SHOCKING Facts About Our CPF in Singapore! (Part 2)

In the first part of this article, we shared with you that Singaporeans pay the highest proportionate contribution into social security (which is our CPF) in the world – the 36% we pay is the highest in the world. Singaporeans are also one of the only 12 countries, or 7% out of 166 territories, where employees pay more than employers into social security. (You can read Part 1 of this article here.)

However, even though Singaporeans contribute the most into our CPF, and accumulate the largest CPF assets, we have the one of the least adequate retirement funds in the world. But why is this so?

This is because we are paid very low returns on our CPF. We are paid only 2.5% on the Ordinary Account and 4% on the Special and Retirement Accounts (Chart 1).

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Chart 1: Interest Rates

According to the CPF Board, the 2.5% interest for our Ordinary Account (OA) is based on the interest rates of the major local banks, which was last at 0.21%. And because the CPF Board is required to pay us a minimum of 2.5% on our CPF, the interest on the OA has remained at 2.5%.

For the interest for our Special and Medisave Account (SMA), it is based on the interest that the bonds (Singapore Government Securities (10YSGS)) that our CPF is invested in earns, plus another 1%. So, because the bonds are earning 2.68%, and the minimum our SMA has to earn is 4%, our SMA will continue to earn a 4% interest rate.

However, why is there a discrepancy in the interest earned on our OA and SMA? In fact, do you know that according to the Ministry of Finance, our “CPF monies are invested in bonds that are issued and guaranteed by the Singapore Government“. So, if that’s the case, if our OA is also invested in the bonds, why is the interest rate on our OA pegged to that of the the major local banks? Shouldn’t it be pegged to the bonds that our CPF are invested in? If so, shouldn’t our OA and SMA earn the same interest rates of 4% (Chart 2)?

And do you know that it was only in 1995 that our OA and SMA started earning different interest rates? Before that, our total CPF would earn the same interest rate (see Chart 16).

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Chart 2

But that’s not even the problem. Do you know where our CPF is really, really invested in? Take a look at Chart 3 and looked at the pink shaded parts.

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Chart 3

So, our CPF is indeed invested in the GIC and Temasek Holdings! But more importantly, do you know how much interest the GIC and Temasek Holdings are earning?

GIC earns an interest of 6.5% (Chart 4).

GIC Table

Chart 4: Ministry of Finance: Section I: What comprises the reserves and who manages them?

Temasek Holdings earns an interest of 16% (Chart 5).

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Chart 5: Temasek Review 2013

And if so, if our CPF is invested in the GIC and Temasek Holdings, and they are earning interest of between 6.5% to 16%, why are we earning only 2.5% to 4%? Shouldn’t we be earning 16% (Chart 6)?

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Chart 6

The question is also, why do the Temasek Holdings and GIC, as government agencies, continuously deny that they are using our CPF for investments (Chart 7)? As the largest government investment firm in Singapore, can the GIC really claim ignorance as to where the monies that they manage of Singaporeans come from?

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Chart 7

Not only that, do you know that the government has said that they do not want to reveal the “exact size of assets that GIC manages” because “if we do so, it will make it easier for markets to mount speculative attacks on the Singapore dollar during periods of vulnerability” (Chart 8).

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Chart 8: Ministry of Finance Singapore Section I: What comprises the reserves and who manages them?

But then do you know that the size of GIC’s assets can be found readily available on several websites? It can be found on Institutional Investor (Chart 9).

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Chart 9: Institutional Investor

It can be found on Sovereign Wealth Funds News.com (Chart 10).

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Chart 10: Sovereign Wealth Funds News.com

On Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute as well (Chart 11).

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Chart 11: Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute

And on Global Finance too (Chart 12).

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Chart 12: Global Finance

So, you see, the information is everywhere. Then, the question is – if the government already allows other people to know this information so readily already, then why does it want to tell Singaporeans that it is not in our interests to let Singaporeans know how much GIC is earning (from us)?

