Why use extreme end of bell curve to compute CPF payout?

A study published in the medical journal The Lancet showed the average lifespan in Singapore to be 83.3 years in 2016.
A study published in the medical journal The Lancet showed the average lifespan in Singapore to be 83.3 years in 2016.PHOTO: ST FILE

I was surprised at the low average monthly retirement payout data presented by Manpower Minister Josephine Teo, until a recent correspondence I had with the Central Provident Fund Board.

Although I belong to the cohort whose payout starts at age 63 and lasts for 20 years, I am now "artificially constrained" to receiving a lower monthly payout because changes implemented in 2017 require my payout to stretch to age 93. And all because I was prudent to voluntarily opt for deferring my drawdown.

Interestingly, a study published in the medical journal The Lancet showed the average lifespan in Singapore to be 83.3 years in 2016 (Singapore 3rd in global life expectancy rankings, Oct 18, 2018).

The researchers estimate that this average is expected to move up to 85.4 years by 2040, that is in about 20 years' time.

When did we move from utilising average or median age for such calculations to the extreme right of the bell curve?

Teo Hoon Seng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 26, 2019, with the headline 'Why use extreme end of bell curve to compute CPF payout?'. Print Edition | Subscribe