Sunday, 15 June 2014

time to start worrying about retirement???

Every Singaporean, when they start work automatically gets enrolled in our Central Provident Fund.  Its like a forced savings plan which helps you buy your first home and set you up for medical savings and retirement.

Our government controls the fund and makes changes to it off and on with regards to how much money you can withdraw when and what is the minimum amount you should have in the fund  by the time you reach 55.

There has been alot of debate recently about the minimum amount and the fact that we can't withdraw all the
article in the Sunday times today
money when we want etc etc.......
There are two sides to this, as in every situation....

The first is
Its my money!  Its my life! Its my hard earned money so why do I have to listen to the government about investing my money.  Why cant I just get the whole amount in there and do what I want with it.

The second is
Its a prudent retirement plan which will ensure I have enough money when I retire.  It will give me money to look after myself when I am old and I don't have to depend on the state (we don't have much government assisted schemes for the unemployed, poor or old and sick, which is why we enjoy relatively low taxes as we don't believe in taxing people half their salaries so that the unemployed and old get handouts)

Now while both  sides have their merit, I have some questions as I will be 55 in a few years and I will see my money frozen in the retirement account and perhaps my home too, depending on which scheme I opt for.

First question
Its my fucking money and I don't want either plan you have listed so what else can I do?  There is an option to show the government any other life annuity plans one might have bought privately or topping it up with cash to be frozen....

Second question
What gives the government the right to tell me that I have to pledge my home in one of the options?  When we bought our homes and you happily told us that we could use "our" money in our CPF accounts to pay the mortgage, why didn't you tell us then  " oh by the way when you retire you have to pledge back this very home up to the amount you used from your CPF to top up your minimum sum".

Third Question
As I know I will not be able to retire at 65 and I will have to continue working at any job I can get, why are you putting all my money into the retirement account when I reach 55?

 It sounds to me like strong arm tactics.  It sounds to me that the government is being big brother and bullying me into choosing one of the schemes.  It sounds to me that the government is being the nanny in this nanny state when they (the G)  protest that we the citizens have to stop expecting the government to be the nanny.

While I can see its a good way to plan for retirement, and I didn't plan for my retirement as I was too busy trying to feed my children and keep a roof over my head for too many years, I still think strong arm tactics are not the best way to explain it to people like me who are facing the prospect of seeing their hard earned money kept frozen out of their reach.

The CPF thing is a complicated maze and its still not clear to me so I will be calling the CPF  to understand my options better, so this post could just be a rant about nothing, or it could just be the tip of the iceberg.......


  1. Wow, I have just learnt a lot about your system. I am seeing you have low taxes like Hong Kong, appears to an outsider that they are very controlling. Maybe that's why people spirit money away secretly.

    1. It has its merits but of course there is always the down side too, of our nanny state.