Turning 55 is a major milestone in Singapore. If we haven’t already figured out that retirement is on the cusp, CPF does a marvellous job of reminding us by creating a new Retirement Account (RA) for us and transferring our Ordinary Account (OA) and Special Account (SA) balances into it.
For many of us, turning 55 will also be the first time we get to withdraw cash from our CPF accounts. The question is – just how much can we withdraw?
#1 Everyone Can Withdraw At Least $5,000 From Their CPF Once They Turn 55
Regardless of how much we have accumulated in our CPF accounts, we can withdraw at least $5,000 from our CPF OA and SA accounts when we turn 55. Of course, if we have less than $5,000 in our CPF accounts, then we will just be able to withdraw whatever we have in our CPF accounts.
We aren’t required to withdraw this money. If we want to leave it in CPF, it will compound at 4% per annum in our Retirement Account. We can withdraw a partial amount if we want, or even multiple smaller amounts with no restrictions on the frequency or amounts we want to withdraw.
This is the base case for everyone. If we have more CPF savings, we may also able to withdraw more than $5,000 from our CPF at age 55, depending on whether we are able to save our retirement sum.
Can We Withdraw More Than $5,000 From Our CPF At 55?
#2 If We Have Saved More Than The Full Retirement Sum (FRS)
The first thing to bear in mind is that our Full Retirement Sum (FRS) is $186,000 if we turn 55 in 2021. There are also two main ways that we can save more than the FRS (for example $200,000) in our CPF accounts. Below are two scenarios for Person A and Person B:
|CPF OA And SA Balances||Full Retirement Sum (FRS)||Mandatory Contributions||Retirement Sum Topping Up (RSTU) Scheme|
|Person A: $200,000||$186,000||$200,000||$0|
|Person B: $200,000||$186,000||$50,000||$150,000|
Person A has accumulated $200,000 entirely with mandatory contributions from working. Meanwhile, Person B, who also has $200,000 accumulated $50,000 through mandatory contributions while the remaining $150,000 was from the Retirement Sum Topping Up (RSTU) Scheme.
Person A can withdraw anything above the Full Retirement Sum (FRS) – which is $14,000 ($200,000-$186,000). Person B, can also withdraw $14,000 ($200,000-$186,000).
#3 If We Only Want To Save The Basic Retirement Sum (BRS)
If we only want to save the BRS – by pledging our property – in our Retirement Account, we can withdraw more from our CPF accounts.
|CPF OA And SA Balances||Basic Retirement Sum (FRS)||Mandatory Contributions||Retirement Sum Topping Up (RSTU) Scheme|
|Person A: $200,000||$93,000||$200,000||$0|
|Person B: $200,000||$93,000||$50,000||$150,000|
|Person C: $100,000||$93,000||$100,000||$0|
|Person D: $100,000||$93,000||$50,000||$50,000|
|Person E: $50,000||$93,000||$50,000||$0|
Let’s start with the simplest outcome – Person E who only has $50,000 in their OA and SA, will only be able to withdraw $5,000 from their CPF account. This means $45,000 goes into their Retirement Account.
Person C and Person D only has $100,000 in their CPF accounts. Under normal circumstances, they would only be able to withdraw $5,000 from their CPF accounts (because they don’t have the FRS saved).
Person C has accumulated $100,000 entirely from their mandatory contributions. They will be able to withdraw $7,000 ($100,000-$93,000) from their CPF accounts if they are able to pledge their property.
Person D has also accumulated $100,000, however, only $50,000 came from their mandatory contributions and another $50,000 came from their RSTU contributions. Person D will not be able to withdraw anything above $5,000.
This is because monies topped up via the RSTU was primarily for the purpose of enhancing a person’s retirement adequacy, and which also possibly earned them tax deductions. On the CPF website, it states that while top-up monies form our retirement sum (which is why we can withdraw any above our FRS), it will not be “taken into account in computing how much RA savings can be withdrawn in cash for property owners” (which is why we cannot withdraw top-up monies by saving the BRS).
Person A can withdraw $107,000 ($200,000-$93,000) from their CPF account if they opt to save the BRS.
Person B, who also has $200,000 will not be able to withdraw anything more than the $14,000 above the FRS. Again, this is because only $50,000 of mandatory contribution flowed into their Retirement Account, which is less than the $93,000 BRS.
Should We Perform RSTU Or Transfer Monies From OA to SA?
Any monies we top up to our CPF via the RSTU build our retirement sum. This way, we can create a bigger retirement nest egg, while having the option to withdraw anything above the FRS once we turn 55.
This means reaching the FRS early in our lives is crucial to snowballing the amount by earning at least 4% interest on our SA monies.
However, we cannot use the RSTU monies to withdraw more from our Retirement Account by opting to save the BRS. This does not apply to monies transferred to our SA from our OA, as it is still considered as mandatory contributions into our CPF.
When deciding to leverage on the schemes available by CPF, we need to bear these things in mind. However, we also need to acknowledge that we are trying to build a greater retirement nest egg, rather than constantly or only thinking about gaming the system.
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