[YOUR LETTERS] RETIREE: I AM THE RARE FEW WHO BOTHERS TO UNDERSTAND CPF

Speaking for myself only (I am a recent retiree), I dare say that I am one of not many Singaporeans who understand how CPF was structured, i.e. OA, SA, RA, minimum sum, CPF Life and other private investments using funds from the OA and SA.

Long before I retired, some two decades ago, I was already using my OA account to invest in stocks, unit trusts, insurance policies, etc. Maybe I am not a very savvy investment but none of my investments these years, including those made with cash, gives me a yield of 4% or more. So over the years, I decided that leaving my money in the SA would provide me with a better yield.

A few years before I retired, I went to the CPF office three times to make in-depth enquiries about what I could or could not do with my OA and SA upon turning 55 so that I could out my sums on what was best for me. I made extensive consultations with my bank representative and separately with my financial planner on what would be good for me to maximise my SA and soon-to-come RA but unfortunately could not find something that matched 4% and which would protect my principal. These financial professionals, whom I trust, actually advised me to leave my funds in SA and RA! At least for now until they can find something to satisfy my risk-averse appetite and the 4%.

Because of my age, CPF Life is not mandatory for me although I could opt for it. I have yet to decide if I would opt for it or draw down the Minimum Sum on a monthly withdrawal basis which potentially is a better option for me.

I could easily use my property to provide the 50% MS pledge, but again I am not able to find any fairly safe investment that provides a yield of 4%. If there is one and which is relatively safe, CPF rules allow me to withdraw 50% of the current MS out immediately if I use my property for the 50% pledge.

So I hope those Singaporeans who go online claiming that retirees, for which I am one, are conned by CPF, etc. They should not do this unless they sufficiently know the intricacies of CPF and the investment environment for those who are risk averse and not risk takers but who still want to have some yields from their CPF money.

For sure there will be Singaporeans, including retirees or to-be retirees, who are not happy with the MS issue but surely there will also be Singaporeans (am not sure if the latter is more than the former but no matter) who did/do their sums and consultations and made/make a considered judgement that the MS is not a bad idea afterall.

But I support the notion that the PAP government has never done well in communicating with the people and so much of their policies are so complicated that it demands a lot from the people to understand them; CPF is a classic example. So even those policies which are good are so shrouded in complexities such that they invite confusion, criticism and wrath. If only PAP would learn to communicate simply and effectively.

Madam Tan S.Y

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