If you haven’t heard by now, the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Basic Retirement Sum will be raised by 3.5% per year for the next five cohorts of CPF members turning 55 from 2023 to 2027. This is in response to the rising standards of living. With this increase, it aims to provide members with higher monthly CPF payouts in their retirement years.
The Basic Retirement Sum CPF for those turning 55 this year is S$96,000. With the 3.5% increase, those who set aside the necessary funds when they turn 55 in 2027 will receive a payout of nearly S$1,000 a month when they turn 65 and for the rest of their lives.
Read on to learn more about the CPF Retirement Sum, how much you need to set aside, and how to optimize your CPF for retirement.
What Is the CPF Retirement Sum?
First of all, the Central Provident Fund (CPF) is a mandatory social security savings scheme that is funded by contributions from employers and employees. It serves to meet your retirement, housing, and healthcare needs.
As such, if you’re a working Singaporean, you and your employer will make monthly contributions to the CPF. It will go into three accounts:
- Ordinary Account: Primarily used for retirement and housing needs
- Special Account: Primarily for retirement needs
- MediSave Account: Primarily for healthcare needs
When you turn 55 years old, your savings from Ordinary and Special Accounts will be combined to form your Retirement Account. This will become your retirement sum.
That said, the CPF Retirement Sum is the total amount of your CPF savings you should set aside so you can live comfortably during your retirement years. The monthly payouts will be disbursed when you turn 65 years old and will continue for the rest of your life.
There are 3 types of CPF Retirement Sums
- Basic Retirement Sum (BRS): This is where your monthly payout comes from. It will cover your basic living expenses.
- Full Retirement Sum (FRS): This is twice your BRS and gives you higher monthly payouts when you’re retired. It can cover your basic living expenses and rent.
- Enhanced Retirement Sum (ERS): This is three times your BRS and can cover your desired lifestyle.
Here’s the difference between the three types at a glance:
Basic Retirement Sum
Funds that will cover your basic needs in retirement.
Full Retirement Sum
Basic Retirement Sum x 2
Enhanced Retirement Sum
Basic Retirement Sum x 3
Note that Singaporeans who are born in 1958 and later will be automatically placed on the CPF LIFE scheme. In a nutshell, CPF LIFE gives you a monthly payout as long as you live. However, to qualify, you must have at least S$60,000 in your CPF Retirement Account when you reach 65 years old.
How Do Much You Need To Set Aside When You Turn 55?
You can choose how much monthly payouts you’ll receive to meet your retirement needs. The payout will depend on the total retirement sum you’ve set aside in your Retirement Account (RA). That said, the more funds you have in your RA, the higher your payouts.
So, how much should you set aside? To help you plan for your retirement, the CPF Basic Retirement Sum will be made known to you ahead of time.
For instance, those who turn 55 in 2022 will have to set aside S$192,000. And as per the Budget 2022 statement on 18 February 2022, we also know the FRS amount from 2023 to 2027.
|55th birthday on or after||Full Retirement Sum (FRS)|
1 January 2020
1 January 2021
1 January 2022
1 January 2023
1 January 2024
1 January 2025
1 January 2026
1 January 2027
How To Boost Your CPF Retirement Sum?
Let’s start with how CPF Retirement Sum works.
On your 55th birthday, your Retirement Account (RA) will be created. This is the combined savings from your Ordinary Account and Special Account. This retirement sum will be used to join CPF Life. And based on your retirement sum, you will receive monthly payouts under CPF LIFE, for as long as you live.
Let’s Take A Look At How Your CPF Savings Grow
Before we look into different ways you can boost your CPF Retirement Sum, it’s crucial to understand the base interest rates that your CPF accounts attract (as of March 2020)
|CPF Account||Base Interest Rate Per Annum|
Ordinary Account (OA)
Special Account (SA)
- If you are below 55 years old, you can earn an extra 1% interest p.a. on the first S$60,000 of your combined balances
- If you are 55 years old or older, you can earn an extra 1% interest p.a. on the first S$30,000 of your combined balances. This is on top of the 1% interest on the first S$60,000.
The Singapore Government helps you grow your CPF savings by paying attractive interest of up to 5% per year if you are below 55 years old. The interest can go up to 6% per year if you are 55 years old and older.
So How Can You Boost Your CPF Retirement Sum?
1. Consider Using More Cash Instead of CPF to Pay for Your House
Instead of using up the funds in your Ordinary Account to pay for your property, why not take out a home loan? Doing so will lead to more savings in your OA which can rack up to 3.5% interest p.a.
2. Use Cash to Pay Off your Housing Loan
To ensure that you have more than enough funds when you retire, don’t use your CPF savings to pay off your monthly loan. Use cash, or half-cash and half-CPF instead. Note that the Ordinary Account has a base interest of up to 3.5% p.a.
