How to make the most of your CPF monies after NDR 2019?

Christopher Tan

Following the National Day Rally announcements on the option (not a requirement!) to retire later and the increase in CPF contribution rates for older workers, Christopher Tan, CEO of Providend and Executive Director of MoneyOwl, who was previously a member on the CPF Advisory Panel, talks about making your CPF work for you to MoneyFM on 19 August.

You can listen to the recorded podcast here.

But if you prefer a quick read, here are some key points to take note of:

How Much Does CPF LIFE Pay?

If you are aged 55 years old today, the current:

  • Basic Retirement Sum (BRS) of $88K gives you about $700-$800 m. @ age 65
  • Full Retirement Sum (FRS) of $176K gives you about $1200 to $1500 m.
  • Enhanced Retirement Sum (ERS) of $264K gives you about $1800-$2100 m.

How Feasible For People To Reach The Sums By Age 55? (CPF/MOM Studies)

For a fresh grad, buying a 4-room flat, if you have a starting pay of:

  • $2000 – can reach BRS
  • $2300 – can reach FRS
  • $2800 – can reach ERS

For older cohort, 7/10 turning 55 in 2020 will hit BRS; 7/10 turning 55 in 2030 will hit FRS

Common Misconceptions About CPF Full Retirement Sums

  1. FALSE: That if you don’t have FRS, you cannot retire
    TRUE: Only CPF LIFE payouts start @ age 65
  1. FALSE: That if you don’t have FRS, you can’t take out any money at age 55
    TRUE:
    If you own a property, you can take out monies in excess of BRS
    If you have less than BRS, you can take out $5,000
    If you have less than $5,000, you can take out everything
  1. FALSE: That if don’t have FRS, you will be penalized (TRUE: no penalty!)

Should You Defer CPF LIFE Payouts To A Later Age?

  • Have a balance: every year deferred (max till age 70), you get 7% more payout, but you deserve to also enjoy from 65 years old – you never know when you go
  • Defer only if you have enough @age 65

Tips For Helping You Reach CPF Full Retirement Sums

  • Don’t over-extend yourself and buy too big a property
  • Don’t wipe out your CPF
  • Top up your CPF Special Account (SA)
  • Don’t invest your SA
  • Contribute into the 3 accounts

CPF LIFE Or Private Annuity Plans?

CPF LIFE has best returns (all else being equal). Private annuities have all but disappeared, but you can supplement with:

  • Retirement Income insurance plans (which are not really annuities) if you want reliable income, but returns are not high
  • Supplement also with investments, separately – not high cost ILPs which are NOT recommended

Investing Your CPF Under CPF Investment Scheme (CPFIS)

Short-term performance fluctuates. Overall investor experience with CPFIS is poor.

Guidance:

  • Do not invest your Special Account (it’s at 4% risk free!)
  • Keep costs low – avoid sales charge; use a conflict-free adviser; use low-cost funds; do not buy ILPs: costly and choices restricted.

CPF Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS)

  • Purpose is to encourage planning for retirement beyond CPF
  • Tax benefit for up to $15,300 for locals, $35,700 for foreigners per year
  • Penalty-free withdrawals start from statutory retirement age prevailing at the time of first investment – given NDR announcements, you should have a year or so before this changes to age 65
  • Invest in various instruments as SRS interest is low – again, keep low cost

Final Words

Make sure you have liquidity – there are constraints CPF and SRS when it comes to withdrawal.

For more related resources, check out:
1. Financial Planning for Merdeka Generation Part 3: Your Safe Retirement Income Floor
2. 3 Things To Note Before Opening An SRS Account
3. Retirewell® Part 6: Ensuring a ‘Safe Retirement Income Floor’


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