Friday, August 31, 2007

That wonderful CPF scheme....

What the British left us, the PAP govt improved tremedously. CPF was created in 1955 when Singapore was a British colony. It was a simple idea - save part of you income so that you will be able to retire comfortably. The British also introduced the idea of pension schemes that was implemented in the civil service and many Singapore companies. What the British did, the PAP improved. Pension schemes have been eliminated for ordinary citizens but is still in place for Ministers & Admin service officers...although our elites make more in one year than what ordinary Singaporeans make in a lifetime, they need a pension scheme to reduce their painful sacrifice. Allowing ordinary Singaporeans to have a pension scheme would have undermined their work ethics and make them think of retiring before their seventies.

The simple CPF scheme the British left us has been transformed into a complicated masterpiece that serve many purposes. When the Singapore economy went into recession in 1987 and 1998, the CPF was cut to get keep companies profitable. When HDB wanted to raise prices and had keep housing affordable, the CPF was liberalised for housing. When the govt wanted to kick start the fund management industry, CPF was liberalised for investments in unit trusts - only recently did the govt realised it needs to rein in the high management cost these funds were charging CPF investors. It was also liberalised for buying stocks so that Singaporeans so that the govt can privatise its state owned enterprises successfully. CPF is also used for to pay for your medical bills which have been escalating for the past 10 years. As the govt increased tuition fees in tertiary institutions, it allowed CPF to be used to pay for children's education.

The British created the CPF for the single purpose of making sure Singaporeans can retire comfortably. It is the genius of the PAP that made CPF what it is today - the PAP realised that the CPF is not just about retirement...Singaporeans can always be convinced to work harder and longer - retirement is not a problem because many Singaporeans will die working and never retire....so there is this problem of excess CPF funds for which the PAP have found creative uses. Singaporeans are indeed lucky to be able to lead long productive working lives unlike citizens of other countries who waste away their time looking after their grandchildren or strolling in the park.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

CPF is just one of those things that makes Singapore suck. If the goverment cannot trust me to save for myself, then I have no reason to trust them either. Why should I trust them with my money to begin with? There's no transparency at all; if they were so good why don't they show us their accounts?

Imagine at age 62 your dad is still telling you how to save/use your money. It's my money let me fucking do what I want with it.

I definitely want to leave this place for a welfare state.

Anonymous said...

The CPF $$ is for the govt to tweak & play because this is your booty that you cannot lay your hands on. All you can do is suck thumb & curse every now & then they introduce scam schemes like longevity insurances.

The taxpayer's $$ is for them to play with to send their children, their grandchildren etc for overseas studies (at MIT, Ivies) in the name of scholarsheeps. Interest-free $$$.

Lao Lee to All: What can you do?

Capt_Canuck said...

you should feel honoured that your gov't allows for you to use your retirement funds for things that are not retirement. Here in Canada, we have our federal pension that is taken off our pay cheques every time (think it is something like 10% of our pay or something) and that money can not be touched til we reach 60 or so and then we have to apply for it and based on how long you worked, you get a fixed income back. We can not take that money and use it to pay for housing at 35, or education at 40 or the like.

To do that sort of thing, Canadians actually have to do RRSPs (Registered Retirement Savings Programs) to enhance our retirement money income.

I couldnt imagine our Canadian gov't actually forcing us to save more than 10% of our pay. That would mean that our gov't cares for our retirement and our future. Obviously, Singapore gov't has the peoples interest at heart, not like the careless evil Canadian gov't that basically lets people fail and starve in their old age.

Anonymous said...

I think we should make a movie called

Transformers, more then meets the eye!

Anonymous said...

I think the CPF is a good thing after all.

It helps us in our life cycle.

1) Work
2) use CPF for partial payment of home
3) Become jobless or take a pay cut

4) sell home or downgrade

5) eventually run out of funds

6) seek pubic assistance or end up collecting tin cans from rubbish bins

7) Appear as spokesman thanking the monetary assistance and system in place

8) Then sell your soul.

