Looking after wife's later years via CPF transfers

Mr Yang Chin Hong has been putting money into his wife Ng Ah Choo's Central Provident Fund account since 2011, and the couple now have about $166,000 each in their CPF accounts, the prevailing full retirement sum recommended by the Government.
Mr Yang Chin Hong has been putting money into his wife Ng Ah Choo's Central Provident Fund account since 2011, and the couple now have about $166,000 each in their CPF accounts, the prevailing full retirement sum recommended by the Government.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

Until six years ago, Madam Ng Ah Choo's Central Provident Fund accounts hardly had any money. The 58-year-old had stopped working soon after she married in 1988 to be a stay-at-home mum.

In 2011, her husband, Mr Yang Chin Hong, 61, transferred some of his CPF savings to her account to provide her with a steady income in her later years.

Mr Yang, a resident technical officer who inspects buildings, has also been topping up both their accounts with cash.

He has been working in the same line for the past 40 years and now, the two of them have about $166,000 each in their accounts - the prevailing full retirement sum recommended by the Government for those turning 55 this year.

He earns about $4,700 a month, and has used about $500,000 of his CPF savings over the years to pay for their five-room flat in Redhill.

Mr Yang hopes to contribute even more to their accounts so that he and his wife can get bigger monthly payouts later from their retirement accounts.

"It is another way for us to have a comfortable retirement because when we are not working, at least we will have a minimum payout to keep us going," he said.

Madam Ng said she was glad her husband topped up her retire-ment savings. "He really cares for my future."

CPF Board figures show women's average retirement savings in their CPF accounts have risen in the past decade, at a faster pace than men's.

Some contributing factors include the extra help women are receiving to stay employed and measures that encourage spouses to top up their wives' accounts.

For Mr Yang and Madam Ng, being self-sufficient is their way of continuing to look out for their two daughters, aged 26 and 23.

Mr Yang said: "We plan to take care of ourselves. Nowadays, the cost of living is quite high, so we let them plan their own future without worrying about us."

He added: "I think as long as people live within their means, they should be able to do it."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 12, 2017, with the headline 'Looking after wife's later years via CPF transfers'. Print Edition | Subscribe