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8 Apr 2022


CPF staff Matthew presenting in front of a camera

Worried that you’re not financially ready for retirement? CPF staff Matthew answers your burning questions about saving for retirement, and provides some personal tips on how he grows his retirement fund.

Q1. Can you explain what the Retirement Account is?

Matthew: When you reach age 55, a brand-new Retirement Account (RA) will be created for you. The monies in your Special Account (SA) and your Ordinary Account (OA) will be transferred to the RA up to the Full Retirement Sum (FRS). With this retirement sum, you can join CPF LIFE which will provide you with a monthly payout from age 65 no matter how long you live.

Find out how the retirement sums are determined.

Q2. How much money do I need to save now in order to be able to enjoy retirement earlier? I am in my 30s now.

M: If you are already working and regularly contributing to your CPF, rest assured that you’re already on your way to a basic income for retirement. For those who want more, you can top up your SA and aim to hit your FRS as early as you can.


Learn about CPF LIFE and how to get the payouts you want based on your desired retirement lifestyle.

Q3. Is it encouraged to voluntarily add money into our CPF account?

M: Many people like myself are already doing it. In 2020, CPF members topped up $3 billion into their CPF accounts. More than one-third of them were actually doing it for the first time. When you top up your CPF, you can earn high interest to boost your savings.

(Update: More than $4 billion in top-ups were made in 2021, with more than half doing it for the first time.)

Find out more about CPF top-ups.

Q4. When is it a good time to top up my CPF?

M: Anytime is a good time, but it’s good to start young. You allow compound interest to have a longer period to grow your savings. If you’re doing a yearly top-up, you should top up early in January instead of December. By doing so, you can earn up to 20% more interest in just 10 years.

Learn more about why you should make cash top-ups earlier in the year.

Q5. Is it wise to transfer funds from OA to SA?

M: It depends. If you’re not using your OA for housing, you can transfer your OA to SA to earn higher interest. For me personally, I did not transfer the monies in my OA as it is already earning an interest of 2.5% per annum. I would top up cash into my SA instead as the monies in my bank account is not earning much interest. This way, the interest gained will be higher.

Top up your retirement savings for higher payouts.

Q6. When and how much of my CPF can I withdraw? Will it always have to be locked in or can I tap on it freely for my future needs?

M: The monies in your CPF account can be used for various purposes such as housing or healthcare. When you reach age 55, you can also withdraw your SA and OA as long as you set aside your FRS. For those who want to withdraw more, you can withdraw your RA above your Basic Retirement Sum (BRS) if you have a property. When you reach the age of 65, you can withdraw 20% of your RA savings.

So, should I withdraw?

M: You shouldn’t withdraw for the sake of it at age 55. You can leave your savings in your CPF account to earn attractive interest. As and when you need it, you can withdraw it via PayNow which will reach your account almost instantly.

Read to understand how to make a retirement withdrawal, and how it impacts your retirement income and future payouts.

Q7. Finally, any tips for young Singaporeans on saving up for retirement?

It’s easy to tell ourselves so long as we continue make more money each year, we will eventually have enough for retirement. But the reality is if you don’t start saving up for retirement, you might wake up one day and realise that you’re much closer to retirement than you thought. My advice is to start saving early and stay on top of your finances.

Information is accurate as of 08/04/2022