55% OF SINGAPOREANS CANNOT MEET THE CPF MINIMUM SUM!

Something very wrong happened.

The CPF Board had released their annual report for 2012.

In 2011 and prior to 2011, the CPF Board had always included a table of the Active CPF members bymonthly wage level and age group.

 

In the 2011 annual report (Table 1), there were about 300,000 Singaporeans earning less than $1,000 and about 460,000 Singaporeans earning less than $1,500. This made up 17% and 26%, or a quarter of Singaporeans, respectively.

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Table 1: Distribution of Active CPF Members by Monthly Wage Level and Age Group as at 31 December 2011

But in the 2012 annual report, the CPF Board removed this table and replaced it with another table (Table 2) – on the distribution of active CPF members by regrossed balances, which they state, “include amounts withdrawn under Investment, education, Residential Properties, Non-Residential Properties and Public Housing Schemes as at end of period.”

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Table 2: Distribution of Active CPF Members by Regrossed Balances and Age Group as at 31 December 2012

Where did the table on the distribution of monthly wage go??

Why did the CPF Board removed the table on Singaporeans’ monthly wage levels? Did they want to hide the information of how a quarter of Singaporeans are earning less than $1,500, and possibly living in poverty? Why does the CPF Board no longer want to show this information?

Now, take a look at Table 1 and Table 2. If you do not know that there is a difference in the indicator being reported, which table looks better?

Table 2, right? It looks like there are many Singaporeans who have a lot of money!

Let me share with you some insights:

  • In Table 1, look at the first column. You can see that the monthly wage level is broken down into the smallest categories, down to the hundreds in the first few rows. Why? Look at Table 3 for a re-representation, and you will understand why. Can you that there are 300,000 Singaporeans earning less than $1,000 and more than 600,000 earning less than $2,000 – which means that nearly a fifth of Singaporeans have to live on less than $1,000 every month and nearly 40% of Singaporeans earn less than $2,000! They had to break the wage levels into smaller categories so that it wouldn’t look so obvious that there are so many poor people in Singapore.
  • In 2012, they stopped reporting on the monthly wage level completely. Meanwhile, they replaced this with a table on “regrossed balances”. Looks nice, doesn’t it? Not really. Let me explain to you why.

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Table 3: Distribution of Active CPF Members by Monthly Wage Level and Age Group as at 31 December 2011

As of 1 July 2013, Singaporeans have to set aside a minimum sum of $148,000 in their CPF before they are able to withdraw it.

So, looking at Table 2, does this mean that there are more than a million Singaporeans who are not able to meet the CPF Minimum Sum?

There are 1,003,614 Singaporeans with balances of up to $150,000, which makes up 56%. Does this mean that 55% Singaporeans do not have enough in their CPF to withdraw it?

Then why did the CPF Board portray the table in this manner? If I were the CPF Board, I would portray the table like in Table 4.

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Table 4: Distribution of Active CPF Members by Regrossed Balances and Age Group as at 31 December 2012

And then, you will be able to see very clearly that only about 45% of Singaporeans are able to meet their CPF Minimum Sum. 55% will not be able to withdraw their CPF – that’s your money.

So, why did the CPF Board remove the table which gives the breakdown on Singaporeans’ wage level? Why did the CPF Board replace it with a new table but represent the table in such a manner that is misleading? Why did the CPF Board not state the truth as clearly as it can?

Look at Chart 1 – up until 2010, less than 50% of Singaporeans were able to meet their CPF Minimum Sum, and in 2012, there continues to be a majority of Singaporeans who would not be able to withdraw their CPF monies.

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Chart 1: Proportion of CPF Members Who Meet CPF Minimum Sum

If so, where is our money going? Why can’t we take the money that we’ve earned back? Where is the government taking it to, and for?

 

*The author blogs at www.TheHeartTruths.com