Friday, February 15, 2008

I hope Refund-80 is enough for McDonald's Happy Meals!

The first batch of people living on minimum sum + CPF Life under the Refund 80 will be getting $610 per month. The 1st batch on this scheme will hit 65 in 10 years time and 80 in 25 years time.

A Happy Meal today costs $4.60 with inflation running at 3-5% in 15 years time, the Happy Meal will cost about $10. To live on 3 Happy Meals a day will cost $30 per day and $900 per month. $610 is not enough for 3 Happy Meals a day. Of course you can opt to eat something else and stretch your money....this is just an example to give you a feel of the buying power of $610.

Actually, CPF Life is very interesting - it is so flexible, you can almost avoid the annuities scheme by opting for Refund 90. Refund 90 simply stretches the minimum sum in your RA until you reach 90. The annuities kick in when you reach 90 and you pay for this with only 6% of your minimum sum. The 6% is refundable but you forego the interest on that amount - the interest is used to fund annuities scheme.

Locking up the minimum sum so that it earns a nominal interest of 3% only guarantees inadequecy at the point of retirement. Almost all other govts that have retirement schemes take up the challenge of investing the money for higher returns and giving it back to citizens when they retire. Be it the Malaysian EPF scheme (4.5-8%)or the Indian version which returns 9.5% or the Norwegian one (6.5%) or Calpers (8.9%) or the Chilean retirement scheme (10%) govts running retirement funds understand the importance of beating inflation to provide adequate retirement funds for the people who put their hardearned money in their care. In Singapore things are different. It is easier to tell our old folks to live with less, work longer and eat 2 Happy Meals a day instead of 3. Work ethics and thriftyness among ordinary citizens can always overcome inadequacy. As for higher returns, the GIC borrows your CPF funds at the 3% nominal rate, invests to make an average 6% or higher then keep the extra. Now you see why your govt deserves to be paid the highest pay in the world? They are really smart at making money.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

Think of it as membership fees for holding a pink IC lah.

You realise that all these is caused by the very same morons whose cause you are trying to champion?

The paradox is that the only solution is to massively import enough self-serving FT-turn-citizens (who fights for their rights) to cancel out the locals.

Depressing?

NoName

Anonymous said...

Some 15 years ago, Tony Tan boasted in Parliament that the CPF was the best invention after the wheel and no one should critique it.

Lee Kuan Yew blew hot and cold in one of his arrogant brainwashing National Day Rallies recounting that a foreign asset management company claimed it could deliver far better returns for our CPF monies. He angrily insisted PAP was very capable to manage the fund.

Now they are eating back their words.

After 4 long decades of CPF simple savings plan, they just discovered it has failed. What a world-class government!

The other story is this:

PAP had been using our monies to invest through Temasek and GIC and thereby also enables PAP to built a secondary powerbase beyond the PAP proper, one filled with its supporters.

Instead of opening the CPF funds to insurers and other asset management companies, PAP needs the CPF funds to remain in its grip at all times.

Otherwise that secondary powerbase which have proved to be less than competent might simply collapse through lack of cheap loan.

Anonymous said...

The payout from this annuity thingy won't be enough for 3 Mac Happy Meals a day. That's why the elderly should continue working even past the official retirement age. Better still, they can work in MacDonalds, then they can eat for free. Don't even have to pay for their Happy Meals. I'm really disappointed at you, Lucky. I thought you'd have understand that was the exact intentions of our Beloved Leeder

Anonymous said...

I think it is very safe to say that PAP had been underpaying interest on CPF savings by at least 2%. Based on this we can know how much one has been and will be ripped off by PAP.

So how much does this rip-off add up to for 45 years (age 20 to 65)? Using a compound calculator here is a guide:

Principal | Annual Addition | 2% in gross sum
$10,000 | $10,000 | $757,684
$10,000 | $15,000 | $1,124,337

I cannot believe the figures. Is there anything wrong with the calculation ?

If I have erred, it is probably on the side of moderation. As Lucky's research has pointed out, countries like India and Chile are making up to 6 to 7% more in return for their people's retirement funds. I thank Lucky for labouring on this research.

Now all this PAP cheating has resulted in the current social security issue. And the CPF Life is actually just another CPF Lie to mask the rip-off over the years and the years to come. It is also another knot in the Minimum Sum rope to confuse and lock up people's savings.

The Singapore mass media now has a gag order to stop all criticism on the CPF Life. Asset management companies have not been consulted let alone an open tender called to manage the issue.