Cheers
It's a wonderul life!

Anonymous said...

hello capt canuck, if you refer to http://www.citymayors.com/economics/richest_cities.html, you'd find after tax wage indexes as follows:

toronto 80.4
montreal 77.3
singapore 38.9

you guys earn double what we earn. 10% is small change for you. take that away and your disposable income is still significantly higher than ours. furthermore, that 10% buys you lots of freebies like medical care which we have to pay with our pockets.

trulysingapore.wordpress.com

Ned Stark said...

The CPF scheme apparently was the brain child of David Marshall.

http://ourstory.asia1.com.sg/independence/ref/david.html

Capt_Canuck said...

Anon 10:33am

See that only proves that your gov't really really cares about your future retirement savings. They are willing to take that money from you, put it in trust in your name and then allow you to use it towards housing or future education. Canadian gov'ts simply say "screw them, if they dont have the brains to save, then they can eat cat food in their old age". Obviously, Singapore politicians are more caring.

Anonymous said...

Hi captz_canuck,

Based on the National Union’s Pensions Manual (Fourth Edition), the main components of Canada’s public pension system are three publicly administered programs: the Old Age Security program, the Guaranteed Income Supplement and the Canada Pension Plan. The first 2 programs together will guarantee a single elderly a minimum of CAD1,100 per month while a couple a minimum of CAD1,900 per month in retirement pensions.

Even without taking into account the benefits from the Canadian Pension Plan, these payouts equate to the PPP of SGD1,100 and SGD1,900 respectively (using the Big Mac Index).

Thus
1) Seems like Canadians are getting more bang for the buck if they are contributing 10% of their pay checks into pension (which you had stated) while we Singaporeans contribute 20%.

2) Even taking into our own context, I am certainly won't be having a diet of cat food if I am on a $1,100 per month pension (which coincidentally i shigher than the SGD700 payout I am getting on the CPF minimum sum).

Cheers

Link to the National Union’s Pensions Manual (Fourth Edition)
http://www.hsaa.ca/index_html/overview_canada_public_pension_system_backgrounder_3.pdf

Anonymous said...

Capt_Canuck, you see, when the govt takes away 20% of your money and says it is for your own good, he forgets to tell you that it benefits him even more. You see, if you dump 20% of your money into say an index fund, by the time you retire, that fund would have multiplied by a lot more than the 4% we have been getting.

Capt_Canuck said...

But...the logic then makes no sense. Canadians have an uncaring gov't that takes little money for retirement and then makes Canadians do their own work and make their own decisions and Canadians can't elect a solid political party and we are in chaos and turmoil everytime there is an election. We have a minority gov't right now where no political party has a majority of the seats (meaning we cant decide which party is best).

Singapore has a bad (from what I am gathering) retirement plan and yet everyone elects the PAP into power again and again, no one rebels, no one protests, no one actually does anything to stop the problem. Figured with NS, all Singaporean men would be trained in leadership, plan execution and decision making tactics.

must be one of those things that us caucasians just don't understand about the superior Asian cultures.

Anonymous said...

Lucky says : The simple CPF scheme the British left us has been transformed into a complicated masterpiece that serve many purposes.

Ah, how true. You see if they cant convince, they will confuse; so very few dares to question the whole thing.

The so-called nest egg that Singaporeans have toiled to save for their old age has over the years become PAP's source of revenue to run its many GLCs, not least Temasek and GIC.

Nobody knows for sure how they are doing. All we know is that S & P had given Temasek a 5 stars ratings.

Note here that S & P had come under criticism by Europe for over-rating certain financial institutions in the recent subprime debacle that rocked the global stock markets.

You can also read from Wikipedia that "18% year-on-year since 1974. This single year return was quite controversial as the average return over its 30-year history is only around 3%"

All these figures however conflicitng are said to be way below industry standard.

