CPF proposals: Willing to put more in for higher payouts

Mr Alick Lee said he would gladly set aside double the Minimum Sum for his CPF Life premium. He estimates that would net him payouts of $3,000 each month, which would allow him to lead a "free and easy" life.
Mr Alick Lee said he would gladly set aside double the Minimum Sum for his CPF Life premium. He estimates that would net him payouts of $3,000 each month, which would allow him to lead a "free and easy" life.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

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.

Investor Alick Lee, who is self-employed, has spent years living on an irregular monthly income.

But Mr Lee, who turns 55 this year, wants to leave those uncertainties behind as he grows older.

"I have worked so hard all my life, when I reach 65, I don't want to take any more risks," he said. "I want to have peace of mind."

So, Mr Lee has been making voluntary contributions to his Central Provident Fund (CPF) accounts to meet the Minimum Sum, which is $155,000 for his cohort. This will give him a steady stream of monthly payouts of around $1,200 after he turns 65.

He would gladly set aside double the Minimum Sum for his CPF Life premium, he said. He estimates that amount would net him payouts of $3,000 each month. That would beat inflation and allow him to lead a "free and easy" life, said the father of two.

There is currently no option for CPF members to put money into their Retirement Account beyond the Minimum Sum for higher payouts, but it is a key recommendation of the CPF advisory panel.

For the cohort turning 55 in 2016, which the panel gave figures for, a new Enhanced Retirement Sum of $241,500 is proposed. People with this amount in their Retirement Account at age 55 could get monthly payouts of between $1,750 and $1,900 from age 65, up from between $1,200 and $1,300 if they set aside the Full Retirement Sum of $161,000, and between $650 and $700 if the Basic Retirement Sum of $80,500 is set aside.

Apart from selling some valuables and many of his shares to top up his account to the Minimum Sum, Mr Lee also topped up his wife's CPF savings so that she can join CPF Life. She turns 55 next year and has little savings as she is a housewife.

Mr Lee started work at a young age, taking on dispatch rider and sales jobs after national service, and began investing his savings at 25. He does not own a car and lives in a HDB executive flat.

"I have to sacrifice now, but the money in CPF will provide a secure income for me to live on until I die," he said.

JOANNA SEOW