PAP's belated realization or pretended belated realization that the simple saving scheme is a failure has deformed into another eyewash that CPF Life is a better solution, that it is a good insurance scheme.

It is just another CPF Lie not CPF Life. It is all from PAP leadership. And there is not so much as a whimper from the opposition in Singapore, let alone from the highly paid pappies. This country is going to the dogs.

PAP has squandered and continues to squander away the people's money in lousy investments. It just splurged USD7 billion of taxpayer and CPF monies on the troubled Citibank - where incidentally Lee Kuan Yew serves as a Special Advisor and paid most likely to the tune of tens of USD millions a year. As LKY once boasted he could get far more than his world-class salary should he leave for the corporate sector. Well as we can see clearly now he needs not leave his political post to do so.

Those who have eyes let them see and understand what they should do in the next elections.

To trust blindly is to call down disaster upon this nation. But if you think the opposition is lousy, never mind. Voters should never trust politicians anyway, regardless of which party they belong to. This is the true reason for democracy. Make Parliament multi-party, never mind the party. Get as many opposition members in as possible.

PAP messed with us, we should mess with them. Simple as that. Spread the message.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, my previous calculation was not exactly correct. I think here is a more accurate guide on how much 2% difference in interest come up to in gross terms. The rip-off turns out to be more:


Principal | Annual Addition | 3% | 5% |gross difference due to 2% short-paid
$10,000 | $10,000 | $992,830 | $1,766,701 | $773, 871
$10,000 | $15,000 | $1,470,337 | $2,605,127 | $1,134790

Hope I got it right this time :-). I am trying to be as credible as possible.

Anonymous said...

they won't let you die nor live(comfortably - btw, no one is asking for home cinemas to be installed) , and that's precisely what this 'life plan' is all about.

after 70, you probably need more 'pills and ointments'( beyond the general medical coverage in another scheme) than fatty hamburger. the indecent return( for you) for having your bundle of cash tied up with them, helps them to extract more juice( for themselves) before helping you to obtain two bowls of porridge a day by then. but it will not buy you the 'koyo poh' you need so basically, you maybe dangle between life and death, begging for more humiliating handouts which, when the time comes, they will be too keen to suggest more changes in managing your pittance to perpetuate their ever 'caring and compassionate' image under a new leadership or glory mongers.

if that wheezes by you...you should think of it as securing your 'food stamps' EARLY! the financially state dependant citizens are expected to grow in the coming decades. instead of they humiliating you with pittance from their sinful wealth, you are in effect, 'legitimately self supporting'( a heavy load off their back) under their brilliant plan so you should not be expected to come knocking at their doors!

in your demise, they still think of generating more wealth for the minority.though they won't let your die - no, that will ruin their image - neither will they let you live with dignity.

it is a sad case of too much for them and TOO LITTLE too late for the rests!

Anonymous said...

Some country, leader and corporation sure know how to lure and trap banana-man exploiting his arrogance and greed.

Thus was conned from Kaisuland countless $billions in massive but rotten investments.

Push(provoke) or pull(praise, offer of honorable position, big income), it always work on banana-man.

And Kaisuland remains Slumberland of brainwashed fools.

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Colin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Colin said...

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Anonymous said...

The good news is: at least the next generation of 'samsui women' will get to labor in air-CON environment.

The not so good news is: they basically go the same way as the old samsui women - conveniently forgotten .

Ha.

Anonymous said...

as the nations celebrate the wealthy's crumbs
do take some time to knock on closed doors
have you looked into the eyes of the aged lately?
have you watched them in their debilitated shack on tv?
do their eyes graces yours?
can you not hear the weight of heavy breathe in them?
the soul has long gone
the faking heart beat they may still sense
a faint smile for a good story share
but no more then from frail politeness
for when the door closes behind them
they lie motionless in their bed
for hours they wait
hoping death may take them home soon
to a place no more crumbs

the crumbs of an old man's tale.

onlooker said...

Why happy meals cost so much?
Let me see:-
1) oil price rising(cause by bush)
2) sub prime mortgage (same)
One could be sure that It not also due to
1) Increasing GST (no not inflationary)
2) monopoly of majority of infrastructures (yes we all see major growth in media reruns after mediaworks was axed)
3) The major import Talents while some are great (look at the murder rates)
Yes We all want $10 happy meals :)
Do we get a toy?

Anonymous said...

Hopefully by then there'll be household brand (NTUC?) of Happy Meal...else go for NON-BRANDED Happy Meal.

Anonymous said...

It saddens and depresses me to see so many older people working in menial jobs; somehow I do not get the impression they are working to keep themselves occupied or to meet people.