The said 3% was not disputed in a reply by Temasek when a reader cited it sometime back in the papers.

What we know for sure is that Shin Corp has lost about 40% of its value since multi-billion dollar buyover by Temasek in March last year.

You can check this up at : http://www.shincorp.com/SI/templateSIen.asp

On top of this, GIC is also splurging big money over the world. For instance, just a few months back it bought a 4 or 5-storey commercial building in London for close to S$1.5 billion.

Like that, any wonder that the government is having a cash flow problem.

PAP thought and still thinks it is so capable of making money but the profit figures of Temasek just goes to show how pathetically inefficient it is.

As for GIC, it is top secret in there. CSJ tried to compare it with old NKF and ended up having his already weak party practically demolished through lawsuits from LKY.

With the CPF monies tied up in its ventures, poor Singaporeans would have to struggle to help their govt keeps its GLCs running.

While in other countries the state looks after the people, in Singapore it is the other way round. This is state welfare Singapore-style. Welfare for the state, lah.

Those who understand this harsh and shocking fact and have a chance to emigrate and take up citizenship in another country, better consider seriously, because you can then withdraw all your CPF.

I believe many have done so and I believe they can still come back live here as PRs if they like it.

As a sidenote, I wish to reply to captain canuck's latest comment that:

"Singapore has a bad (from what I am gathering) retirement plan and yet everyone elects the PAP into power again and again, no one rebels, no one protests, no one actually does anything to stop the problem."

Well you wont understand the situation until you become a citizen here. It is not that Singaporeans are really a bunch of wimps.

Read the Singaporean blogs and postings over the Internet and you will know that about 90% are shooting down the PAP all the time.

As for why the opposition and critics cannot make a dent, the reason is very simple and it had for some strange reason been repeatedly said to me by many a taxi-drivers at one time: "Singapore is a very small place and therefore it is easy to control."

When someone appears like a threat to PAP, it is easy to demolish him or her politically. Look at JBJ, CSJ and TLH (Tan Liang Hong).

If on the other hand you dont come on too aggressively, PAP will not feel threatened. But it is precisely such more mild people like Low Thia Khiang that may eventually do PAP in.

And the mass media has also been intimidated. But inspite of this facile situation for PAP dictatorship you will still hear from critics who dare to say it like it is.

It is a very tight situation here simply because it is such a small place.

Anonymous said...

Capt_Canuck, it'll start to make sense if you realise that most people only see up to the point you saw. You saw our caring govt judiciously helping us to save for our old age without seeing that they are profiteering at the same time.

That is why ...

LuckySingaporean said...

capt_canuck,

Now you see the perils of not having the type of elections conducted by the PAP..? You end up with a indecisive minority govt. In Singapore the govt of the day would have offered estate upgrading and stayed in power.

Singapore has an outstanding retirement play as long as people don't retire (too early). The canadian style of giving out pensions and guaranteed income can only drain govt coffers and reserves. Using the citizens' money to help them with old age is a ridiculous idea that only caucasians are willing to endure...that explains why Singaporeans love their PAP govt.

Our reserves and citizens' money can used for exciting investments such as loss making Chinese airlines (http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/bizch
ina/2007-09/03/content_6075027.htm)

while citizens are asked to work as long as they are alive.

Anonymous said...

TIMESONLINE August 27, 2007 http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/banking_and_finance/article2332299.ece

"Temasek, the Singapore investment vehicle that has emerged as a possible buyer of Nasdaq’s stake in the London Stock Exchange (LSE), has lost £150 million on its investment in Barclays in the space of a month."

That's S$461 billion. For a much larger country like the US, even 30% of that would have created an uproar.

At that rate, what do you think of Singapore's future?

PAP politicians probably think the sky's the limit for Temasek ventures.

Just that it is not the sky that they are dealing with but the taxpayer money and people's CPF.

If they cant run a profitable business, do they have the good sense to change tack now?