And if you look at the Global Finance website, it says that, “sovereign wealth funds …  are pools of money governments use to generate profits”. Then if so, why aren’t Singaporeans seeing these profits??

Do you know that together with the assets that the Monetary Authority of Singapore and Temasek Holdings manage, our reserves would stand at at least S$900 billion – or close to S$1 trillion (Chart 13)!!

There is close to S$1 TRILLION in the Singapore Financial Reserves

Chart 13

And if there are S$1 trillion in the Singapore reserves, then why the heck are Singaporeans earning one of the lowest returns to our CPF? Why do Singaporeans still live on one of the least adequate pension funds? Why do most Singaporeans still have to work past their retirement – the highest in the region – because they cannot afford to retire? (Read Part 1 here for how inadequate our CPF is).

If the Singapore government is so rich, why do Singaporeans continue to earn the lowest salaries among the high-income? Why does the government continue to spend the lowest on health among the developed countries and one of the lowest in the world? Why does the government continue to spend the lowest on education among the developed countries? Why does the government continue to spend the least public spending, such that Singapore now has the highest income inequality among the high income countries, and one of the highest in the world? Why is there still no minimum wage in Singapore to protect the low-income earners in Singapore and why do we have the highest poverty rate among the high income countries?

Singaporeans Are Paying An Implicit Tax On CPF

According to the Asian Development Bank Institute, “To the extent the Government earns a higher rate of return on the CPF funds than what it pays to members; there is an implicit tax on CPF wealth. This tax is likely to be fairly large and regressive, as low-income members are likely to have most of their non-housing wealth in the form of CPF balances. This vividly illustrates how political risks (i.e protection of political power) and non-transparency can arise in an individual account system.

Already, the contribution rate that we are paying into CPF is regressive, as the lower-income Singaporeans pay a higher proportion of their incomes into CPF than the higher-income earners (Chart 14). In fact, nearly 80% of the lower- and middle-income Singaporeans pay more into their CPF, than the higher-income earners.

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Chart 14: The Heart Truths

There are real problems with continuing with the current model of the CPF, as the Asian Development Bank Institute had also asked, “How valuable is the guarantee of 2.5 percent nominal return? As the long-term annual inflation rate in Singapore is about 3.0 percent, the guarantee does not even preserve the principal in real terms.”

Indeed, you can see that over the past few years, the inflation rate has been rising (red line), and has become higher than the returns to our CPF (blue line) (Chart 15).

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Chart 15: Annual Consumer Price Index and Inflation Rate

Not only that, do you know how much interest the other countries with social security are earning?

This is what India is earning – between 8% and 10% in recent years (Chart 16).

India EPF Interest Rates

Chart 16: Interest Rate Declared on Provident Fund Accumulations Since 1952

This is what Hong Kong is earning (Chart 17). Note that, “as a whole, the MPF System recorded an annualized return of 5.5% over the 10-year period after fees and charges”, which is still significantly higher than the 2.5% and 4% on our CPF. It also “outperform(ed) the average annual inflation rate (0.7% per year) and the one-month HK dollar deposit rate (1.0% per year) of the same period“.

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Chart 17: Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority A 10-year Investment Performance Review of the MPF System (1 December 2000 – 31 December 2010)

This is what Malaysia is earning – between 4.5% and 6.5% in recent years (Chart 18).

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Chart 18: Employees Provident Fund Dividend Rate

And if you look at what the Malaysians are earning, even after accounting for inflation, it is still higher than what Singaporeans are able to get back (Chart 19).

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Chart 19: South East Asian Provident and Pension Funds: Investment Policies and Performance

And finally, here’s a look at how Norway, Ireland, Canada and New Zealand did – between 6.5% and 14.5% (Chart 20).

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Chart 20: Improving the Investment Performance of Public Pension Funds: Lessons for the Social Insurance Fund of Cyprus from the Experience of Four OECD Countries

Interestingly, between 1970 and 1995, Singapore had also underperformed the other countries (Chart 21).

