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Is CPF Life enough for me to retire?


Let’s begin with an exercise. On a blank piece of paper, write down all the things you would like to have or experience when you retire. It can be anything at all. After that, cross out all the things that money can buy. For instance, an expensive vintage watch collection, the latest sports car model, etc. Cross it out, too.

What you are likely left with is a list of simple memories and moments that money cannot buy — sharing a bottle of wine with your sweetheart, seeing your grandchild walk for the first time, or feeling purposeful after volunteering at an animal shelter.

Not everything in retirement is about money. Beyond financial needs, most people also need to make their retirement meaningful. It all boils down to answering one key question: what makes me happy?

Here are a few tips:

Will I be able to use CPF to cover my retirement needs?

All Singaporeans and permanent residents born in or after 1958, and who have S$60,000 in their CPF Retirement Accounts six months before the age of 65, are automatically enrolled into CPF LIFE (Lifelong Income For the Elderly)1. No doubt it can help provide supplemental income in retirement. As the name suggests, your CPF LIFE retirement payouts are ‘Lifelong’. Even if you live to a ripe old age, you will not run out of money.

CPF life plans
Did you know retirees

Yet relying on your CPF LIFE payouts alone is unlikely to help you lead a comfortable lifestyle once you have stopped working.

By current figures, if you set aside the basic retirement sum of S$93,000 at age 55, your estimated monthly ‘paycheck’ will be S$770 to S$830* from age 65 – significantly below the average S$1,379 a month that is required to meet basic needs2.

Payouts only start at age 65. If your balance is more than S$5,000 at age 55, you can withdraw some money, but there is a minimum sum balance you cannot withdraw until you reach 65.

CPF life retirement outcomes

Mind the income gap

So, what does this mean for you? It means that if you plan to retire or are forced to retire earlier than age 65, or if you prefer a comfortable and more luxurious retirement, then you’re going to need to supplement your CPF LIFE payouts with other retirement income plans. For those who may have a higher threshold for investment risk, adding passive income-yielding investments to the stack could grow your savings further while you are busy focusing on your career and family.

CPF life desired retirement monthly payout

An example of how a 65-year-old who is retiring this year, stacks multiple retirement products together to achieve his desired retirement monthly income3.


If you’re not into taking investment risks and want security in your retirement plan, then growing your savings with a participating insurance plan might be a viable option. This allows you to secure guaranteed return with potential upside, depending on the selected plan’s performance. With insurance plans, whether it’s a participating plan with potential bonuses or an investment-linked plan with diversification on managed funds tailored to your risk appetite, you can customise your retirement planning quite easily.

Ultimately saving what you can, as soon as you can, and in a combination of products, is the best way to make the numbers add up in your favour.


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1 If you are not automatically enrolled, you can sign up for the scheme any time before the month before you turn 80.

2 Income required by a single elderly person aged 65 and above living without chronic illness, per 2019 research led by Assistant Professor Ng Kok Hoe from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, using the Minimum Income Standard (MIS) research method.

3 https://blog.moneysmart.sg/invest/retirement-savings



This advertisement has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

The above is for general information only. It is not a contract of insurance. The precise terms and conditions of these insurance plans are specified in the policy contract.

As buying a life insurance policy is a long-term commitment, an early termination of the policy usually involves high costs and the surrender value, if any, that is payable to you may be zero or less than the total premiums paid.

Protected up to specified limits by SDIC.

Information correct as at 10 September 2021.

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Great Eastern Holdings Ltd | Great Eastern Life Assurance Co Ltd | Great Eastern General Insurance Ltd
Great Eastern Holdings Ltd | Great Eastern Life Assurance Co Ltd | Great Eastern General Insurance Ltd