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16

Every time when we talk about retirement, we will surely touch on the financial part of retirement.

If we have not prepared and saved well in our early working life to prepare for a healthy and sustainable retirement, we will face a lot of money issues in our retirement.

The main challenge is how to manage our retirement money when we retire.

If we have not prepared well in our earlier working life in investing well our money and setting aside enough for our retirement, we will face question of whether we have enough in our bank to last for our retirement,

Assuming we are retiring at the age of 60 and the average life expectancy is 85, which mean we will have to make sure we have enough savings to last 25 years of retirement life.

1. To Determine and Allocate How Much Is Required For Retirement.

With the life expectancy of 85 years and with at least 25 years to live in retirement, we have to plan for this next phase of life.

One of the things a retiree needs to assess if how much he and his life partner spend in their normal daily life and how much they expect to spend in the retiring years ahead.

If we can maintain a record of our daily spending and summarize monthly expenses will help in our planning for our retirement.

2. Ensure Flexibility In Our Planning. 

A financial plan must be able to adjust in accordance with the situation and the need when necessary, if we do not have a flexible financial plan, we will encounter difficulty and frustration later on when we are faced with some situation and realize the plan does not work.

Some of us may just give up, actually if we have ensured we can adjust the plan accordingly, we will be able to move on and continue our enjoyment of retirement.

The main reason to have a flexible financial planning is to adjust the daily spending in retirement and the cash requirement as time go on in our retirement.

3. Must Have Some Cash Surplus Or Cushion

Since we are not able to control the return on our investment for the cash we have had for our retirement due to the volatile market condition if we invest our retirement fund in certain market and hope for good return, even the best portfolio manager may not be able to generate the kind of returns we desire.

Therefore, we must have a cash surplus to cushion our expenses for at least 5 to 8 years of our living expenses, managing our daily expenses and ensuring the return on investment, which is pretty much depending on how much risk we are willing to take.

Once we establish the level of cash surplus cushion we are comfortable with, we can plan accordingly in term of our investment and adjust the portfolio accordingly.

4. Allocation Of Cash Reserve.

When we retire, we must allocate our cash reserve into three main categories, mainly:

  1. Short term requirement.
  2. Medium term requirement.
  3. Long term requirement.

A. Short Term Requirement.

The short term planning requires us to set aside the cash which we need in our immediate and short term use, hence the amount of liquid cash we place to generate return will be very competitive and we need to shop around for a good return.

B. Medium Term Requirement.

The medium term requirement is to set aside our cash requirement within the 6th year to 10 years and we must plan for the return for this cash to ensure it generates enough return for our use from 6ht year onward

C. Long Term Requirement.

Since this is the long term cash requirement which we will set aside beyond the 10th years which we only touch the reserve on the 11th year, since it is a long term requirement, we can take a more moderate investment risk on this cash.

5. Investment Porfolio Mix : Income vs Risk.

Normally for people who have low investment risk, they will prefer to just put the money in the bank as fixed deposit and collect fixed deposit income, this may be a good money management if the bank interest rate is high as in the early 1980s.

In this low bank interest environment, it is not a very good way to manage the fund for retirement as the interest generated may not be enough for our retirement needs.

We may have to consider investment in government bond which offer a better rate than the bank deposit interest and also allocate our portfolio and investment mix in accordance with our planning.

Assets allocation for retirement involves a very detailed study and we may have to engage a professional to discuss and plan with them on the needs and how best to allocate the funds for investment so as to generate the type of returns we are looking for.

6. Shall We Invest In Stocks?

The fund which we are not going to dip into for a number of years can be considered as a mix of equity and fixed income investment.

The fixed income portion is to act as the cushion and some sort of safety nest in the volatile equity market.

If we can engage a good fund manager to help to invest our long term fund with high quality, dividend paying equity and some other high quality instrument in the financial and capital market, this will be quite an ideal situation.

7. Consolidate our investment and income streams.

After we have done all our three steps of cash allocation and investment based on our risk adverse profile, we have to take stock of our income and to determine how to shift and re balance our investment portfolio, as I mentioned earlier, we need to have a flexible plan, this is one of the method to ensure all our investment's income.

We have to ensure a reasonable growth of our investment and do not try to outperform and aim for some investment goal and ended up taking unnecessary risk on our investment.

Once we are comfortable with the rate of returns we are achieving for our three investment funds, we should be able to live out our retirement in a worried free and sustainable life style we are looking for.

For those who are eager to learn more about how to manage retirement money, and if you do not want to engage a professional, you may like to find some books to read up, these books are readily available at Amazon.
If you have any questions or suggestion, please feel free to leave your comments and suggestion below and I will be more than happy to answer and help out whatever way I can.