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Chart 21: Investment of Mandatory Funded Pension Schemes

But do you know that we didn’t use to always earn such a low interest? You can see in Chart 22 that during the earlier years of Singapore until the mid-1980s, Singaporeans were enjoying better returns on our CPF. The government used to protect Singaporeans.

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Chart 22: Investment Patterns in Singapore’s Central Provident Fund System

Thus, in order to ameliorate the CPF’s pitfalls, the Asian Development Bank Institute had recommended that, “urgent consideration should be given to eliminating the implicit tax on CPF wealth (whereby the government returns us only 2.5% to 4% and keeps the other 2% to 11.5% that our CPF earns for themselves). This can be accomplished by crediting the weighted average of returns of government investment companies, which are actually making decisions on the deployment of the CPF funds. Similarly, full returns must be credited to the Government Pension Fund, and other provident and pension funds.”

Thus it is precisely because the Singapore government mandates the fixed interest rates for our CPF, and does not channel the full returns from our CPF back to us (by indirectly taxing us on our CPF monies), Singaporeans have the least adequate retirement funds among the developed countries and with the countries in the region.

Indeed, in a ranking of social security systems in 1995, Singapore was ranked 117th out of 172 countries (Chart 23). If Singapore was already performing so badly then, you can imagine how much worse Singapore would perform now. The report explained that the reason why Singapore was ranked so poorly at 117th is because “of its chosen financial arrangements, which sought to achieve objectives other than those related to social security.

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Chart 23: Social Security in Global Perspective

Thus it is no wonder that fewer and fewer Singaporeans have been able to meet the minimum sum required to be set aside in the CPF. Barely 40% of Singaporeans are able to meet the minimum sum in 2010. According to the CPF Board, in 2012, 48.7% of Singaporeans were able to meet the minimum sum. This is still lower than the 57% who were able to do so in 1996 (Chart 24).

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Chart 24: CPF Trends Minimum Sum Scheme

However, if you look deeper into the statistics, the actual proportion of Singaporeans who are really able to meet the CPF minimum sum would be even lower. The 40% of Singaporeans who are able to meet their minimum sum accounts only for active members. The 1,788,768 active members accounts for only 52% of the total 3,418,569 CPF membership. However, the qualification of those who can meet the minimum sum include those who can meet the sum “fully in cash, or partly in cash and partly via a property pledge“. Does it make sense to include property pledges in the minimum sum – would you have to sell your home to have cash to retire?

So, what this means is that, if we include the “non-active” members who are able to meet their minimum sum, solely on the basis of cash (and not including property which cannot be monetised with selling it), we estimate that the proportion of Singaporeans who can actually meet the CPF minimum sum would only be about 1 in 8 of Singaporeans (Chart 25).

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Chart 25: Only 1 in 8 Singaporeans are able to meet the CPF Minimum Sum

The Asian Development Bank Institute had also said that, “Singapore’s method of investing the balances meant for retirement financing is contrary to best international practices concerning pension fund management, and have the potential to generate high political risk. Such concentration of savings in the hands of non-transparent, non-accountable agencies (i.e. GIC and Temasek Holdings) also distorts the savings investment process and could lead to inefficiencies in the structure of asset returns. The development of the financial and capital market may also be adversely affected due to such concentration on savings, and due to the use of CPF as a substitute for mortgage financing. The method, however, is consistent with Singapore’s monocentric power structure, and strong tendency towards social engineering and control.”

The Asian Development Bank Institute had also outlined the major flaws of the CPF, which we have tried to explain in further detail in this article, such as the “inadequate balances at retirement due to extensive pre-retirement withdrawals, particularly for housing and property, and due to low returns credited to members; lack of inflation and longevity protection; lack of survivors’ benefits; lack of transparency and accountability, particularly in investment management; inadequate weight given to fiduciary responsibility as compared to socio-economic engineering objectives; inadequate social risk pooling in health care financing (only about a quarter of the total national health budget comes from the Government – the rest is from individual and businesses, while the opposite can be seen in high income countries of the OECD); and the virtual absence of a tax-financed redistributive tier.”

