[VIDEO] Why Singaporeans Are Unable To Save In Our CPF And Retire

Last month, I had written about how Singaporeans are unable to save enough in our CPF to be able to retire, and explained how this happened – because Singaporeans are forced to pay the “accrued interest” and the government keeps increasing the CPF Minimum Sum to astronomical levels which prevent more and more Singaporeans from being able to meet it.

Find out more about it by reading this article here.

Or watch this short video to find out why your CPF seems to be depleting faster than you can ever accumulate it.

On 7 June, we will be organising an event to demand to the Singapore government to #ReturnOurCPF. Read our demands below.

We have also set up a petition that you can sign here.

We look forward to seeing you on 7 June. The Facebook event page can be found here.

Return Our CPF Colour Boxes 2b@English



    Please leave singapore, you can withdraw your CPF, go to a country you like. LEAVE asap.

    You are embarrassing fellow singaporeans!

    • facebook head fbi

      nicer car then durian nkf. lee lawyer sue nkf give money to lee lawyer company and lawyer wife divorce take half donation money to seal the deal lawyer owe money become owner nfk maybe lee take all the 4dpool money keep for himself build 27swim pool something like that and build another 12 nkf and sue city harvest 27m shh info from secert service classifield. ica intel intellgence. tell all your friends. so long our kate doesnt get sue doesnt matter. what happen if they sue u? corruption political motivated cause your want to help lee keep all the donation bird plane human yellow orange green money? how about print 500trillion 1note and pay usa debt we sold your tap into your swimming pool taking 4dpools gamble donation money. cover my people 0sue my 40banks going to take out the money invest. your bankbook record balance. 1silver bar topup book 50000 every month for west 10000 for local students and worker. 0paper work 0irs 0iras 0ura or we print 900trillion buy all your gold bar army camp or your stay thailand owe 40000cpf iras irs and degree 4yrs wait work permit singapore sea haze and flood. or you can use thai dollar buy food here and 30mark copy pass sponsor west teacher raise pay all west work 50000 every month. your sg worker add 5000cpf and macdonalds dollar every week. bank book type insurance ins cdp erp $5000.00 posb dollar. your still using my cd in your airbase i havent say anything yet. microsoft head secret service. microsoft high commission of united kingdom serving elizabeth the queen. microsoft head cia. obama head admin puttin. kate queen head worldbank.

    • Li Kong You

      You must be a PAPig.
      Asking Singaporeans to leave and inviting foreigners to replace us.
      Do traitors also exhibit such behaviour?

    • Math head

      In the video, you said “one in EIGHT” Singaporeans cannot meet the minimum sum. Which to you is 90% of Singaporean. However, statistical math is saying that one in eight is equal to 12.5%. Which means ONLY 12.5% OF SINAGPOREANS CANNOT MEET. For it to be 90% of Singaporeans it has got to be ” 9 IN 10″.

      1in 8 = 1/8
      1/8 * 100% = 12.5%

      So, you basically fucked up your first “truth”.

  2. Jason

    So if you want CPF interest rates to be pegged to TH/GIC, will you be willing to get a DEDUCTION in your CPF accounts IF GIC/TH makes losses instead?

    The reason why the interest rate is so low is because it is a 100% guaranteed that you will get back your money. Out of that 16% that temasek gains, you get 2.5% in your CPF, the rest is KEPT so that IN CASE temasek fails and makes losses, CPF money will still be gaining 2.5% and you need not be afraid of losing your CPF money. If you want interest rates to be pegged to temasek, then are you prepared for your CPF account to be depleted if they lose money? No investment company is without fault, if an investment company is 100% perfect, then no one needs to work anymore, just invest in that company and sit back and watch your money grow. But the fact is, investment companies also makes losses, the reason why the extra money is not disbursed is just in case the worse happens.

    • Li Kong You

      If Temasek makes a profit, how will Singaporeans know?
      If Temasek makes a loss, how will Singaporeans know?

    • Danny Chan

      I think the government has a responsibility to take care of it’s citizen. by that i’m not saying give everything free. the government should work for the citizen. whatever is earn should contribute back to the citizen. so getting 16% and giving back 2.5%… sound a bit tooooo little ? what’s more, the citizen are having a problem making ends meet with everything getting so expensive. so what Roy has explained happening in our country now is morally wrong.

      • Singapore Government Does Not Equal PAP

        @ Danny Chan
        Please don’t conflate the Singapore government with the current PAP government in your thinking.
        When we vote out the PAP government, the values of the Singapore government will also change.
        The government civil service is a reflection of the values of the ruling party.

