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7 Best Endowment Plans in Singapore 2024

Where to Get The Best Endowment Saving Plans in Singapore
Table of Contents

In Singapore, with retirement and re-employment ages set at 63 and 68 respectively—expected to increase to 65 and 70 by 2030—endowment saving plans have become increasingly important.

Young adults should start building their retirement fund early for a larger nest egg and the possibility of early retirement, as advised by Ms. Kimberlin Chew, Associate Director of Sales at Manulife Financial Adviser, in The Straits Times.

Read on to learn more about endowment saving plans, outlining their advantages, key considerations, and the best plans for this year.

What is an Endowment Plan?

An endowment plan is a financial product that combines the elements of a life insurance policy and a savings plan, according to DBS, one of Singapore’s leading banks.

It’s designed to help you save for specific goals, such as your children’s education or your retirement while providing basic life insurance protection for the duration of the policy.

MoneySmart highlights the value of endowment policies in promoting financial discipline through their structured savings approach, integrated within the monthly insurance premium payments.

They emphasize that choosing an appropriate endowment policy is essential for enhancing one’s savings strategy, stating: “Endowment policies can be a beneficial way to help you build up financial discipline since the savings component is built into the monthly insurance premiums. So, picking a suitable endowment policy may be a crucial step to a better savings plan.”

How Do Endowment Plans Work?

Premiums

Premiums are the payments you make to keep the endowment plan active. These can be structured in various ways, depending on the policy:

  • Regular Premiums: Payments are made regularly, such as monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually. Single Premium: A one-time payment is made for the entire policy.
  • Limited Pay: Premiums are paid for a predetermined period shorter than the full term of the policy, but the coverage continues until the end of the term.

Maturity Period

The maturity period is the length of time until the policy pays out. Endowment plans can be categorized based on the length of the maturity period:

  • Short-term Endowment Plans: These plans typically have a maturity period of less than 10 years. They are often used for specific short-term financial goals, such as saving for a down payment on a house.
  • Long-term Endowment Plans: These have longer maturity periods, often ranging from 10 to 30 years or more. They are suitable for long-term financial goals, like retirement savings.

Returns

Endowment plans offer both guaranteed and non-guaranteed returns:

  • Guaranteed Returns: A portion of the returns is guaranteed, meaning you’ll receive a specified amount at the end of the maturity period regardless of the financial market’s performance.
  • Non-Guaranteed Returns: These are additional returns that may be paid out depending on the performance of the insurer’s investment fund. They are not guaranteed and can vary.

The returns from an endowment plan are typically paid out at the end of the maturity period, although some plans may offer partial withdrawals or regular payouts at certain intervals throughout the policy term.

Example Illustration:

Let’s say you’re paying a monthly premium of $250 for your endowment policy. Out of this, $100 might go towards the insurance component, and $150 towards the savings component. Over 15 years, you would have paid a total of $45,000 for a sum assured of $100,000. After the premium payment period ends at age 50, the insurance coverage continues for life. Upon reaching 65 years old, you might be entitled to some accumulated cash value if you surrender your policy.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Endowment Policies

When considering an endowment policy, it’s important to weigh the benefits of lifetime coverage and cash value accumulation against the higher premiums and potentially lower investment yields. This will help you determine if an endowment plan aligns with your financial goals and risk appetite.

Advantages of Endowment Plans

  • Lifetime Coverage: One of the key benefits of endowment policies is that they provide life insurance coverage for the policyholder’s entire life, even after the premium payment period has ended.
  • Cash Value Accumulation: Endowment plans have a savings component that accumulates cash value over time. This can be a valuable asset for policyholders, providing a lump sum upon maturity or a source of funds in case of surrender.
  • Guaranteed and Non-Guaranteed Returns: Endowment policies typically offer a combination of guaranteed returns and potential non-guaranteed bonuses, providing a more predictable outcome compared to direct investment products.
  • Forced Savings Discipline: By requiring regular premium payments, endowment plans encourage a disciplined savings habit, which can be beneficial for long-term financial planning.
  • Insurance Coverage: Besides savings, endowment policies also provide a degree of insurance cover, which can include death, terminal illness, and disability benefits, adding a layer of financial protection.
  • Flexibility in Terms: Policies come with various term lengths, from short-term (e.g., 5-10 years) to long-term options (20 years or more), allowing individuals to choose based on their financial goals and timelines.

