Here Are Some Tips to Help You Optimize Your CPF Savings
1. Voluntary Top Up Your Special Account (SA)
Since you can earn up to 5% interest per year (or up to 6 percent interest per annum after age 55), topping up your SA is a must-do way to grow your retirement savings.
You can either top up using cash or transfer from your Ordinary Account (OA) to SA. Once you reached the Full Retirement Sum (FRS – $186,000 in 2021), you cannot top up anymore.
If you top up your SA early in the year (rather than at the end), you’ll give your money an entire year to work for you.
When you turn 55, your CPF savings in SA followed by OA will be transferred into the newly created Retirement Account (RA).
Some individuals will leave $40,000 (minimum amount required) in their SA and use the remaining to invest temporarily short term safe investment product before they turn 55.
Assuming the FRS is $186k (for 2021), $40k from your SA and $146k from your OA will be transferred to your new RA when you reach the age of 55.
You can then liquidate your short-term investment, and the amount invested, plus any gains (if any), will be returned to your SA. You will continue to enjoy the 4% p.a. interest rate.
2. Cash Payment for Monthly Housing Loan Instead of Using OA
Though you can use your OA savings to pay your monthly housing loan installment, it may be more prudent to pay your loan in full or in part with cash.
Consider this: if you hadn’t used the money in your OA, it would have earned CPF interest.
Know that your OA savings can be used to pay your monthly housing loan installments in times of need, and that your OA savings will compound faster over time if cash is used for monthly instalments instead.
If you choose to pay your mortgage in cash and are unable to do so for any reason, you can switch back to using your OA savings and access the funds you have set aside there.
If you have extra money that isn’t being used for monthly expenses or investments, consider using it to pay off your mortgage.
3. Make Small but Regular CPF Top up
Topping up does not have to be done all at once. You can still make small but consistent top-ups.
You can consider allocating a small portion of your monthly salary to your CPF account via auto-transfer.
For example, you don’t have to add $6,000 to your SA all at once. Instead, divide it into twelve $500 payments over the course of a year.
Small steps but with a big impact.
4. Top Up Your Medisave Account (MA)
When planning your finances, it’s critical to save enough money for healthcare expenses, especially since they’re likely to rise as you get older.
Increasing your MediSave contribution allows you to grow your savings for healthcare needs at a rate of up to 5% per year.
The difference between the CPF Annual Limit of $37,740 ($6k x 17 months’ x 37%) and the mandatory CPF contributions made for the calendar year is the maximum amount of voluntary contributions you can make.
Furthermore, you can only top up your MediSave account up to the Basic Healthcare Sum (BHS). Once you reached the BHS, any contribution to your MA will be transferred to your SA or OA.
5. Start A Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS) Account
According to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), the “Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS) is a voluntary scheme to encourage individuals to save for retirement, over and above their CPF savings. Contributions to SRS are eligible for tax relief. Investment returns are tax-free before withdrawal and only 50% of the withdrawals from SRS are taxable at retirement.”
The criteria to open this account and more information can be found at the IRAS website.
For now, the SRS accounts are managed by DBS Group Holdings Ltd, OCBC and UOB. You may approach the banks to open an SRS account and begin your contribution.
Despite their simplicity, optimizing your CPF savings now with just one of these hacks can help you retire with more money. Use these hacks and plan for your retirement.
Contact us if you need more information for financial planning.