Longer lifespans mean 55 not age to withdraw CPF funds meant for old age: PM Lee

With longer lifespans, 55 is no longer the right age for CPF members to make sizeable withdrawals from their retirement funds, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on a Mandarin radio programme on Capital 95.8 on Monday night. -- PHOTO: ST FILE
With longer lifespans, 55 is no longer the right age for CPF members to make sizeable withdrawals from their retirement funds, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on a Mandarin radio programme on Capital 95.8 on Monday night. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - With longer lifespans, 55 is no longer the right age for CPF members to make sizeable withdrawals from their retirement funds, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on a Mandarin radio programme on Capital 95.8 on Monday night.

He encouraged CPF members to work until age 65 if they can, saying they can take out some of their CPF funds after they retire to pursue their dreams or invest.

Mr Lee made these remarks as he sought to explain why withdrawing all or a sizeable amount of CPF savings at age 55 is not prudent.

He noted that when the CPF withdrawal age of 55 was set more than 50 years ago, Singaporeans' life expectancy was around 63 years old. But with life expectancy up, and many people here living past 80 and even 90, CPF members should not aim to make withdrawals at age 55, he said.

Mr Lee was referring to CPF members who want to withdraw part of their Minimum Sum when they turn 55. Those who have more than Minimum Sum can withdraw the excess when they turn 55.

Mr Lee said that since CPF savings are meant for use during retirement, depleting the account too early would leave people with not enough in their old age.

"The CPF scheme should provide some flexibility, and we are providing it by letting people take out some money when they retire. But I feel you should try not to dip into your CPF savings if you can help it, and depend on your other savings first. Because CPF is meant to provide security during retirement."

During the one-hour programme, PM Lee also engaged in a wide-ranging discussion about topics ranging from the Lease Buyback scheme to immigration and the recent push to provide more opportunities for those who are not degree holders.