The Asian Development Bank Institute also recommends that Singapore needs to, “reform the governance structure of the CPF focusing on ending the implicit tax on the CPF and making CPF-related data a public good by making disaggregated data freely available. The CPF board needs to be more independent and accountable to members.

This is echoed by the National University of Singapore which had recommended that, the “investment policies and performance of the CPF Authority should be completely transparent, and de-linked from the government holding companies. All investments, wherever feasible, should be mark-to-market.” Also, “all returns on investment must be made known and go directly to the members’ individual accounts”.

In sum, you can look at Chart 26 to see why the CPF system is highly problematic.

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Chart 26

In effect, even though Singapore has an apparent low tax rate of 0% to 20%, this needs to be put in clearer perspective with the high CPF contribution rate 20%, which is the highest in the world. Also, the government has long used the rationale that because of the low tax rate, government spending has to remain low. Indeed, the Singapore government spends the lowest public spending among the developed countries. However, when you understand how we are actually paying a higher proportion of our incomes into CPF, which has created a massive pool of CPF monies – possibly the largest per capita social security fund in the world, but where we are receiving one of the lowest returns, if not the lowest in the world, you will understand that the CPF is effectively a tool created to efficiently take money from the people for the government’s own investment, without giving the full returns back. Compare this with tax, where the government is obliged to return the tax deducted from the people back to the people, in ways of expenditure.

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Chart 27

To put things into perspective, look at the chart below. Do you see what is not right?

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Chart 28

What’s really happening is that the CPF has become one of the tools to entrap Singaporeans in a cycle of poverty (Chart 29).

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Chart 29

Finally, the Asian Development Bank Institute sends out a stern warning to the PAP government that, “Singapore policymakers face a stark choice. Either they can continue to use the CPF for socio-political control and engineering, or they can bring its objectives and governance in line with international best practices, to improve the return accruing to members, and to make a greater proportion of CPF contributions available for retirement needs. The choice is politically difficult, but it is unavoidable given the objective realities.” Most importantly, “It should be stressed that the reforms will also require an increase in the Government’s budgetary allocations as well as total national expenditure devoted to social security and health care.”

You can read Part 1 of this article here.

Part 3 of the article can be read here.

Your CPF has helped to earn S$1 TRILLION Do you see the money

Leong Sze Hian and Roy Ngerng of The Heart Truths

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84 comments

  1. Kelvin Ng

    CPF Investment Returns: Getting Singaporeans their Rightful Share [image: convexset’s picture] Submitted by convexset on Fri, 10/04/2013 – 12:29

    *(An abridged version of this was published on yoursdp.org .)*

    Over the past few years, a lot has been said about how CPF funds are managed. By now, most should be aware that the CPF Board does not do any investing of our CPF monies. Rather than take on the role of investment manager, it purchases Special Singapore Government Securities (SSGS) from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to offload this task. CPF monies thus flow into the reserves to be managed by GIC and Temasek Holdings.

    This mode of operation is fairly interesting. The terms of SSGS are the basis upon which the CPF Board pays Singaporeans interest on their CPF monies. It is clean, and also “essentially risk-free”. But therein, too, lies the rub. We know that GIC claims to be making 7% each year from investments (and Temasek 17%, but it has been claimed that Temasek does not manage CPF monies, so we focus on GIC). Presently, savings in Singaporeans’ CPF Special and Medisave Accounts (SMA) return the higher of 4% per annum or the 12-month average yield of 10-year Singapore Government Securities plus 1%, and Singaporeans’ CPF Ordinary Account (OA) monies return 2.5% per annum. GIC’s returns are much higher than the rates that are being paid out. Therefore, the question must be: Are Singaporeans getting a raw deal?

