The PM tried to play financial planner during his rally speech on Sunday and failed. His advice for a fictitious Mr Tan just fell flat after it was examined by an associate professor of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in an article in The Straits Times.
Hui Weng Tat’s main contention is that the $2,000 a month the PM felt Mr Tan will need in his retirement years will put him among the lowest 10 per cent of resident households.
“The prospect of such retired households being forced down to the lowest decile on retirement certainly does not paint a very optimistic view of adequate retirement living in Singapore,’’ the professor said.
And the PM did not even factor in inflation in his calculations.
His so-called big concession on CPF – allowing members to take out about 20 per cent of their savings at 65 – means nothing really.
Prof Hui questioned the move. “To my mind, that is merely a cosmetic change that seems to pander to popular demands. Allowing this may not be in the best interest of most CPF contributors as any lump sum withdrawal means correspondingly lower amounts of retirement income for the individual.”
Tinkering with the CPF, as the PM did on Sunday, is not the way forward. A way has to be found to return the CPF to its original purpose of providing sufficient retirement savings.
Then we all can have peace of mind – a phrase the PM has used often enough to clutch at the straws of a survival strategy.