We are a rich country and our government pats itself on the back about this.

Do they listen to anyone else but themselves, their staff, the multi millionaires to whom we we give asylum and those who have out some of their "eggs" into our basket?

And are we all so stupid not to realise that a small handout once in a while is not going to help us manage the rapidly rising cost of living and health care?

Anonymous said...

A STORY

The Dark Cabal of Bushland said to Bananaman :

"We control Bushland and much of the world through our banks and mass media. Over the years we have instructed our press to stop attacking you when previously they used to with impunity. Remember?

You have become our buddy and lackey. You must now take this instruction from us.

One of our major banks is failing. You must save it with your $billions which you have squeezed from your people over the years.

If you fail to do so, you Bananaman will lose your position with that bank; we will also orchestrate our press to tarnish your name and you will no longer have the luxury to extract huge compensation from our papers for defamation.

Think carefully. Much is at stake for you personally. We know how vain and greedy you are. Look after yourself and give us your country's $billions and say to your people it is an excellent buy. Most of them being fools will never know nor bother to know. So don't worry, especially when you have full control over your mass media.

What your choice?

yamizi said...

Lucky,

How can you eat Happy Meal when you ain't happy?

lol

Anonymous said...

Citigroup - since GIC invested USD6.9 in January - is now worth only 90% of its value. LINK HERE.

That's roughly SGD1 billion of our taxpayers' money wiped out within a month.

If you look at this page on Citigroup you will see on the right column the numerous news of Citigroup selling off of this and that operations around the world.

It comes across as a bank gasping for air. And here was our smart PAP going in with our hard-earned money.

You know, last month after GIC put in an initial sum, Citigroup said it needed a few $billions more and China's sovereign fund was invited but declined. GIC went in like a hero and said "Come, we will chip also on this".

What to do? Lee Kuan Yew is the Special Adviser of Citigroup. If he said it was an excellent investment, the GIC board had better believe it. How can the Special Adviser of Citigroup say bad things about its own employer? Come on.

Besides he also happens to be their political boss. So you see, there is no conflict of interest in being the political leader of Singapore and Special Adviser of an American bank.

Everything is legal, open and aboveboard, can't you see.

Citigroup is just like the other famous PAP venture into Shin Corp which is now worth only 60% of its original value in March 2006. You can visit Shin Corp website to check this out. Click the Stocks Information and then the Historical tab.

See how great PAP is? It thinks we are such a big country with lots of natural resources. The real natural resources are the people and PAP will continue to squeeze them until they become "haey bi", shrimps, so that it can swagger and splurge around the world in idiotic investments.

After 40 years of so-called nation-building, life in Singapore is becoming much harder not easier. Ask any baby-boomer and they will tell you that a single bread-winner in the 70's earning just a few hundred dollars was enough to feed the whole family. Now the several family members have to work to make ends meet.

This is the kind of wonderful national success PAP has wrought for the people.

Anonymous said...

CPF Life means:

:: For those currently 50 and below you will be committed by force to the annuity scheme with your minimum sum
:: The minimum sum will increase from the current approx $100,000 to whatever figure the PAP likes e.g. $300,000 or even $500,000.
:: Once committed into the scheme and if you go for no refund type, your family cannot take back any money if you pass away
:: If you give up your citizenship and emigrate, it looks like the current ability to withdraw all your CPF savings is also gone.
:: Currently if one is disabled, one can still withdraw all his CPF savings. But with the annuity scheme, this is not likely to be possible anymore.
:: For earning the kind of interest that PAP pays for your CPF savings, you will likely be losing money because of inflation. The CPF Life scheme has not changed this situation one bit but merely extends the payment beyond age 84.

But as Lucky rightly pointed out in this article the sum of $600 you will receive by 80 will buy you only 2 Happy Meals a day. So what's the big deal?

You mean the PAP government cannot even provide 2 such meals for a very small minority of poor Singaporeans from 84 years old upward, and need to implement this collective annuity scheme?

Since CPF Life exempts those with $40,000 or less. PAP has contradicted itself here because the annuity scheme was supposed to help those with low or no income. But precisely this group of people are supposed to benefit from the scheme. Instead they are left out.

So as you can see PAP did not mean what it said. It only wanted to ensure that the CPF savings of better-off Singaporeans are not withdrawn at one go. That way, it can avail itself of a huge pool of cheap loans for it to squander and boast to the world how rich this country PAP has made this country ... except it never revealed that much of its funds are actually the personal savings of Singaporeans. But PAP never lied, it just refuse to reveal.