Methink they would rather bring the whole nation down than lose their pride.

That's PAP.

sohcool said...

I lived in France since 4 years. I used to explain to the french our amazing CPF system. Like what Capt_Canuck said, I was having the impression that it was a good thing.
However, I have been converted now. I benefit more from the french system. I do not pay for my medicial bills. If I am retrenched, I will have help from the govt. In Singapore, $200++ per month for really really poor people is not enough at all. Over here, you get about 75% of your last pay each month for a certain period. Of course every govt can do more to help its citizens. In France, I feel that more help is given than in Singapore. In Sg, we just work work work and if retrenched, we get nothing. I have friends from MOM and IDA having these treatments.

Anonymous said...

According to this IMF pageLINK
Singapore national reserves stands at US$144 billion or S$220 billion.

But why is there a note next to the title that "(Information to be disclosed by the monetary authorities and other central government, excluding social security)".

This is because our reserve assets (national reserves) factors in social security i.e. CPF savings which actually belongs to individual Singaporeans.

CPF savings consitutes easily 70% or more the so-called Singapore reserve assets.

LKY goes around promoting his Kuan Yew School of Public Policy to other countries.

Does he teach the world that a nation's reserve assets are to include the personal savings of the citizens?

So PAP boasts to the world it is so successful given its high reserve assets.

This looks very misleading especially given that now the people's hard earned CPF savings are being increasingly locked up by PAP.

It is one big bubble PAP is blowing and I fear it may eventually burst to the misery of all.

Anonymous said...

Jesus Christ PAP,

The link is here:
http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/
banking_and_finance/article2332299.ece

"Temasek could not be reached for comment."
"The Singaporean's $$$ could not be reached at 62."

No such news issued by Spore Inc, Temasek to every Singapore citizen. Citizen must get this "statement" from foreign news. Citizen only get notification statement to report to CMPB/IPPT. What-else?

A common stance of PAP, hoard your $$$ and diam diam, act blur (feign not knowing what's happening).

Anonymous said...

at the rate this is going, they need to build more casinos to finance their worldwide gamble.

'Barclays falls to earth'
http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/
banking_and_finance/article2367242.ece

That's literally
"small gamble snowballing into BIG gamble."

Anonymous said...

do businessmen have cpfs too?

Anonymous said...

I suppose we should always think positive about the CPF savings but the late President Ong Teng Cheong called a press conference just before he stepped down.

He told reporters that our CPF monies were accounted for in terms of the value of the state land.

Where is the money? If it is invested in GLCs, the money should exists in terms of their assets or capitalization.

But the fact that MOF had to factor in the value of state land probably gave the President the worry, given that he was in charge of the national reserves.

Obviously not to leave behind a bad name, he had to tell Singaporeans about this serious discrepancy.

Whenever I mention this incident to friends, typically they just display a strange quiet reflectiveness - a sign of hidden concern and powerlessness to do anything about it.

More transparency is needed about the status of our CPF but the PAP is apparently far from forthcoming.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of state land, there's something that always puzzles me. HDB bought farmlands in Choa Chu Kang, Seng Kang and the like for $1 and built hundreds of thousands of flats at $200,000 each. They should be making tons of money right? How come their income statements show losses after losses each year?

Appreciate any kind, brilliant soul out there could enlighten me ...

Anonymous said...

Hi Lucky

$250 per month is a rounding error for you and CPF monies ... pretty sure u can afford to write it off (if not already done so).

I would be more worried about the concern from Minister Cow (that you may prefer to die at home VS getting medial attention at hospital) if I were you. Oh and I believe ho$pice is not covered by insurance.

NoName

Anonymous said...

THIS WHOLE CPF THING IS A SCAM BY THE PAP AND LAO LEE TO SUCK MONEY OF US.

I HOPE THEY BURN IN HELL

Anntonii said...

The insignificant rates CPF is gaining only make it more painful....

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