 

 

8

INTRODUCTION

In my previous post on whether you are prepared for retirement, I mentioned a bit on the schemes readily available in the country I am currently residing, that is Singapore.

In this article, I will not go into details of the various schemes, rather, I will summarize the various schemes available and if any readers who wish to learn in more details, they can go to the website in the link I have provided in this article and try to find out more about the scheme and how it operates.

The main objective of writing this is to provide some ideas and information of the availability of the schemes for retirement, create some awareness on how and where people can look for and take some action if they are looking for some retirement scheme to help them to live a sustainable retirement life.

Currently, I noticed quite a lot of people are not aware of what are the schemes the Singapore government have in place to help its citizens and residents to ease their retirement worry and to a certain extent , to have a reasonable and affordable retirement living.

SCHEMES AVAILABLE

The various schemes available in Singapore where retirees can consider and plan their retirement are as below:

  1. The Central Provident Fund

   2.  The Supplementary Retirement Scheme.

   3.  Insurance Retirement Plan

I will briefly elaborate on the various schemes and if any one is interested to learn more, may put in your comments and feedback at the bottom of these articles in the comment and feedback section or look at the
links I have provided in this article.

  1. The Central Provident Fund (CPF)

This is the fund set up by the Singapore Government primarily to cater for the retirement of the workers.

As explained in CPF website, the main objective of the Fund is :

What is CPF?

The Central Provident Fund (CPF) is a comprehensive social security system that
enables working Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents to set aside funds
for retirement. It also addresses healthcare, home ownership, family protection
and asset enhancement.

In its website, they also provided information about their Retirement Plan, you can access it via this CPF

For Retirement, CPF has outlined in its website the following:

CPF has created a program to provide CPF members with a monthly pay-out for life when they reach their pay-out eligibility age.

This is another programme devised by CPF to provide CPF members with a monthly pay-out when they reach their payout eligibility age.

Retirement Sum Topping-Up Scheme

This scheme is to help CPF Members to build up their retirement savings by topping up their own or their loved ones' CPF Accounts.

Withdrawals of CPF savings from 55

CPF allows its members to withdraw their CPF savings upon reaching retirement age of 55, after setting aside the Full Retirement Sum or Basic Retirement Sum with sufficient CPF property charge/pledge in their Retirement Account.

However, it is to be noted that CPF members do not choose between CPF LIFE and Retirement Sum Scheme.

CPF members will automatically be included in CPF LIFE to enjoy lifelong payouts if they are a Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident born in 1958 or after; and have at least SGD $ 60,000 in their Retirement Account six months before they reach their payout eligibility age (PEA), while Retirement Sum Scheme (RSS) is for CPF members who do not need to be on CPF LIFE.

2. Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS)

This is one of the schemes by the Singapore government to address the financial needs of its greying population by helping the fellow Singaporeans to save more for their golden years.

The scheme was started in 2001 and is operated by private sector.

The scheme is not to replace the Central Provident Fund (CPF), rather it complimented the CPF.

CPF savings are meant to provide for housing and medical requirements and for basic daily needs of the contributors after their retirement.

The main different between CPF and SRS is that CPF is mandatory for working people while participation in SRS is voluntary.

The people can contribute to SRS in varying amount (subject to a cap) at their own discretion and the contribution may be used to purchase various investment instruments.

For more detail about this scheme, you may want to visit this link in Singapore’s Ministry of Finance

In that, the MOF actually outlined the benefits and how Singaporeans can contribute to the Scheme.

3. Insurance Retirement Plan

The major insurance companies in Singapore also provide insurance retirement plan of their own.

They usually have their Retirement Saving Plan, Endowment Plan, Protection Plan, Income Guaranteed Plan, (however this will be discussed in more details in another article in the future.)

Besides the retirement schemes available, CPF Singapore also has various schemes to take care of the ever-increasing medical and health care cost, this again can be viewed in detail in the CPF website.

With the various schemes available, the retirees in Singapore actually are able to enjoy quite a good and comfortable retirement life style is they can plan their retirement properly taking into account of their savings in CPF and the schemes available.

I would suggest anyone who are able to enjoy these Schemes to study this and engage a professional to advise them properly, however they should be wary of the advice on taking out the whole CPF savings and do the investment themselves unless they are really very good at investing and able to beat the returns CPF Board is giving to its members, it will be more advisable for the members to hold discussion with CPF Board officials to understand in more details of various schemes and how it helps the CPF Members.

Please also be reminded that “The views, thoughts and opinions expressed in this
article belong solely to the author, and do not represent nor necessarily
reflect the official policy or position of the CPF Board.”

If you have any questions or suggestion, please feel free to leave your comments and suggestion below and I will be more than happy to answer and help out whatever way I can.