    *The Strawman Solution* The government might say that the above scenario reflects a fair trade of risk and reward. This is true to an extent. I imagine that the government would put forth the following hypothetical with the intent of demolishing it:

    “Suppose, for instance, that MAS crafted a mutual fund that Singaporeans could instruct the CPF board to invest in (instead of in SSGS or along with SSGS). This would give the CPF funds of those Singaporeans exposure to the global financial market and to customized (non-mass market) instruments that only sovereign wealth funds and other large investors have access to. That fund might be managed by GIC and/or Temasek via “taking a stake” in GIC/Temasek portfolios. Singaporeans’ would then see their CPF monies fluctuate with the global market, surging in booms and plummeting with crashes.”

    It is not clear that the majority of Singaporeans are ready for that kind of risk. In fact, it is clear to me that many Singaporeans recoil at the possibility of catastrophic loss, and no government wants to oversee a year where 40% of retirement savings evaporate.

    This is a bad solution, and I regard it as the “Strawman Solution” — Obvious, and obviously flawed.

    *A Viable Alternative?* Still, the picture painted by the statistics are rather clear. There are excess returns of at least 3% per annum on average. There is a sense in which a more equitable solution has to be arrived at. But we would like to (I would like to) restrict our attention to solutions where, barring a recession more chronic or severe than what we’ve seen in the past few decades, CPF balances only rise with time, at or beyond a base-line rate.

    To achieve this, there has to be an intelligent way of giving back excess returns while making sure base-line returns (2.5% for the OA and 4% for the SMA) are still obtained in bad years. The obvious solution is to build up a “buffer” of excess returns. One might think of it as a storage tank. Each month, returns go first into building the “buffer” (filling the storage tank) and then being returned to CPF accounts. If base-line returns are not achieved, then the “buffer” (storage tank) is used to fund these returns.

    (I also imagine that excess returns might be channeled, first, into health insurance for lower income Singaporeans such as the SDP’s National Healthcare Plan before being returned to the general population. But that is a separate issue.)

    The question, then, would be how to size the “buffer”. Clearly one would like to be able to make pay outs even in a recession (especially in a recession) and also in the years of recovery that follow. Given that recessions can last about 2 years, and a recovery might take some time, one might want to size the “buffer” such that “a full tank” will be able to fund approximately 5 years of base-line returns. This might mean something on the order of about SGD 20 billion to SGD 30 billion. (Over time, we even might want to even have a “10 year capacity tank”.)

    If such a scheme were to be started today, how “full” would we be able to regard the “tank”? Unfortunately, from an accounting stand-point, the excess returns have “disappeared into the reserves” and are “irretrievable”. This is because the CPF has purchased the cash flows associated with SSGS, and these are registered as liabilities to MAS to be funded by the investment returns. Not a single dollar of the returns, or even the principal used for investment, is tagged “CPF Board”. Legally, it seems like the proposed “buffer” will have to be built from scratch. Tags:

    – Politics & Public Policy – Retirement

    – See more at: http://jeremy-chen.org/blog/201310/cpf-investment-returns-getting-singaporeans-their-rightful-share#sthash.XDH60dGh.dpuf

  2. TheHardTruth

    THe reason we don’t get the 16% is because the Fund Managers at Temasek Holdings get a cut from managing and investing our CPF. Why do they get such a large cut? Because we have to pay Ho Ching (Chairman of Temasek Holdings) comparable to her husband, our Prime Minister. How come all the money is managed by one family. How come the husband made the wife the Fund Manager of our CPF? And why was our Prime Minster also the Finance Minister before he became PM?

  3. TheHardTruth

    THe reason we don’t get the 16% is because the Fund Managers at Temasek Holdings get a cut from managing and investing our CPF. Why do they get such a large cut? Because we have to pay Ho Ching (Chairman of Temasek Holdings) comparable to her husband, our Prime Minister. How come all the money is managed by one family. How come the husband made the wife the Fund Manager of our CPF? And why was our Prime Minster also the Finance Minister before he became PM? Also, chart 6, should it be 6.5% (OA plus SMA interests) and 9.5% (remaining returns from the 16%)? How come you took 4% only?

