Written Answer by Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister for Manpower, to Parliamentary Question on CPF withdrawals at age 55
NOTICE PAPER NO. 1197 OF 2018 FOR THE SITTING ON 10 JUL
QUESTION NO. 871 FOR WRITTEN ANSWER
MP: GAN THIAM POH
To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) how many Singaporeans and permanent residents (PRs), in terms of numbers and percentages respectively, did not apply to withdraw $5,000 or more from their CPF accounts upon reaching the age of 55; (b) how many have left more than the minimum sum required in their CPF accounts; and (c) how many PRs have withdrawn and cancelled their CPF accounts, in terms of number and percentage of the total number of PRs, for the past 10 and 20 years respectively.
As of end 2017, 42% of those who turned age 55 in 2016 did not withdraw any CPF monies within a year of their 55th birthday. This includes the first $5,000 from the Ordinary and Special Accounts (OA and SA) which members can withdraw unconditionally, monies above their cohort Full Retirement Sum, as well as monies above Basic Retirement Sum which can be withdrawn using property charge or pledge. For those who did withdraw, the majority, about 6 in 10 members, withdrew up to $5,000.
For the same cohort, about 53% of active members met their Full Retirement Sum in cash and pledge at age 55 in 2016 (i.e., able to set aside the Full Retirement Sum fully in cash, or met Basic Retirement Sum in cash and provided sufficient property pledge or charge). Of this group, about 5 in 10 left additional funds in their CPF Ordinary or Special Accounts. Based on our observations, members do so because they have no immediate need of the money, or they wish to take advantage of the higher CPF risk-free interest rates.
From 2013 to 2017, an annual average of 13,500 CPF members, or 0.4% of total CPF members, withdrew their CPF monies when they left Singapore. This includes former Singapore Citizens (SC), former Permanent Residents (PR) and foreigners who contributed to the CPF before 2003. Former SC and PR members can leave their monies in the CPF after they have given up their Singapore citizenship or permanent residency. CPFB does not track the number of former SC and PR members who choose to retain their monies in the CPF.