PAP in fact had been working hard on exploiting our CPF money over the years.

First it came out with the policy of minimum sum, which had been increasing over the years to the current $100,000. Then it pushed forward the draw-down age to 59,62, 64, and eventually 67. Wait a few years, PAP is gonna set it at 75, 80 or even higher.

Now apparently these 2 schemes are not enough because more and more Singaporeans are emigrating and they can take out all their CPF savings. There is also the possibility of disability which enables people to withdraw all their money.

With CPF Life, PAP plugs these so-called loopholes.

Now PAP is also talking about passing CPF savings to one's descendents. Another trick up its sleeves to fix up its own people while it goes around helping the rich countries like the US to save their failing banks. If Singaporeans don't wake up now, they never will.

Anonymous said...

And to add :

Actually with 67 drawn-down age, WITHOUT the CPF Life, Singaporeans will still be getting payouts until 87. The CPF Life is thus good only from 88 years old upwards. How many will live to that age and beyond. A small minority. But PAP is trying to mislead the people with its charts in the papers that CPF Life is gonna benefit a lot of people from age 80 upwards.

Not so fast, PAP.

Anonymous said...

CPF interest rates started going downwards from mid 1986 and interestingly those who contributed to CPF during the years 1969 to 1986 benefitted the most from the higher interest earned. Also, at one point during those years the CPF contribution rate was 50% in total, so many of those working during those years were able to accumulate at least some money to draw out for their retirement, coupled, of course, with their relatively smaller payments for the cheaper HDB flats.

CPF interest rate for 1969 was 5.5%and from 1970 to 1973 it was 5.25% and from 1974 to early 1986 it was 6.5%. After that it was all the way down.

So, people who reached retirement age over the last decade or so are probably the lucky ones compared to present and future cohorts.

Anonymous said...

obviously, the return is so low that you need to keep the money inside cpf longer .....

our money is really mis-managed- that's why have to push back the withdrawal date....

Anonymous said...

The CPF LIFE information that PAP publishes in the papers is not easy to comprehend. I believe this is deliberate of PAP. As the saying goes : 'If politicians cannot convince, they will try to confuse'.

One need to study the reports in the Straits Times many times just to get it right on the basics. It is another piece in the complex puzzle that PAP has made CPF scheme into.

The CPF scheme has become a Frankenstein, a masterpiece in public policy patchworking by our most highly-paid politicians. Kuan Yew School of Public Policy should include this wonderful knowhow in its courses, so that other politicians and bureaucrats who attend his courses will be as good as PAP.

Anyway I am not going into the details of the CPF LIFE but just want to point out one important fact.

The age for withdrawing your CPF minimum sum in monthly payments - called draw-down age - was initially 55.

It has been raised to 59, 62, 64, to 65 in 2018 and eventually to 67.

I believe PAP will further raise this draw-down age in future. PAP will give the usual reason for doing so: people are living longer, so the draw-down age must also be upped.

It is likely that PAP will raise the draw-down age by another 10 years. In which case one can only start drawing on his Minimum Sum from 77 until age 97.

This in effect this renders the CPF LIFE a useless scheme because very few will live beyond 97.

Furthermore, owing to inflation, the monthly sum promised by the CPF LIFE from age 98 onwards will be so insignificant that CPF LIFE will become a joke. Probably enough only to buy 1 Happy Meal a day, that's all.

However because people will be forced into CPF LIFE policy, they will lose out in terms of :

:: Part or nil payment from their Minimum to their family should they pass away

:: If they emigrate or become disabled, they can no longer take out all of their Minimum Sum, if at all.

CPF LIFE is not going to help Singaporeans but rather PAP because it is another of its trick to keep defaulting on its promise on returning hard-earned savings of the people on maturity.

If a bank refuses to return the fix deposit of its customers on maturity by giving the excuse that it is all for their own good, that would clearly be criminal.

But when PAP does this, it is alright, PAP is just looking after the people's interest. So the deception continues. Besides, some Singaporeans are now excited that PAP will be giving out some angpows. Everything else is forgotten. And PAP will get re-elected for another term to keep exploiting and fooling the people. Is'nt this wonderful?

Anonymous said...

The next nail in the CPF coffin to prevent Singaporeans from taking out their CPF money would be this:

The refundable portion of Minimum Sum for the beneficiaries of depositors will be transfered to their beneficiaries' own CPF accounts. Thus they won't be seeing any cash but money on paper.

All PAP tweaks on the CPF point to the difficulty PAP is experiencing in returning the people's money.