Disadvantages of Endowment Plans

  • Higher Premiums: Due to the dual nature of endowment policies, combining savings and insurance, the premiums are generally higher compared to pure-term insurance policies.
  • Lower Yields: While endowment plans offer guaranteed returns, the yields are often lower than other investment options, such as stocks or mutual funds. This is because a portion of the premium goes towards the insurance component, reducing the amount available for investment.
  • Complexity and Costs: Endowment policies can be complex financial products, with various fees and charges embedded within them. Understanding the guaranteed vs. non-guaranteed aspects of returns can be challenging for some policyholders.
  • Opportunity Cost: Locking money into an endowment policy means you might miss out on higher returns from other investments, especially in a rising market. This opportunity cost is a significant consideration, particularly for long-duration policies.

Key Considerations Before Purchasing an Endowment Plan

When considering purchasing an endowment plan, several key factors should be taken into account to ensure the policy aligns with your financial goals and circumstances. Here’s a detailed look at the critical considerations:

Capital Guarantee

A capital guarantee is a feature that ensures the policyholder gets back at least the amount of capital they have invested when the policy matures. Not all endowment plans offer a 100% capital guarantee, so it’s essential to check if the plan you’re considering provides this feature and under what conditions. This is crucial for conservative investors who prioritize the safety of their capital.

Maturity Period

The maturity period of an endowment plan is the duration until the policy pays out. It’s essential to select a maturity period that matches the timing of your financial goals.

As Ms. Lorna Tan, head of financial planning literacy at DBS Bank, suggests, for goals with a specific timeline, like funding a child’s education, a 20-year maturity period could be appropriate. “For longer-term goals like retirement, you might choose a maturity period of 30 years. You can also consider buying several endowment plans with staggered maturity periods to receive a flow of payouts during your retirement.”

This strategic approach ensures that the payouts align with your financial needs at different life stages.

Distribution Costs

These are fees related to the selling and managing of the endowment policy, which can impact the overall returns. Distribution costs might include commissions paid to agents or fees for managing the investments within the policy. High distribution costs can reduce the overall returns of the plan. It’s important to understand these costs and how they affect your investment.

Pay Periods

Endowment plans come with different premium payment structures. Some require regular payments throughout the term, while others may offer a limited pay period, where premiums are paid for a shorter duration than the policy term. The choice can affect your cash flow and financial planning, so consider which payment structure best suits your needs.

Choose a pay period that aligns with your financial situation and goals. Longer pay periods may result in lower annual premiums but a longer commitment.

Surrender Value

The surrender value is the amount you receive if you decide to terminate the policy before its maturity. Early surrender can lead to receiving less than the total premiums paid or the loss of benefits. Understanding the surrender value and penalties for early withdrawal is crucial when evaluating an endowment plan.

Withdrawal Implications

Some plans allow partial withdrawals during the policy term, which can affect the final payout and benefits. Consider how withdrawals are treated, any fees or penalties associated, and their impact on the guaranteed and non-guaranteed portions of the plan. It’s also important to understand how withdrawals might affect the insurance coverage aspects of the policy.

Additional Considerations

  • Financial Goals: Ensure the policy aligns with your financial objectives, whether it’s saving for a child’s education, retirement, or accumulating wealth.
  • Risk Tolerance: Assess your comfort with the balance between guaranteed and non-guaranteed returns, considering the investment risks involved.
  • Comparison Shopping: Compare different plans to find one that offers the best combination of features, returns, and costs for your specific needs.
  • Professional Advice: Consider consulting a financial advisor to help navigate the complexities of endowment plans and choose one that aligns with your financial strategy.

Popular Endowment Plans in Singapore

Plan Name

Premium Type

Guaranteed Interest

Policy Term

Payout Options

Capital Guarantee

Unique Features

GREAT SP Series 12

Single

3.50% p.a.

2 years

Cash or SRS

100%

  • 105% coverage for Death and TPD

DBS Savvy Endowment 15

Single

Up to 3.32% p.a.

1 year

Cash

100%

  • Hassle-free online application
  • 101% coverage for Death

Manulife Goal (Special)

Single

3.60% p.a.

1 year

Cash or SRS

100%

  • Easy application
  • No health check-ups
  • 101% coverage for Death

Singlife Choice Saver

Regular

Up to 4.25% p.a.

10-25 years

Lump sum

100%

  • Flexible premium terms
  • Add-on riders for critical illness
  • Option to change Life Assured

AXA EarlySaver Plus

Regular

Up to 1.57% p.a.

10-25 years

Lump sum

100%

  • Guaranteed cash payouts in last 3 policy years
  • Optional reinvestment of payouts
  • Accidental death benefit
  • Outpatient medical expense reimbursement

Great Eastern GREAT Flexi Goal

Regular

Up to 3% p.a.

