I was just going back and closing out some of our old accounts the other day when I noticed that this year was particularly profitable with regard to our flexible spending account (FSA). Not only did we shield a good bit from taxes, but we also ended up clearing $800 in straight up profit. That’s right, since FSAs allow you to take money out faster than you put it in, it’s possible to come out ahead if you leave your job. In our case, we set aside $2400 for medical expenses, and we cashed in the full amount by mid-year. And by the time I switched jobs, we had only paid in two-thirds of that amount. This has actually happened to us in the past, and I’ve long since gotten over the guilt of profiting at my (former) employer’s expense. After all, the use-it-or-lose-it nature of FSAs means that they’re a losing a bit on us, but pocketing a ton on all the people that set money aside but didn’t get around to using it all up.
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