She is ready to take initial hit for escalating payouts

Madam Salamah, 55, a mosque manager and mother of four children, suffers from chronic conditions but plans to still be working when she is 65 if her health permits. "I would rather keep my CPF money in reserve first and get more later, in case I need
Madam Salamah, 55, a mosque manager and mother of four children, suffers from chronic conditions but plans to still be working when she is 65 if her health permits. "I would rather keep my CPF money in reserve first and get more later, in case I need more money for my bills later on," she says.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Some might blanch at the idea of starting with lower payouts from their Central Provident Fund (CPF) accounts upon retirement.

But Madam Salamah Abdoll, 55, is willing to take an initial hit in return for escalating payouts that can help combat a rising cost of living in later years.

A new CPF Life plan was mooted yesterday to help Singaporeans cope with inflation through payouts that increase by 2 per cent every year.

The trade-off is that the payouts, which begin at age 65, start at about 20 per cent lower than they would with the standard annuity plan.

Madam Salamah, a mosque manager for nine years, said a lower initial payout would not be a problem. She said: "I plan to still be working when I am 65, if my health permits. If I have income, I won't need a higher payout."

  • Earlier proposals

  • In the first part of its review in February last year, the Central Provident Fund (CPF) proposed the following:

    •CPF members could now choose to lock away a basic sum of $80,500, a higher sum of $161,000 or an enhanced sum of $241,500 at age 55, instead of meeting a standard minimum sum. Members will get higher monthly payouts if they opted to receive them later.

    •Members got to withdraw up to 20 per cent of their savings at 65.

    •Basic retirement sums for Singaporeans turning 55 from 2017 to 2020 were to be increased by 3 per cent for each cohort, to account for inflation.

    •Higher CPF contribution rates for older workers

She currently earns about $3,300 a month, and has less than $100,000 saved in her CPF account.

She suffers from chronic conditions such as high blood pressure. "I would rather keep my CPF money in reserve first and get more later, in case I need more money for my bills later on."

The mother of four children, aged 14 to 32, said her desires for her autumn years are simple, as she has accomplished much of what she wants to do in life.

"I have gone on my haj pilgrimage, I have visited some other countries as a tourist. I am comfortable where I am.

"I am not a high-risk investor. As long as I have some money to rely on, I think I am content."

Olivia Ho

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 04, 2016, with the headline 'She is ready to take initial hit for escalating payouts'. Print Edition | Subscribe