15-20 years

Lump sum

100%

  • Customizable premium payment terms
  • Guaranteed acceptance for coverage
  • Capital guarantee upon maturity

PRUFlexicash

Regular

Non-guaranteed

15-25 years

Yearly cash

Not specified

  • Yearly Cash Benefit from the second policy year
  • Flexible policy terms
  • Lump sum maturity payout
  • Coverage for Death, TPD, and Terminal Illness
  • Supplementary benefits

Each plan offers different features, terms, and benefits that cater to various savings goals and needs. The GREAT SP Series 12, DBS Savvy Endowment 15, and Manulife Goal (Special) are more suited for short-term saving with guaranteed returns, while Singlife Choice Saver, AXA EarlySaver Plus, Great Eastern GREAT Flexi Goal, and PRUFlexicash cater to those looking for mid to long-term saving options with a mix of guarantees and potential bonuses.

Best Short-Term Endowment Savings Plans

GREAT SP Series 12

The GREAT SP Series 12 is a short-term endowment plan offered by Great Eastern. Unlike traditional endowment plans that mature over a decade or more, this plan matures in just 2 years. It’s designed to provide a combination of savings and insurance coverage, making it suitable for those looking to grow their cash with a guaranteed interest rate.

Features:

  • Single Premium: This plan requires a single premium payment, making it convenient for those who prefer not to commit to regular payments.
  • Guaranteed Returns: Enjoy a guaranteed interest rate of 3.50% per annum for 2 years, providing a straightforward and attractive return on your investment.
  • Payout Options: Cash, (Bank transfer or eGIRO) or Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS) funds
  • Death and Total and Permanent Disability Benefits: 105% of single premium.

Policy Term: The policy term is a short-term commitment of just 2 years, ideal for those looking for quick returns.

Why Choose GREAT SP Series 12:

  • Coverage: In addition to the savings component, the GREAT SP Series 12 provides coverage against Death and Total and Permanent Disability, offering added protection.
  • Capital Guarantee: The plan comes with a 100% capital guarantee upon maturity, ensuring that your principal investment is secure.

Best For:

The GREAT SP Series 12 is an excellent option for those seeking a short-term savings solution with guaranteed returns and added insurance coverage. Its single premium payment and 2-year policy term make it a convenient and attractive choice for growing your wealth.

DBS Savvy Endowment 15

The DBS Savvy Endowment 15 is a 1-year endowment plan that offers an attractive way to earn returns on your investment. This limited-tranche product is designed for those seeking short-term savings with a decent yield.

Features:

  • Premium Payment: The plan allows for a hassle-free online application with options to pay using SRS (Supplementary Retirement Scheme) funds or cash.
  • Returns: Earn up to 3.32% p.a. in just 1 year, with a guaranteed maturity yield of 3.12% p.a. and an additional non-guaranteed maturity yield of up to 0.20% p.a.
  • Payout Options: Upon maturity, you’ll receive 100% capital guaranteed after 1 year, ensuring the security of your principal investment.
  • Death Coverage: 101% of single premium

Policy Term: Short policy term of 1 year, ideal for those looking for quick returns.

Why Choose DBS Savvy Endowment 15:

  • Death Coverage: The plan provides death coverage during the policy term, offering peace of mind and financial protection.
  • Hassle-Free Application: The online application process is straightforward, making it easy to start growing your savings.

Consider this illustration from DBS

DBS Savvy Endowment 15

(Source: DBS)

Best For:

The DBS Savvy Endowment 15 is a great option for individuals seeking a short-term, low-commitment investment with competitive returns and added insurance coverage.

Manulife Goal (Special)

Manulife Goal (Special) is a 1-year single premium endowment plan offering a potential return of 3.60% p.a., designed for individuals looking for short-term savings with a capital guarantee.

Features

  • Minimum Premium: Starting from as low as S$5,000 via cash or SRS.
  • Potential Return: Offers a potential return of 3.60% p.a.
  • Maturity Value: At the end of the policy year, receive a guaranteed return of 3.30%, with a potential maturity bonus of 0.30%.
  • Death Coverage: Coverage against death at 101% of your single premium.
  • Guaranteed Capital: Capital is 100% guaranteed upon policy maturity.

Policy Term: A concise term of 1 year, ideal for those seeking a quick return on investment.

Why Choose Manulife Goal (Special)

  • Easy Application: No health check-ups required, with guaranteed acceptance.
  • Maturity Bonus: A potential upside with a maturity bonus of 0.30% of your single premium.

