CPF proposals: Waiting longer for chance to tap savings

File photo of people at the CPF E-Lobby. --PHOTO: CPF
File photo of people at the CPF E-Lobby. --PHOTO: CPF

Two CPF members turn 55 this year. One meets the CPF Minimum Sum and wants to put in more money, the other does not meet the Minimum Sum and wants to withdraw more than what she is allowed to.

For cook S.Y. Tan, having to wait 10 years, until she is 65, to withdraw 20 per cent of her Central Provident Fund (CPF) savings, is too long.

The single mother was dreaming of taking out $20,000 from her CPF account after she turns 55 later this month as a wedding gift for her 29- year-old bank executive son, who is getting married soon.

"It means a lot to me that I can give my son a wedding gift.

"But now, I may have to wait for 10 years to get some more money. That is a really long time," she said.

Ms Tan's savings fall $6,500 short of the Minimum Sum of $77,500. The sum was halved because she pledged her three-room flat. This means that she can withdraw only $5,000 when she turns 55.

Paying for her flat single-handedly after her divorce wiped out a large chunk of her CPF savings.

"It was tough for a single mum like me to pay for my flat and raise my son," said Ms Tan, who earns over $2,000 a month.

While the CPF review panel's recommendations were not what she was hoping for, she admits that waiting for the cash is better than not being able to withdraw any at all.

Currently, there is a $5,000 cap on withdrawals for those who do not meet the Minimum Sum.

"If the recommendations are accepted by the Government, we will still get more money.

"Even though the money will come at a later stage, we still get something," she said.

She hopes, however, that people will one day be allowed to withdraw more of their CPF savings after turning 55.

"People in their 50s will appreciate having some extra cash.

"They need money for medical bills for their parents, school fees for children or to go on a holiday. It really helps."

AMELIA TAN