Sunday, January 24, 2010

Does our CPF saving belong to us ?

I have this feeling that our CPF saving is not really our money, as we have no say in how much we can withdraw, what we do with it and even when we can withdraw it.

At least when we put our money in the bank, if it is a fix deposit account, we know the period we cannot withdraw in order to get the full interest rate. We have the choice to withdraw the full amount at the end of the deposit period.

With CPF, the time line is always shifting...55 to 62 to 65 to 67. Will it be extended further? Your guess is as good as mind...sigh ! Even how much we can withdraw at 55 is changing from 50% ..40%..30%..and finally to zero. Yes - ZERO. The compulsory minimum sum and the endless number of compulsory schemes are perpetually increasing, while the withdrawal limit is continuously decreasing till it becomes totally no withdrawal at 55. All our retirement fund will be used to purchased CPF Life.

There are so many 'compulsory' requirements attached to CPF scheme that make one feels we are borrowers instead of owners of our CPF money.

For those of us that don't live long enough (ok accidents do happen, right?) - we are make to save hard with no chance to enjoy the fruit of our labour.

If banks have the same restrictive and forever changing regulations like CPF, I am sure all of us would rather put our money under the pillows instead. At least money under the pillow is one's money and we can do what we like with it.

Money in CPF just does not feel like it belongs to us at all. Wonder why all of us is taking all these craps for so many years. We are really a whole bunch of tolerant citizens or is it because the CPF system is so complicated it needs too much effort to comprehend ? A stress out society like ours just rather not bother ?

If any bank imposes similar policies as CPF Board to our fund - it would be deemed illegal. For example, our term deposit at the bank is extended to another few years without our approval upon maturity and we are deny the option of drawing it out. Then the bank uses it to purchase into some insurance scheme without our approval. But the irony is this is exactly what CPF is doing and it is perfectly legal, as it is back by the law ! Basically we do not have a choice, the board make all the decision for us. Sigh !

The funny thing is the govt is trying to 'appease' those affected by dangling carrot in terms of 'bonus'. But this is just taking money from the left hand and giving it back to the right. Bonus are funds from CPF members' contribution and/or tax payers' money. So why are people so easily appease, when it actually comes from their own 'pocket' in a way ?

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