Best For:

The Manulife Goal (Special) plan is ideal for individuals seeking a short-term savings option with a guaranteed return upon maturity, making it perfect for achieving near-term financial objectives or preparing for upcoming significant expenses.

Best Mid/Long-Term Endowment Savings Plans

Singlife Choice Saver The Singlife Choice Saver is a flexible endowment plan that caters to a wide array of savings goals, ensuring a 100% capital guarantee if the policy is held to maturity.

Singlife Choice Saver

The Singlife Choice Saver is a flexible endowment plan that caters to a wide array of savings goals, ensuring a 100% capital guarantee if the policy is held to maturity.

Features:

  • Flexible Premium Terms: Choose from 5, 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, or 25-year premium payment terms.
  • Potential Returns: Earn up to 4.25% p.a. in non-guaranteed returns. Capital Guarantee: Receive a 100% capital guarantee upon holding the plan till maturity.
  • Maturity Payout: A lump-sum payout includes your capital and potential non-guaranteed bonuses.
  • Death, Terminal Illness, and Accidental Death Coverage: It provides a lump-sum payout in the event of death, terminal illness, or accidental death.

Policy Terms: Options range from 10 to 25 years or coverage until 99 years old.

Why Choose Singlife Choice Saver:

  • Add-on Riders: Customize your plan with add-on riders for critical illness protection and more.
  • Flexibility in Life Assured: Unique to this plan, you can alter the Life Assured to suit your or your family’s changing needs.

Considerations:

  • Non-Guaranteed Maturity Bonuses: The potential bonuses upon maturity are not guaranteed.
  • No Early Withdrawal: The plan doesn’t offer an option for early cash withdrawal.
Singlife Choice Saver

(Source: Singlife)

Best For :

The Singlife Choice Saver is best for individuals seeking flexible premium and policy term options, along with the assurance of a 100% capital return upon holding the policy until maturity.

AXA EarlySaver Plus

AXA EarlySaver Plus is designed for those with a clear vision of their future financial goals, offering guaranteed returns and flexibility in premium payment and policy terms. Whether saving for education, property, or a once-in-a-lifetime holiday, this plan positions itself as a reliable vehicle to get you there.

Features

  • Premium Payment Term: Choose between 5 or 10 years.
  • Guaranteed Returns: Secure guaranteed returns of up to 1.57% per annum.
  • Guaranteed Cash Payouts: Receive guaranteed cash payouts in the last 3 policy years, with the option to reinvest the first two payouts for a lump sum at maturity.
  • Maturity Value: Benefit from a maturity value that combines your guaranteed returns with potential bonuses for a substantial end-of-term payout.

Policy Term: Flexible options from 10 to 25 years or up to 99 years old.

Protection and Coverage:

  • Protection Coverage: Offers peace of mind with coverage against death, TPD, and terminal illness, ensuring a minimum payout of 101% of total premiums paid.
  • Accidental Death Benefit: An additional 50% benefit is payable if death occurs due to an accident.
  • Outpatient Medical Expenses: Reimbursement of certain outpatient medical expenses is included for added protection.

Why Choose AXA EarlySaver Plus:

  • Flexible Saving Period: Tailor your saving period to match your financial goals and affordability.
  • Increased Protection Coverage: Beyond saving, gain increased protection coverage for unforeseen events.
  • No Medical Underwriting: Simplified application process with guaranteed issuance upon application.

Considerations:

  • Non-Guaranteed Bonuses: While bonuses can enhance the maturity benefit, they are not guaranteed and will vary according to the future performance of the participating fund.

Best For

The AXA EarlySaver Plus is best suited for individuals looking for a flexible savings plan that offers both protection and potential investment growth, making it a solid choice for long-term financial planning and wealth accumulation.

Great Eastern GREAT Flexi Goal

GREAT Flexi Goal is tailored to support your financial aspirations at every stage of life, from starting your career to planning for retirement. It’s a regular premium endowment plan that offers potential returns and a variety of premium payment terms to help you meet your savings goals with certainty.

Features:

  • Returns: Potential returns of up to 3% p.a.* upon maturity to bolster your financial milestones.
  • Premium Payment: Choose from Limited Pay over 15 years or Full Pay over 15 or 20 years, starting from as low as S$100 per month.
  • Lump Sum Payout: A lump sum payout is provided upon maturity, capitalizing on the attractive yield to fulfill your life goals.

Policy Terms: Select between 15-year or 20-year policy terms to match your long-term financial planning.

