A growing number of Singaporeans are topping up their mothers' Central Provident Fund accounts.
The number of mothers who received CPF top-ups from their children has leapt by about 60 per cent over the past three years, according to the CPF Board. It hit 9,887 last year, up from 6,159 in 2008.
About $50 million worth of top-ups to mothers was made in 2008, but by last year, the amount had grown to $75.5 million.
These top-ups are done via the CPF's Minimum Sum Topping-Up Scheme, which lets Singaporeans add money to their own or their loved ones' CPF accounts.
The number of mothers receiving top-ups is more than twice that of fathers. Nearly 10,000 mothers got top-ups last year, compared with almost 4,500 fathers.
The reasons are not known but financial advisers say this could be because mothers live longer or that fathers are likely to have been working for longer.
In terms of the topping-up transactions, those for parents made up almost six in 10 of the 38,200 topping-up transactions made under the scheme last year.
A woman will get monthly CPF payouts when she reaches a certain age, which varies from 60 to 65 depending on her birth year.
The amount she gets each month works out to at least $297 regardless of whether she has reached the Minimum Sum, which currently stands at $131,000. It is higher than $297 if she has more money in her account.
The payouts continue until her CPF balance is used up. One recipient, 91-year-old Teng Ah Gerk, told The Sunday Times: 'I feel more comfortable because for the next seven or eight years I'll have a steady stream of pocket money.'
She saves most of her monthly CPF payout of $297, but draws out $1,000 for red packets every Chinese New Year.
Madam Teng lives with her only son, insurance agent Lim Kok Hwa, 51, who has been topping up $7,000 to Madam Teng's CPF account for the past five years.
'At least if anything happens to me, she can continue to get the money,' Mr Lim said.
Madam Koh Chwee Geok, 68, also gets $7,000 in her CPF account every year from her son, 43-year-old engineer Lee Leng Kok, who has been making top-ups since 2004.
Madam Koh, who is working as a casual worker at the market to keep active, said she saves her monthly CPF payouts since she gets enough cash from her children to get by.
In all, Mr Lee has put in $56,000 so far and plans to keep giving until his mother's CPF account reaches the Minimum Sum which he reckons will happen in 'a few years' time'.
One major consideration for both sons was that the interest rate for CPF savings was much higher than the rate offered by banks. Bank savings accounts earn in the region of 0.05 per cent to 0.1 per cent a year.
In contrast, the CPF gives up to 5 per cent annual interest on the first $60,000 of CPF savings, subject to a cap of $20,000 on the Ordinary Account.
'As a contributor, we also benefit from the tax saving,' Mr Lee said. Singaporeans who use the scheme can get tax relief of up to $7,000 per calendar year if they use cash to make the top-ups for their loved ones, subject to criteria.
'Other than treating her to a good meal, or a nice gift, one can also consider contributing to the parent's CPF account as her (Mother's Day) gift,' Mr Lee added.
'I don't think it should be restricted to Mother's Day since the contribution can be done at any time of the year. But if one needs the reminder to make the contribution, then why not?'
Additional reporting by Gan Yu Jia