  4. Focused

    It seems Temasek Holding doesn’t manage our CPF. It merely does the paper work but it’s really manage by the CPF Board. Reminds me when I had to call DBS Bank about my NUS tuition fee loan. I was told by the officer that I am borrowing from NUS but NUS makes use of DBS services to give me the loan. Interesting, so who am I borrowing from if I’m paying DBS every month and not paying NUS. It seems I’m paying NUS and not DBS. NUS makes use of DBS services. Interesting logic and the way to square it is that NUS has a lot of money and uses DBS to make money (interests) from my loan or NUS and DBS are the same ‘quanxi’ partners. Either way, I don’t really know who I borrowed the cash from: NUS or DBS. If I don’t pay, NUS doesn’t call me. It’s DBS that calls me. It seems to me all these entities are colluding with one another and marketing it as wholesome tuition fee loans for NUS undergraduates. Both get a cut. Cheers!

      • Focused

        It depends on how a society view education. Is it a right or is it a choice left to individuals?

    • No scandal

      Am fine either way, just make sure to pay your dues when it’s your turn and don’t KPKB when gahmen raise income tax or GST to finance education.

  5. Focused

    It does make you wonder if grades are really the reason why one gets into NUS. It seems to me grades are actually the university’s way of risk assessment and risk management. It uses the banks to make money from its students by taking in pupils who have good grades as they are financially viable monetary investments for NUS to make money with the banks here.

  6. Scarlett

    PAP sucks big time…take our money and give us peanuts. Some more increase minimum sum but not our interest. Useless , money suckers.

  7. Crazyfish

    That’s y u must put yr excess oa and sp acc to yr own investment Fund! ! rather than let others to take yr money to invest get high returns then pay u peanuts! If wondering where to put yr money to invest without too much risk? Just follow our gov.which country they go u just follow.

  8. wemustdoit2016

    yes we must. we must vote out the PAP. send in the opposition(underdogs), have a voice in the parliament who fights for every decision PAP wants to make so they will finally understand (our)the real people’s power!! Show them how good the HK system is, show them we want a government like the USA! with democracy on full.
    lets do it people 2016! Dont waste time liao!

  9. Ed68

    wemustdoit2016, regardless if it is PAP or opposition I hope we do not want a government like USA. USA not only do not have reserve funds like Singapore in fact they owe money big time. Remember recently that they ran out of money and public parks etc has to close? No disrespect to you and your opinion, being in the same boat I hope we choose wisely.

  10. Kenneth

    Why are the higher income earners paying less into their CPF and given a higher disposable income when those who need it more are those below $5000? Becos PAP wants more disposable income in their hands to sent children to Ivy League universities in US. My friends and I won’t vote pap come 2016.

  11. makeithappen44

    thks for the great great findings. i’m sure with your capability u will have ways of helping our gov to work out positive solution. i do have great faith in our current gov & i dont wish to be anywhere (country) else. work it out…. please -_-||

    • Kenneth

      “i do have great faith in our current gov ..”

      This is the crux of the problem. “faith”. Faith means believing something in the absence of evidence. You are nly required to BELIEVE in something when you don’t KNOW. If you KNOW (based on facts and figures), you don’t need to BELIEVE. We should not put our trust nor faith on the PAP’s policies without resorting to evidence first. These policies are clearly unsound and invalid for inflation in Singapore these past 15 years are at 3 to 5%…that’s means our CPF money will be worst than peanuts. Im sorry but PAP has some serious systemic issues and they have been underperforming these past 15 years.

    • Kenneth

      Alright, who here is willing to offer me that a limping international terrorist fromJemaah Islamiyah will not escape our guaranteed and risk free prison? Any takers?

  12. No scandal

    Yet more logical fallacies. Take a look at MOF statements to see how much of the returns from investments are already ploughed back to fund programmes and expenditure. If all go back to CPF returns, then what is left over? Nonsensical logic as usual.

      • Focused

        The report explained that the reason why Singapore was ranked so poorly at 117th is because “of its chosen financial arrangements, which sought to achieve objectives other than those related to social security.“ So, what objectives are these, what programmes (if any) and what expenditures are these? Even the researcher does not know. See, you have to ask yourself what is the objective of a CPF system…if it’s not for pension, then it is not a social security system for old age. It’s something else. What is it then?