    • Ken

      @ Jason

      1 You said “The reason why the interest rate is so low is because it is a 100% guaranteed that you will get back your money.”

      Can the guarantee be 100% if the govt’s public debt starts rising above 110% by keep borrowing from the CPF funds? What if the PAP loses the 2016 GE will the new incoming govt honor the guarantee?

      2 “Out of that 16% that temasek gains, you get 2.5% in your CPF, the rest is KEPT so that IN CASE temasek fails and makes losses, CPF money will still be gaining 2.5% ”

      But today the inflation is 2.5%. The real return is ZERO. Is this the best way to grow your retirement fund? No.

      3 “No investment company is without fault”

      Agree. So let the CPF Board have more flexibility to diversify the investments around the world like other Sovereign Wealth Funds do and not be mandated by law to invest only in SGS.

  3. Max Chew

    Roy: You argument appear flawed. Unless policy has changed since I last remembered, CPF only demand accrued interest of 2.5% of the amount removed from CPF account. Not 2.5% the whole lump-sum of your withdrawn CPF amount + your commercial bank mortgage loaned amount. I would agree that CPF should perhaps not demand the 2.5% accrued interest of the CPF withdrawn amount to be paid back to CPF account upon sale of the real estate property on a later date. They could simply not pay any interest on amount withdrawn for the period and that the same dollar amount be returned into CPF account upon sale. From CPF’s perspective, it perhaps consider the 2.5% as the opportunity cost of withdrawal – but this still does not justify it.

  4. Vincent

    Don’t stop writing Roy, way to go! Hope your NMP bid goes through. There are a lot of clowns toeing the government line around here. Just put all their nasty comments where they belong : trash bin.

  5. TT


    how come no conspiracy theories on the new Bus contracting model????? i need some morning topics to laugh with my clients….pl dun give up!!

    • Li Kong You

      Is this the real operating model for our buses?
      Bus company lose money, you pay higher fares.
      Bus company pay million dollar salaries to management team … you pay higher fares
      Bus company need to buy more buses … you pay higher fares
      Bus company need to pay tax to PAP government … you pay higher fares.

  6. Krzysztof

    Hi Roy. I have just come across your blog which I find extremely interesting and important.

    I would like to discuss your earlier article about poverty in Singapore:

    I think I can give you an interesting description of how the other side of the coin looks like. I live in a country where goverment spending is big (as a fraction of GDP) and to be honest this is nowhere near wellbeing of our citizens. Actually the percentage of people living under the poverty line is much bigger in my country than in yours even though already 3.5 million people (out of 38) have left the country in a search for jobs.

    What I have noticed is that whereas European economic model is glorified in Asia (because the goverment suposedly takes care of the poor, which is not really true), as removing inequality, this model simply does not work and it has already created huge problems which will result in most of the countries going bankrupt and their economies collapsing, meaning poverty for the most of the population.

    Anyway, it is quite late in Poland right now, so I would like to point out that although the data in that article was interesting, I think your conclusions were (partially) wrong. Could we discuss them on the email? I guess after that you could post some kind of additional article that would refer to this one with some of my comments (ie. comments from a guy who is a witness of how goverment spending can literally destroy the country).

    I am of course not criticising your work nor your blog. I just think that if you could combine your observations from Singapore and mine from Poland, you could come to more precise conclusions.

    I hope you will find a few seconds to read this comment and drop me an email. Hope you do so, cause I was thinking about emigrating to Singapore into account, and now I’m gonna give it a second thought (high tuition fees).


    • Li Kong You

      Why compare Singapore with Poland?
      Do Polish Ministers get paid million dollar salaries?
      Didn’t the old fart write a book called from 3rd World to 1st ?
      Ergo … we should used 1st world countries when we judge the performance of the PAP government.

      • Krzysztof

        @Li Kong You

        First please do read my post with full understanding once again. I did not write about comparing any contries whatsoever.

        What I had on mind is that huge goverment spending leads to the same pathologies in all countries that emply it and I am a direct witness to this. Hence I was offering my observations to (hopefully) fellow Singaporeans.

        With all respect, division into 3rd world (ie. Poland) and first world countries is not obeyed by the mechanisms that rule goverment spending and how it impacts the society and poverty in a particular country. And by the way, I have been living in the UK for the last year and pathologies are THE SAME as in Poland, and in some areas even bigger (more $$ wasted by Cameron).

        Only the scale differs – Poland being a poor country, UK not so much poor… yet 🙂 .