Why Choose GREAT Flexi Goal:

  • Capital Guarantee: Your capital is 100% guaranteed at policy maturity, ensuring security for your investment.
  • Guaranteed Acceptance: The plan comes with guaranteed acceptance for coverage against Death, Total and Permanent Disability, and Terminal Illness.
Great Eastern GREAT Flexi Goal

(Source: Great Easter Life)

Best For:

The Great Eastern GREAT Flexi Goal is designed for those seeking a versatile insurance savings plan that allows for customizable premium terms and the potential for wealth accumulation, making it an excellent option for tailored financial planning and achieving specific future financial milestones.

PRUFlexicash

PRUFlexicash is a long-term insurance savings plan that offers financial flexibility along with protection coverage. Designed to help you save for future needs, it lets you enjoy yearly cash benefits or accumulate them with interest, providing a safety net for unforeseen circumstances.

Features:

  • Yearly Cash Benefit: Enjoy a Yearly Cash Benefit from the end of the second policy year, which can be used or accumulated with a non-guaranteed interest of 3% per annum.
  • Maturity Payout: Look forward to a lump sum maturity payout at the end of your policy term.
  • Supplementary Benefits: Opt for additional coverage with benefits like Accident Assist and Early Stage Crisis Waiver for more comprehensive protection.
  • Adaptability to Life Changes: Purchase a new plan without medical examination at significant life events like marriage or parenthood.

Policy Term: Choose a policy term that fits your goals, with options of 15, 20, or 25 years.

Protection and Coverage:

  • Death, TPD, and Terminal Illness: Be covered against Death, Terminal Illness, and Total and Permanent Disability with a lump sum payout of 100% of the sum assured plus any accumulated bonuses.
  • Accidental Death Benefit: An additional 50% benefit is payable in case of accidental death.

Why Choose PRUFlexicash:

  • Flexibility and Security: PRUFlexicash stands out for its flexible policy terms and the financial security it provides through guaranteed and non-guaranteed benefits.
  • Guaranteed Acceptance: Easy application process with no health check-ups required, ensuring guaranteed acceptance.
PRUFlexicash

(Source: Prudential)

Best For:

The PRUFlexicash plan is ideal for individuals looking for a flexible insurance savings option that provides periodic cash payouts, which can serve as a supplementary annual income stream, while also offering protection coverage, making it suitable for both financial growth and security.

Endowment Plans vs. Investment-Linked Plans (ILPs)

When planning for the future, understanding the differences between endowment plans and investment-linked plans (ILPs) is crucial. Endowment plans offer a more conservative investment with guaranteed values, while ILPs provide a combination of insurance protection and investment opportunities.

Feature

Endowment Plans

Investment-Linked Plans (ILPs)

Objective

Primarily for saving with a fixed term, providing guaranteed values and insurance coverage.

For investment and insurance coverage, the investment component is linked to unit trusts.

Guaranteed Values

Offer guaranteed maturity value and often guaranteed cash values.

Do not typically guarantee investment returns; value depends on the performance of the underlying funds.

Investment Component

Conservative; the insurer manages the investment, often with a portion in lower-risk fixed-income securities.

Policyholders select the funds; can range from conservative to high-risk options.

Risks

Lower risk due to guaranteed sums; less influenced by market volatility.

Higher risk as returns are subject to market fluctuations.

Flexibility

Less flexible in terms of investment choices; the focus is on savings and the long term.

Highly flexible; policyholders can usually switch funds and adjust investment strategies.

Premiums

Can be single or regular premiums; premiums are fixed.

Can be single or regular premiums; may vary based on investment choices and market conditions.

Insurance Coverage

Fixed insurance coverage amount, not directly linked to the investment performance.

Insurance coverage can vary and is often linked to the investment value of the plan.

Both endowment plans and ILPs have their merits and can be suited to different financial goals and risk appetites. It’s important to consider personal circumstances, investment knowledge, and financial objectives when choosing between the two.

Conclusion

Incorporating an endowment plan into your financial strategy can offer more than just savings; it’s a step towards securing your financial future with structured discipline. These plans not only instill a habit of regular saving but also provide the dual benefits of life coverage and potential returns. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Endowment policies promote financial discipline by integrating a structured savings approach within the monthly insurance premium payments.
  • Endowment plans offer a combination of guaranteed returns and potential non-guaranteed bonuses, providing a more predictable outcome compared to direct investment products.
  • Policies come with various term lengths, from short-term (e.g., 5-10 years) to long-term options (20 years or more), allowing individuals to choose based on their financial goals and timelines.

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