If you are in a position to withdraw money at age 55 from your CPF accounts, given the pathetic S$ interest rates offered by the banks, you may want to use your CPF Ordinary Account as a savings account that pays higher than S$ bank or finance company fixed deposit rates.
But make sure you know how often a year you can withdraw your money if you want to use your OA as a savings account, or more accurately as a “betterest” way of managing your cash. The laziest way to find out is to call up the CPF help line.
You also have to be aware of the following: http://www.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne+News/Singapore/Story/A1Story20110715-289391.html.
THE scheme is stated in the Central Provident Fund (CPF) website.
But Mr Jerry Low, 58, was not aware of it.
So the retired bank trader got a surprise when the CPF Board transferred $10,000 into his Medisave Account (MA) without his permission, after he applied to withdraw $37,000 from his Ordinary Account (OA) in June this year.
Mr Low had chosen to not withdraw all his money from his OA when he turned 55.
He opted for a partial withdrawal, leaving some money in his OA as the CPF interest rate of 2.5 per cent was higher than what the banks were offering.
He could do this as his Medisave Account and Retirement Account (RA) had the required amount.
Since 2008, Mr Low had used his Medisave to pay for some medical expenses, whittling away his Medisave Required Amount (MRA), which was $14,000 as of Jan 1, 2008.
However, the required amount was raised to $27,500 as of Jan 1 this year .
Said Mr Low: “I was shocked to find that $10,000 from my OA had been moved to my MA without my approval.
“I did not even know that the money was moved, let alone the amount moved.”
As to the danger of the government not allowing you to withdraw your money by changing the rules yet again, assess the risk of the government taking this action in the light of it only getting 60% of the popular vote in the May 2011 GE, and it’s determination to win back Aljunied. Besides, the government actions, so far, on CPF issues, are never retrospective.
As to the CPF being or going bankrupt, remember that Tan Jee Say (25% of voters voted for him at the 2011 presidential election and he was once a senior civil servant specialising in economic matters) doesn’t worry about the solvency of the CPF system. To him, the S$60bn he proposed spending on his plans was “small change”. So the CPF amount due to members, as of August 2011, S$204 billion, cannot be an issue, despite what the SDP (his ex-party) and his supporters at TR and Singapore Election Watch say. Reminder: they say that the CPF is bankrupt because of the losses at Temasek and GIC. Hence the introduction of the Minimum Sum and CPF Life Plans schemes.
Did you know that until a few years ago, once you reached 55, the staff there hassled people to withdraw their surplus funds? It happened to a friend in 2004. He told them he as a Nantah graduate and retired central bank employee, trusted the S’pore government.
Now, the staff encourage people to keep funds they don’t need in their OAs.
Aftertot 5th December 2011 at 12.55pm
See abc’s comment below. He has a point on Medisave increases. My counterpoint is that Medisave account sure to be used and anyway it attracts 4% interest a yr.