      • No scandal

        Aiyah, go read up how much of our investment returns are ploughed back into the budget expenditure lah! Matter of public record, don’t be lazy.

  13. Anonymous

    Wad nonsense argument. Bank pay u 0.125% n they earn 17.88% on loaning ur hard earned money. Go ask from the banks to do more social development then.

    U look like a smart guy to be able to write such a long article. Y dun u spend more time thinking y govt had to make cpf compulsory. U think u could have owned ur hdb without ur employee cpf con? Fewer than 20% in the world actually owns their own apartment.

    Govt to do more social n healthcare dev programmes. U mean like how the US n EU have grown to become complacent n lazy bums n land the country in the state they r in today? We r but 5M ppl out of 7B in the World n we r living one of the highest lives, maybe u’ll b happier to see SG fall to 3rd world. N stop trying to arouse unnecy ill feelings in the society. The world we live in needs more cohesion not conflicts.

    • Focused

      “U think u could have owned ur hdb without ur employee cpf con?”

      We don’t own our HDB. We rent them for 99 years. We’re not owners; we are leasees. It’s there in HDB contract. Please read it not 2 times but 5 times. The HDB flat does not belong to Mr Tan, Mr Ahmad or Mr Kumar. Your HDB belongs to Mr. HDB.

      • Focused

        ” N stop trying to arouse unnecy ill feelings in the society. The world we live in needs more cohesion not conflicts.”
        Yes, that’s one way of looking at it. Another way is that the author is engaging in awareness-raising substantiated by facts. We may not like the facts but that does not change the fact that our CPF system as a pension for our old age is a bad system that does not meet what it set out to do. Why should SIngaporeans serve NS and reservist in their adult working years when they know they won’t be protected in their twilight years?

      • Anonymous

        Look at substance not form dude. Y dun u give up ur hdb n rent a place since there’s no difference.

      • Anonymous

        And awareness is impt. But not misleading truths. Only one side of the matter is presented here. Do u know the social issues faced by the other developed countries?

      • Singaporean

        I’m sorry, a 99 year lease IS as good as ownership. I see that you like to argue semantics about “faith” versus “trust” and “lease” versus “ownership”. If you’re truly interested in having a meaningful discussion, then stop concentrating on the meaning of single, isolated words, and start thinking about the meaning of the big picture, like what this article is doing. HDB’s lease is different from true ownership in that you don’t get to say your children can own it after you die. Your hdb is yours alone, and when you die, it goes back to the government. Your children will have to fight for themselves instead of being cushy off you. Which I have no problems with.

        This is a good article that looks at not just things like interest rates being guaranteed, or plain hard numbers like 36% – it actually looks at the viability of retirement for Singaporeans as compared to other countries’. This is a step in the right direction of Singapore’s political discussion scene. Too many Singaporeans are not used to discussion with the big picture in mind. Stop distracting the discussion in this article with your semantic approach, you’re not doing anyone any favours, because while the CPF scheme has many places for improvement, NS and reservist and all those other strawman arguments you have brought up are entirely irrelevant.

  14. Big tree

    If you are hopping to get richer by depending on others or the government then I think you are really hopeless, because nobody will help you, not even the next ruling party if you vote them in, because they are not your parents. Be more practical, make planning for yourself.
    Is not easy for a government to build a country to where we are now without the support of it people. we will only be strong if we are United. Look at the country around us and think is there a reason why you are feeling better staying here.
    I’m not sure if the next ruling party other then PAP can give us a better living standard, but I’m certain that we have a better living standard and environment compare to country around us under PAP ruling. And I certainly want my children to enjoy this for sure.