        Anyway I hoped for a balanced exchange of experiences and observations from which both sides can benefit.

      • Krzysztof

        What is the annual salary of your PM? Around S$ 3million? That is aroung 7.5 mln PLN.

        You would be surprised, but most of the people in the Polish goverment make quite large sums of money even compared to that of your PM’s salary through various covert sources like bribes, rigging law to increase income of their “fellow companies” and so on.

        Singapore looks like quite a successful country and society to me but, you should not imply that human behaviour and thus processes that take place in the economy and society are different in developed countries and poor countries. Cause they’re not. The scale may differ, the duration of the process may differ, but eventually if you make the same wrong decisions every country rots in the same way. Literally.

      • b

        What proof do you have that the Prime Minister of Poland and his cabinet accepts bribes?

    • blessyou

      I hope our Polish friend would not be too insulted. Unfortunately, stupidity is in abundance in Singapore (eg. Li Kong You). Your offer of a third party perspective is much appreciated.

  7. Danny Chan

    Roy, thanks very much for opening the eyes of Singaporean to the realities of CPF / HDB. Thanks everybody else also… uncle leong, gilbert, han hh…. thanks.

    Roy, I think you have very good points in your video. However, saying MS – money gone is a bit extreme. Cause the money is still there, just locked up. People may see you as extremist in saying things like that and reject your good work.

    • Singapore Government Does Not Equal PAP

      @ Danny Chan
      From public relations point of view, your advice to Roy is good.
      But unless you have proof that the CPF money is still there … Roy may not be wrong to say that the money is gone.
      But if “money is gone” then Roy will also have to offer proof.

      But the real joke is this:
      What is our non-partisan President’s view on this?
      Why is he so silent?
      How does he protect the Singapore Reserves when he does not have a list of the reserves in the first place?
      How do you protect something that you don’t even know of its existence in the first place?

      • Sue For Return Of CPF Money

        Why not a group of concern citizens pool together all their money.
        Hire a lawyer like Ravi.
        And challenge in court the PAP government’s authority to (i) increase the CPF minimum sum and (b) increase the age before we can withdraw all our money

      • Danny Chan

        I just think Roy will have a wider reach to Singaporean if he takes a slightly milder tone and is align a bit closer to those fence sitters. Then we will have enough people who close ranks on this issue.

  8. Pingback: [news] LHL n his lawyer make more demands on blogger! - Page 9 - www.hardwarezone.com.sg
  9. Pam S

    Roy – I am not writing to criticize nor applaud your views. But your writing made me become more aware to issues I should be thinking about. I really hope to have an informed unbiased view and explanation to the issues you raised about CPF. I also hope someone can enlighten me what would be the best ways to raise the issues Roy had raised., in a constructive manner that our govt endorses.

    However, why offer apology and then continue to make more posts (and video) which contradicted the spirit of the apology? What was your motivation? The accusation that this is opportunistic and that you are aggravating the situation does seem to stand ground and can discredit you more than a lawsuit.

  10. nemoincognito

    The PAP doesn’t do anything but formulate policy – there’s plenty to debate here about implicit taxes, lack of transparency at GIC / Temasek but you weaken your argument but claiming “PAP does x” and “PAP does y” when in fact the government does these things. Do yourself a favour and focus on the policy issues because they are real rather than these crackpot PAP conspiracy theories. All the government acts that created these agencies were passed in broad daylight and in public.

  11. Zhongren Shao

    This whole thing is starting to irritate me, as a student with a bit of knowledge about finance and investing: I’ll try to address the issues as they appeared in his article, which can be found at http://therealsingapore.com/content/your-cpf-complete-truth-and-nothing-truth

    “Where Does Your CPF Go?”
    Palm to face. So, “managed by” and “investing in” are not the same thing. From the screenshot of the CPF page, the reserves are “managed by” GIC, Temasek, and MAS. Thus, they are the people making decisions on what to put the money into, like lending to the US, or buying stock in some company. Investing in, on the other hand, is buying ownership of a particular company, thus giving you the rights to payments called dividends and the rights to vote in certain decisions. Not the same. Also, the money you put into CPF is lent to the government as government bonds specifically for CPF. This means that no matter what, you will always get your money back, since the government can literally print out more money if it has to. That’s what guaranteed means. However, this would not be ideal as it would cause a ton of inflation, making things expensive. If you’re interested, Google “hyperinflation in Zimbabwe” for an extreme example about why this is bad, or just read about the banana notes. This is why the government even has to invest the money in the first place.

