Friday, December 12, 2008

'Tis The Season To Top Up?

Is CPF misrepresenting and misSelling with advertisement like this that appeared on Sunday Times.

"Save More! In today's market, CPF is the safe way to grow your money. Top-up* your and your loved ones' CPF accounts to earn up to 5% interest, risk-free.

*You can top up to the prevailing Minimum Sum of $106,000. Minimum Sum is updated annually in July. The top-up will go to the recipients' Special Account if they are below the age of 55 or their retirement account if they are 55 years or older.

Pardon my concern, but why is there no notice given that once topped up, recipients cannot withdraw their money like from a bank. Recipients can only withdraw their money in drips and draps by instalment only after age 62, 67 or 85, whatever age CPF thinks fit. CPF can change withdrawal age (shift the goalposts) anytime they like. When I was first forced to deposit in the 60's, they promised me that I could get it all at 55. When I reached 55, they told me a different story!

What I'm concern with is:
  1. This advertisement reminds me of misrepresentation and misselling which is such a hot number since the Lehman and DBS fiasco.
  2. Is the CPF so broke that it needs to advertise for more funds to be in its kitty?
  3. Has CPF gone down the slippery slope like GIC, Temasek and Town Councils in getting their hands burned with toxic investment?
  4. Is it wise of CPF to spend so much money (tens of thousand dollars) in a full page, full colour ad to attract depositors?
  5. What are the returns (ROI?) for such ads?
Is it just me being concerned about my fellow citizens being mis-sold by a "great leaders' idea" or have I touched on a "pappy knows best" unmentionable subject?

I don't know. All I know is money put in CPF is damned bloody difficult to get out. Even if I'm old, jobless and sick with major and chronic illnesses like heart attack, stroke, lipid disorder, hypertension, they only allow me to withdraw a maximum of of $300 per year for my medicines and doctors' consultation. Don't they understand that my Medisave is my hard earned money to take care of myself when I'm sick and not theirs to have and to hold or to lend it to elite borrowers to gamble away in toxic products!

Giving lucky draws to tempt aunties and uncles to top up Medisave (in previous Sunday Times) and advertisment such as above seems to show the desperation of CPF to fill their vaults with more money. For why, I'll never know.

Some may feel that CPF has the altruism of helping Singaporeans save for their retirement and old age. I don't know. If there's a kind heart, they would not charge me an additional administrative fee over and above what I need to pay for my outpatient charges and medicines. I guess they break your legs first, then they force you to walk. Since you can't walk, they charge you a fee to use their crutches. You've got no other choice.

I'm no financial or CPF expert. I'm writing based on my personal experience.



At December 12, 2008 at 6:03 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

For CPF to take out a full-page full-colored ad, obviously there must be enough people that "feel rich when looking at their 'monthly' CPF statements".

Like they said, a sucker in born every second.

At December 13, 2008 at 1:56 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Must as well put your money into the pocket of these MIW to have a good time and then screw you people up further later on . . . oh, I meant the screwings are already in motions all these years.

At December 13, 2008 at 2:07 PM , Blogger Sylvester Lim said...

We are always better off if act opposite to the wishes of the government especially one that does not really have the welfare of its citizens as its first piority. Just because of a small group of dirty old men, we get painted by the same brush and screwed. We know that this is just an excuse to hold our CPF money that the government is using as a piggybank for overseas investments and to compete with local industries.

At December 13, 2008 at 5:18 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear sick, jobless old men,

Government allowing $300 max to be withdrawn a year from CPF for consultations and medicines IS FOR YOUR OWN GOOD.

- we are helping you save money by not seeing the doctor UNNECESSARILY. Best is to visit polyclinic doctors. Polyclinic doctors whom we hire from 3rd world countries ARE VERY GOOD AND CHEAP.

- we prevent you from being taken in by fancy marketing and spend your money unnecessarily on BRANDED drugs. Basic unbranded generic medicines are good enough.

- we are helping you plan your finances. We don't want you to run out of money for treatment before you die.

- we want to help you leave some money for your children when you die. If no next of kin, we will help you donate your CPF to the country so that this money can be used to help others. Help you do some good!

I hope that above reasons will convince you that IT IS FOR YOUR OWN GOOD.

You might ask then, if nobody buy those branded drugs, visit professional doctors, then won't the healthcare economy of Singapore be affected?

Don't worry, we will sacrifice ourselves by using the branded drugs and top doctors.

At December 14, 2008 at 5:33 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

CPF is the worst place to put your money. Period.

At December 15, 2008 at 2:54 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obviously not many people are topping up hence the need to advertise so loudly. In my humble opinion, for that long stretch of time they are keeping your money, 5% is not the best return.

At December 17, 2008 at 9:09 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

After reading about the Ponzi Scheme of Bernard Madoff, as well as other pension scheme breaking apart, the CPF scheme sounds just as scary. No formal reports of returns, everything is hush hush. What is the returns of GIC? What invesments? How much has been lost and written off in USA properties? (I understand GIC is a big investor.) Is Town council just the tip of the iceberg?

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