I hope you will get a personal clarity by the end of this article.
Firstly, there are some ways in which you can increase your CPF savings with the extra cash in hand:
- Voluntary cash contribution to all three accounts (Ordinary, MediSave, and Special Accounts)
- Cash top-up to Special or Retirement Account via Retirement Sum Topping-Up Scheme (RSTU)
- Cash contribution to Medisave Account only
- CPF Transfers from Ordinary Account to Special or Retirement Account
I will list out some benefits of topping up your CPF, followed by some considerations before making voluntary top-ups:
- Tax relief on your voluntary contribution up to $14,000 per year —namely, $7,000 for topping up your own account and $7,000 for topping up a family member.
- Let your savings grow at the attractive CPF rate of return – 2.5% for OA, 4% for SA, and Medisave. These returns are free of risk and higher than the prevailing rates offered by most banks.
- Similar to the above point, I personally consider my CPF pot to be the bond component of my portfolio to complement my retirement portfolio. This allows me to be more adventurous with my money knowing that I have a firm foundation of CPF to fall back on.
- Create a buffer for your housing loan repayments, especially when you experience periods of financial difficulty that make the repayment in cash difficult.
- Fund your own, spouse, or child’s education through the CPF Education Scheme, which allows members to use CPF savings from their Ordinary Account (OA) to pay towards tuition fees.
Attractive as the opportunities are, there are some considerations you need to take note before you decide to make voluntary cash contributions or transfers:
You can only have access to the money at the age of 55. If you are still some time away, plan your contributions well to avoid a cashflow crunch!
There are financial instruments available that provide higher returns, more liquid albeit varying risk levels.
Some creative ideas of my clients are that they top up their parents’ CPF in place of parental allowance and they get to enjoy tax relief for doing that. Another client of mine also made a contribution to his daughter’s CPF SA account and calculated that she would be a CPF millionaire by the time she hit his age.
Concluding this article, whether topping up your CPF is a good option depends on your financial situation. Do you think it is for you?
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee, or other group or individual.
Picture from: https://www.sqfeed.com/2015/11/16/to-free-up-prime-office-space-in-cbd-the-cpf-board-will-relocate-its-corporate-operations-to-novena-square-from-nov-23-however-it-will-continue-to-operate-its-service-centre-at-robinson-road-till-f/