and TJ Sheffer

Facebook can easily be viewed as one of the most popular social media networks. People, young and old, enjoy using Facebook for socializing, picture sharing, and liking the pages of many of their favorite brands. For this reason, businesses are using this social media platform to engage and push out content and offers to their consumers. Facebook is a great platform to use for these things because so many consumers love brands that they can feel they have a personal connection with and that they can advocate for through their page.

One brand that has been successful in this, is Nutella. Although their brand should market solely their hazelnut spread, Nutella incorporates fun and innovative content into their Facebook page that continues to draw in customers and gets them to engage with the brand. They were ranked #4 by Hubspot on “The 16 Best Facebook Pages You’ve Ever Seen.” This article originally appeared on the UMSL Digital Mindshare blog. Click here to read the full article.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Look Into the Midwest Digital Marketing Conference

This week in the UMSL Business podcasting series, “In Your Business with UMSL Business”, a few UMSL Business students sat down with Perry Drake, Angela LaRocca and Briana Smith to talk about the upcoming Midwest Digital Marketing Conference

and how it has grown over the past four years. This year, MDMC will take place on April 12th and 13th at Union Station in downtown St. Louis.

Perry Drake is a professor at UMSL who started his teaching career at New York University in the field of Integrated Marketing. He began teaching at UMSL four years ago, after a 14 year stint in New York. It was at UMSL where professor Drake created the UMSL Digital Conference that first time took place on campus for only half a day. The Digital Conference grew and it became known as the Midwest Digital Marketing Conference, or MDMC, and has since moved off campus to Union Station to accommodate larger crowds. This blog originally appeared on UMSL Digital Mindshare, read the full blog here.  

Posted in Marketing, Social & Digital Media | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Future of Live Streaming

By: Chidu Subbiah

Live Streaming has become a buzzword of late, but the history can be traced back to the late 90’s and early 2000’s when computing power became cheaper and powerful. The bandwidth of networks grew dramatically in this timeframe which increased the number of people and computers with access to those networks, creating the Internet as we know it today. Early live streaming efforts were mostly single-event broadcasts and were more focused around audio streaming. The following is a timeline of some of the evolution of live streaming leading up to what it has become today. This blog originally appeared on UMSL Digital Mindshare. Click here to read the rest!

Posted in Social & Digital Media | Leave a comment

Twitter Guide: JetBlue Shows Us How to Tweet

By: Pablo Romero

Twitter has become a major tool for marketing. Whether you are a company big or small having a twitter connects you to people all over the world and it opens communication in a much larger scale than anything seen before social media. People and companies are having conversations every day and the barrier between customer and brand is being broken down. Being able to communicate with customers in a more direct and personal fashion builds trust and favorability which can give your brand an edge.

However, maintaining a twitter account is hard work, and not many people can get it right. Whether it is a lack of response or content, not devoting enough time to the account can make or break your twitter presence. If used right, however, twitter can facilitate branding, customer support, networking, internal communications and advertising. One of the companies that is best taking advantage of this tool is JetBlue Airways, who according to HubSpot, is a brand who just “does it all”. They have conversations with people and engage in trends. They are hailed as one of the best twitter accounts out there.

“How do I become them?”, you ask. Below are five steps to make your twitter campaign take off like JetBlue’s. This blog originally appeared on UMSL Digital Mindshare, click here to view the entire blog. 

Posted in Social & Digital Media | Leave a comment