Dear CPF Board,
You are the appointed agency to manage my retirement fund, which comes from my monthly contribution from the day I started working. I had no options to self manage my fund, or to appoint better fund manager. In short, I was forced to work with you. Nonetheless, I thank you for the hard work all these years to provide me an impressive 2.5% interest on my contribution. I ought to be grateful that my money is still there. If not, don’t tell me about it. Don’t drop hints either. That is a bad habit you have acquired over the years and I am highlighting it today as feedback.
When we first began, we agreed for a complete withdrawal when I get to 55 years old. That would be more than 3 decades from my first contribution. It was an absolute peach to you. Even the worst local bank would offer me more than 2.5% for a crappy structural deposit on a 10 year term, capital guaranteed. If I use them, I would be able to do an early withdrawal my funds before maturity, albeit with a penalty charge. You could certainly do better than 2.5% for a complete lock in for no withdrawal option for 3 decades. Never mind about the yield. We are friends and it hurts our relationship if we get too calculative. That is why it is unacceptable for you to charge me an interest for any loan I take from my own money. We should give and take but unfortunately, you are the only one enjoy the taking till now.
Things turned a nasty corner when you begin to think it is rightful for you to dictate my retirement age and how to live my life. We agreed on a complete withdrawal at 55 years old at the beginning of our contract. You revised it, because you told me you cared for me. So you suggested 60, then 63 and now you are urging me to stretch my non-withdrawal to 65 years old, by giving me a bonus of $1,200 for a 2 year extension. that would amount to a total of more than 40 years of keeping my money with you. Oh, is that how things work around here? I would have offered you $12,000, to withdraw my money 20 years earlier. I would if I could, if you have the money to return me in the first place.
I must apologise for my lack of faith in you but that has been lost ever since you told me I would not be withdrawing my retirement fund at whatever age you decided, and the goal post is still shifting as we speak. Instead you told me I will receive only payouts like an unemployed working receiving handouts from Centrelink in Australia. The key difference is, the Australian Government pays the unemployed from tax receivables and the money I left with you, come from my pocket. Despite that, you think you have the right to hold a bulk of my money in which you called Minimum Sum, and even tell me I will receive no payouts if I fail to accumulate enough money beyond your Minimum Sum. Thus, I cannot help but wonder if the Minimum Sum is created to keep me alive or to keep you afloat.
Over the last 15 years, you have dropped too many hints to suggest things are not exactly in a pink of health within. I do not want to interfere with your affairs but do not make me pay for your mistakes. I entrusted my money in you because I was not given a choice. It is more than a privilege for you, an entitlement in fact. Do not abuse it. This is not a warning, just a simple advice from a friend.
By Alan Poh