    • an Indonesian

      I agree that you should not rely on government or anyone to build your future. I am an Indonesian and our government is a lot worse than yours, but we have so many successful and wealthy people there. I am doing business in singapore and know successful singaporeans entrepreneurs as well. I hardly hear any entrepreneurs giving credit to government for success regardless which country you are from. It is better to spend time creating value rather than blaming anyone or anything

  15. tan

    what if i tell u that GICee and TEmasick is not owned by singapore but the familee? What if i tell u CPeeF is a ponzi scheme? all the world soverign funds are openly disclosed of their ownership, only singapore refused too? why? coz it is owned by familee and not the state.

    i see lots of brainwashed ppl here who thinks pap is doing a good job. if u really go see the world. pap is just doing mediocre work but overpaid under the PM lee. we are just reaping the fruit from the old PAP ministers. soon the fruit will wither and we will relaised we have been conned by the familee.

    • Anonymous

      Really full of shit. Do u even trust in anyone? Suggest u disown ur parents. I think they r plotting to take away everything that they gave to u.

      N please study the concept of stewardship. A smart steward will want to serve its master well n help him prosper. Wad does the family have to gain in bringing sgp down?

      • To toro

        Please study the concept on Nietzschean ethics and Virtue theory. Stewardship is outmoded. It’s 21st century. Why don’t your master learn a thing or two about not oppressing its citizens?

  16. Lim

    Hi,

    Thanks for writing this article. It really helped with my understanding of CPF.
    Effectively we are obliged to lend a portion of our income to the government every month.

    What I do not understand from some of the comments above is :
    1.Why do people say we cannot afford to buy a HDB without CPF? If the employer doesn’t contribute the payment to CPF, this amount should come in our paycheck.
    2. Is the ‘CPF’ really more risk free compared to what Kelvin Ng proposed above?

  17. Pingback: [What the S-h-i-t Times won't tell you] MORE SHOCKING Facts About Our CPF in Singapore! - www.hardwarezone.com.sg
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  19. Mala

    Those comments on red herrings are themselves red herrings. I notice that “focused” is arguing from the perspectives of values and not semantics. Faith is a believe. It’s not the same as knowing. A blind man needs to believe that the sky is blue. He can’t know it’s blue. So I concur that one cannot offer the PAP policies a blind approval nor can any of their policies be fully trusted until we examine their assertions. That’s what thinking people do. I could almost believe there was a PAP troll calling red there. I’d called up CPF and Roy’s claims are robustly true. Leong Sze Hians claims are even more so. many Singaporeans can’t help feeling today that they are being played out .

      • Xiao Ming

        It has taken a long time for Singaporeans to realize that the low rate of return(CPF) vis-à-vis the risk free benchmark, and more important inflation rate is equivalent to theft. Over long periods of time, a return of 10%(net of tax) can be expected unless off course you have idiots or self serving fund managers. Some mistakenly applaud CPF because they think the lack the discipline to save. Unfortunately, most folks are too busy working hard to keep their jobs to educate themselves financially, and think that the money will be there when they retire without factoring HUGE inflation. A second misconception in Singapore, and globally is that rising home values is a good thing because its equates to real wealth.

        Solution? Unfortunately, like in most countries, it takes a big crisis for people to wake up(How do you cook a frog?), and death by a thousand cuts is often preferred. In the case of Singaporeans, the tolerance to bullshit is even higher especially is they think they are still slightly better off than their neighbor. So be prepared to wait Long Long:-)

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  34. Pingback: Why people say CPF is ponzi??? Can take out what, use to buy house lor! - Page 7 - www.hardwarezone.com.sg
  35. Faz

    Iam singaporean living in overseas, happily living in huge freehold land. We should move out. Its better and happy here. And if you dont agree with cpf ask your employer to not contribute in cpf. Infact i use these income to purchase land and properties where our dollar is stronger. I rather invest in my own nature.

  36. Faz

    The world is much bigger then one city. When time to support i support. When time to move i move. When time to return i return. There is no need to be angry. Just be independent and be resource.

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  41. Prasta

    So has Roy NG got it wrong? It was not the PM that was corrupt, but his wife through management of Temasek Holdings & GIC??? Technical error probably?

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