3. Transfer Funds From OA to SA for Higher Interest
Based on the table above, the base rate for your OA is 2.5% p.a. Your SA, on the other hand, earns 4% interest p.a. As such, your savings will grow faster if you transfer your OA funds into your SA. To do this, you’ll need to be:
- Below 55 years old
- Your SA balance needs to be less than the Full Retirement Sum
Once you transfer the funds to your SA, you won’t be able to withdraw them at any given time. So make sure you won’t be needing your OA funds for housing or other purposes.
4. Top-Up Your Retirement Sum
Another way to grow your Retirement Sum is through the Retirement Sum Top-Up Scheme. This means making cash top-ups directly to your (or your family members’) CPF accounts up to the prevailing FRS.
- For members below 55 years old, you can top-up your SA up to the prevailing FRS
- For members above 55 years old, you can top-up your RA up to the prevailing ERS
This option will not add strain to your finances. For instance, you can top-up S$100 a month at interest rates of up to 5% p.a. in your SA. Your retirement sum can grow by more than S$24,000 in 15 years.
Tip: If you make cash top-ups in January every year instead of in December, you can earn up to 20% more interest on your CPF savings in 10 years.
Want to receive higher payouts? You can top-up your Enhanced Retirement Sum in your Retirement Account.
Best of all, you can enjoy tax relief of up to S$8,000 per calendar year if you make cash top-ups.
5. Consider Not Withdrawing From Your CPF Savings Once You Reach 55
Want to grow your retirement income? Avoid making a lump sum withdrawal from your CPF Savings when you turn 55. If you don’t have an immediate need for that money, then leave it in your CPF account so it can continue to earn interest.
Take a look at the illustration below:
6. Choose To Delay The Start Of Your CPF LIFE Payouts
Did you know that you can delay the start of your CPF Payouts at age 65?
You can choose to start your payouts any time between 65 and 70 years old. This is a good option if you don’t need the payout yet. For instance, if you still have other sources of income, you can give your current retirement savings more time to grow.
Every year that you defer, your payouts will increase by up to 7%. This means you’ll get larger payouts in the future.
What If I Didn’t Meet the Basic Retirement Sum?
You won’t be paying any penalty fees if you don’t meet the Basic Retirement Sum. You don’t have to top-up the shortfall with cash. You also don’t need to sell a property to set aside enough funds for BRS.
That said, while it is perfectly okay to not hit the BRS, your situation will be a little different when you turn 55.
For instance, if you don’t hit the BRS, you’ll only be able to withdraw S$5,000 from CPF when you turn 55. With the current CPF LIFE scheme, your retirement income will not be affected. This is because CPF LIFE is fully pro-rated based on the exact amount of retirement savings you have.
As such, whether you hit BRS or not, your monthly payouts will be calculated fairly.
At a glance:
|Amount in the Retirement Account||Amount You Can Withdraw When You Turn 55|
S$5,000 or less
U to S$5,000. You will not receive any retirement payouts.
More than S$5,000 but less than BRS
Up to S$5,000. You will wait till you’re at least 65 years old to receive CPF LIFE payouts.
More than BRS, but less than FRS
If you own a property and have pledged it, you can withdraw any amount above the BRS. Otherwise, you can only withdraw up to S$5,000.
1. What Is the Difference Between Basic Retirement Sum and Full Retirement Sum?
The Basic Retirement Sum (BRS) aims to provide you with retirement income that can cover basic living expenses. The government updates the BRS every year, but only provides figures one year in advance.
The Full Retirement Sum, on the other hand, is two times the BRS. This means it provides you with a higher retirement income that can cover rental expenses as well. That said, if you don’t own a property or want to receive full monthly payouts, you can set aside the FRS.
2. Can I Withdraw My Basic Retirement Sum?
You can withdraw anytime from when you turn 55. For those born in 1958 and after, you can withdraw S$5,000 from your CPF savings.
3. Will My Monthly Payouts Stop If My CPF Retirement Account Runs Out Of Money?
The short answer is no, especially if you’re on CPF Life. CPF Life ensures that you’ll receive retirement payouts for as long as you live, regardless of how much savings you have in your account in old age.
It’s never too early to start planning your retirement. So whether you’re 30 years old right now or younger, it’s time to start finding ways to boost your CPF Retirement Sum. If you have a choice, it makes sense to aim for the highest Retirement Sum you can afford to live the retirement lifestyle you’ve dreamed of.
- The Basic Retirement Sum for those turning 55 this year is S$96,000.
- Singaporeans who are born in 1958 and later will be automatically placed on the CPF LIFE scheme. This scheme gives you monthly payouts as long as you live.
- One way to boost your Retirement Sum is to use more cash instead of CPF to pay for your house or home loan.
- When you turn 55, you can withdraw up to S$5,000 from your CPF savings.
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