Nail after nail is knocked onto the CPF coffin and very convincing reasons are always advanced aided by a fully controlled press.

It is safer to doubt than to trust PAP under such circumstances.

Anonymous said...

I can see that there is no lack of clever people in PAP just that they are using their intelligence to help the leadership to:

:: cover up its incompetence - the continued multi $billions losses in its investments

:: profiteer - more ERP gantries, more worker levies, pay below market interest rate for CPF savings, force shopkeepers to buy over their HDB shops at very high prices $500,000 upwards resulting in many facing serious financial straits now, drastic price hikes in public housing resulting for instance in a new 4-room HDB flat selling for $250,000.

:: fix and weaken the voters - vote-buying, ridiculous re-drawing of electoral wards

:: fix and weaken the opposition - use laws and courts to sue and destroy prominent opposition figures

:: kill off strong public criticism - by firing quietly newspaper editors and journalists who do not toe the government line completely

Ah the clever advisers in PAP government are only good in such things but not in ensuring real good governance through accountability and transparency, checks and balances.

Of course these sycophants know what democracy is all about. Many are scholars, some ex military chiefs among them, well schooled in political science and military strategies which unfortunately they employ to help their bosses exploit rather than help their own people.

They know what are the fundamental political problems of this country which I just mentioned above. But they are only smart enough for their own personal good to not offend their dictatorial bosses. So they rather not talk about those defects but choose to ingratiate themselves to their political masters by teaching them how to profit from situations. And they are richly rewarded for doing so.

Therefore while the PAP leadership appreciates talent, it must realize that intelligence and knowledge can be used in the wrong way to eventually destroy the nation. Its sycophants are precisely helping it to do just that.

PAP top leadership had set the culture in PAP since its inception that money or profit is everything. For this reason for a long time now those in the civil service that can offer good ideas to the government to save or make more money are rewarded monetarily.

When a country is run only with such a one-dimensional outlook, then more and more policies are translated into money-making mechanisms and justified by all kinds of cock-and-bull stories like 'more ERP gantries are meant to smoothen traffic', 'our ministerial pay raises are for the good of the people to keep graft at bay', 'higher Minimum Sum and draw-down age is to protect you from poverty' ...

In the end it comes down to material selfishness of the smart influential people in the PAP, who despite being knowledgeable about political science and about the grave the defects of PAP system continue to help it to perpetuate its rotten style of government.

These smart people lack ideals and a national sense of mission despite their high offices. For this reason they have become mere sycophantic cowards and betrayers of the nation. They rest satisfied just to earn big money.

Tis like selling one's soul to the devil.

Anonymous said...

as anonymous goes...

let's hope that compassion and sympathy would be the ruling theme of people's heart...

Anonymous said...

People will sell their soul for monies. And they can live happily while putting their conscience to good use by helping the poor to pay and pay.

Robert L said...

"The CPF scheme has become a Frankenstein, a masterpiece in public policy patchworking by our most highly-paid politicians."

I agree entirely with this remark. Many bloggers are now wasting their time figuring out the complicated mathematics of this monster scheme. I'll suggest we spread the word out to all bloggers not to fall for this trick. There is simply no need to engage in the mathematics of this nonsense. Just come back to the basics.

The most basic flaw of the CPFLife is that it robs members of their basic capital with which members could have derived a much higher range of returns. This inflicts a double injury on the members.

First, the poor returns from the funds. Imagine if members could have derived 7% returns from the funds, instead of the 3% given by CPFLife, how much returns on members' capital are lost over the course of 35 years? I promise not to go into the math, but from some previous posts above, I'm guessing it's a loss in excess of $1million for each member.

The CPFLife has made a foolish assumption that all the members are incapable of taking care of their funds in a more productive way, and has confiscated the members' funds, paying out a miserable 3%. Each member stands to lose more than $1million over the course of 35 years.

Second, that is not all, worse is to come. The second problem is that members not only lost the over $1million of returns on their capital, they even lose whatever little 3% returns upon their death. The whole interest component of their savings is confiscated and passed into the common pool. Without the interest component, what members get to pass on to their family is probably less than 5% of their saving.

If members are not robbed of their savings, the entire savings - capital plus 35 years of returns - are passed on to members' family.

So, without getting bogged down by the math, here are the ballpark figures - instead of over $1million left for each of your families, it's a mere $10,000. It's shocking, that each of you will lose so much.

The PAP cybersquad will no doubt start to quibble over the figures I posted, but don't let it detract you from the big picture. I am following my own advice, never get into the maths and get distracted, instead take a step back and see the whole monstrosity.

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