CPF Retirement Sum Scheme | Can I achieve the CPF retirement sum when I reach 55?
Unless we are approaching the magic number of age 55 to be eligible for CPF withdrawal (after setting aside the Retirement Sum), chances are we will not be able to determine the amount of CPF savings we will have by then. Furthermore, there involve an uncertainty with the expected annual increase in the Retirement Sum.
This makes many Singaporeans wonder if they will ever have enough CPF savings to withdraw a lump sum when they reach 55. Let's get down to it.
|Adapted from CPF website|
How much monthly payout will I receive at age 65?The amount of retirement savings to set aside depends on a few criteria, including the amount we have in RA savings at age 55, whether there is sufficient property charge/ pledge, etc. For readers who are not familiar in this area, MoneySmart Blog has written a concise but comprehensive article here.
In brief, there are three tiers to the Retirement Sum:
- Basic Retirement Sum (BRS),
- Full Retirement Sum (FRS) which is 2 times the BRS, and
- Enhanced Retirement Sum (ERS) which is 3 times the BRS
To get a rough estimate for the expected monthly payout from age 65 onwards, we can simply multiply 0.007 to the RA amount we have at age 55. This is also valid for the blue line for RA savings at age 65, by simply using a different multiplier of 0.005.
This means that if we have $100k in our RA savings at age 65, we can expect a monthly payout of $500 (0.005 x $100k) under the LIFE Standard scheme.
How much will the Retirement Sum be when I reach 55?
For completeness of the analysis, the chart below shows the FRS forecast based on both 3.0% (orange line) and 5.24% (blue line) rate of increase.
As we can see (assuming the 3.0% increase is maintained), the FRS will be about $300-400k in 20-30 years' time. This is not a small sum, can we even achieve it? Let's read on.
|Graph 2: CPF Full Retirement Sum forecast|
Will my RA savings exceed the FRS when I reach 55?This is the most important question of the entire article. Ultimately, annuity in the form of CPF LIFE payout will not feel as satisfying as receiving a lump sum of cold hard cash at age 55.
Fundamentally, in order to withdraw money from our CPF after years of working, our RA savings at age 55 must be more than the FRS (or BRS).
To answer this question, we must first agree that the total RA savings is dependent on
- Monthly income (eligible* for CPF contribution)
- Annual bonus (eligible* for CPF contribution)
- Years of active employment - some work for 40 years, some wants to retire by 40
- Utilization of CPF savings - for public housing, education, investment etc.
- CPF top ups using cash
- Transfer of OA savings to SA
*There is a limit to how much our annual income is eligible for CPF contribution, which is stated in the CPF contribution ceiling. This means that if your income hit a certain limit, the additional wage will not be eligible for CPF contribution (from both employer and employee).
For simplicity, let's look at the following scenario:
Joe is a 25 yo fresh graduate (with zero CPF savings) who started working in year 2017 and intends to stop working by age 55. He receive a monthly gross income of $3.0k, with an expected yearly increment of 3.0% throughout his employment, and an annual bonus equivalent to his 1 month's income.
Joe has successfully applied for a $500k BTO, expected to be ready by age 30, with the down payment and monthly installment to be split evenly with his spouse. How much savings will Joe have in his RA account when he reach 55 yo?
This look like a Primary 6 exam question, but Max is sure most people will not be able to, or will not be bothered to find the answer (even if I change Joe to 'your name'). But to be fair, there is no simple formulas to compute the answer, so Max has added this capability into his Financial Independence Model (FIM) to 'model' the answer. The answer for Joe will look something like the table below.
Joe will have about $433k in his RA savings when he reach 55, which is about $18-19k more than the estimated FRS at $414k. Depending on whether Joe would like to maintain his Retirement Sum at BRS or FRS, he can withdraw $18k (about $8k in today's dollar) or more from his CPF.
Joe will receive about $3.4k (slight above $1k in today's dollar) per month under the CPF LIFE scheme when he reach 65 yo.
How to have more RA savings by age 55
For example, if Joe transfer all his excess OA money to SA savings, while ensuring he has at least $10k (adjustable based on individual's preference) in the OA savings at the end of every* year, he will have $478k in his RA savings by 55 yo. That is an additional $45k (or $18.5k in today's dollar) by just making your CPF savings work harder for you. Who says interest compounding is overrated?
*except for the first year of working where the OA savings is still below $10k
Table below generated by the FIM shows details on the amount of money Joe can transfer from his OA to SA savings for each year. In particular, note that the recommended amount to transfer will take the expected future utilization of the OA savings into consideration, to prevent 'over-transferring' and falling into a deficit situation when the OA savings is required.
This can be seen from age 28 and 30 when FIM suggests that Joe should not make any OA-SA transfer, to ensure that his OA savings is sufficient for the $25k BTO down payment at age 30.
What about you?