    “Why Your CPF Is Not Growing”
    Given that the MAS is partly responsible for managing the reserves and that it is CPF we are talking about, there are likely some restrictions on what it can be invested in legally. For example, take a highly volatile stock that has a 20% annual return but could lose all its value the next day.Compare that with the a US Treasury 10-Year bond, with a 2% annual return but guaranteed money back. Which would you prefer your CPF be invested in? Probably the latter, which is why the return rate is so low compared to Temasek’s actual return, which would include some high-risk stocks like the former.

    “The Government Doesn’t Want To Give You The Full Return Of Your CPF”
    What. A pension fund’s return should have everything to do with banks’ interest rates. CPF is essentially the government helping you to put money away in order for you to have a good retirement. Now, if banks’ interest rates were higher than CPF return rates, you’d obviously be angry, because the money that went into CPF could have been deposited with the banks and you’d have more money in the end. Pegging to Temasek’s interest rates is just absurd, since it doesn’t have one. It’s a holding company that just buys securities, waits for them to increase in value, and sells them. It does not lend money, thus it doesn’t have an interest rate.

    “The PAP Is The GIC: The PAP Knows How Your Money Is Being Invested In The GIC”
    The government outright owns GIC, therefore it is required that some ministers sit on the Board, which, technically, is separate from a company itself. A Board has the power to hold a CEO accountable for his actions, but cannot actually legally influence a CEO in how he runs the company. This is so that a Board cannot hold the threat of a CEO’s firing to put him under duress to do something. A Board cannot directly influence the operations of a company, so the same applies the other way, and knowledge is not shared. This ideal happens in most publicly traded companies, except for a few exceptions where the Chair and the CEO are the same person.

    “Singaporeans Are Losing $300,000 In Our CPF”
    Again, the CPF money is legally restricted from being spent by the government. This means that that pay the PM is taking, the fees going to the companies managing these reserves, cannot be coming out of CPF. Just, no.

    “The Government Does Not Give Us Full Information As To How Our CPF Is Being Invested In”
    Finally, a valid point! I definitely agree that the government and the managers of the CPF funds could be more transparent about what exactly the CPF funds are being invested in, but I would imagine that the difference in the annual reports would be partly due to the differences in laws, and mostly due to the fact that GIC is not listed on a public stock exchange. Unlisted companies have a lot less to report to authorities, which is why the accounting figures are absent from GIC’s report as compared to the other one.

    “Once, We Earned 6.5% On Our CPF. Now, We Earn The Lowest Interest Rate In The World”
    It’s pegged to banks’ interest rates. Enough said.

    “Singaporeans Pay The Highest CPF Contribution Rate In The World, But Have The Least Adequate Retirement Funds”
    This, I’m actually not sure about. Perhaps it’s not taking into account the fact that in Singapore, at least, children are expected to provide for their parents in their old age. Also, the increase in contribution rate is probably due to the aging population, which would mean less children to help support parents, so the government is simply trying to make it so that elderly parents are more able to support themselves when the time comes. Pretty similar to what is happening in Japan, I would imagine.

    “The CPF Minimum Sum Grew Much Faster Than Inflation But Wages And Our CPF Barely Grew”
    Again, this is probably the government simply taking precautions to deal with the demographic changes that are in store for Singapore. Also, the losses sustained by Temasek in 2008 are pretty average, since loss estimates of the crash range from 25-40%, which means that Temasek, relatively speaking, did okay.

    “The Government Makes You Pay Interest To Yourself To Borrow From Yourself”
    Having to pay back the principal plus interest makes a lot of sense, since you are borrowing from your future self to spend money, but the CPF is meant to be a cushion for your later years, so you should ideally return this money when you have sold the flat. Also, unlike most places, land is extremely scarce in Singapore and so, unlike most places, on average your flat will be an appreciating asset. Thus, when you sell your flat that you bought with money from your CPF, you will probably end up with more than you borrowed.

  12. JP

    Roy ! You are just a Mathematician.

    No one swallow does a Summer maketh.

    Now you understand! Stop going to HongLim & stop hallucinating
    The real HeartTruth is : you need at least another 7 year’s to mature in NationpOlitics. What I mean is : your presentation is not Wholesome enough! I’m not convinced – now you understand.

    However, I’ll stop by & read your article whenever … hope you’ll be better. GLÜCK!

  13. JP

    By the way, I’m looking forward to becoming your follower – the moment I find inspiration & am convinced with your dedicated work.

    Blessings to you – ROY !

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