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190224 Latest CPF Changes Budget 2024

Latest Budget 2024 CPF Changes & How it Affects CPF SA Shielding

profileJoel Koh

Breaking news.

Just today, Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong announced a whole slew of initiatives at Budget 2024.

You can check out our summary of Budget 2024 here:

As personal finance nerds, we can’t help but zero in on the latest seismic change to the Central Provident Fund (CPF) system.

Here’s all you need to know.


TL;DR: Latest CPF Changes Announced at Budget 2024 & How it Will Affect CPF SA Shielding


What Are the CPF Changes Announced at Budget 2024?

At Budget 2024, Minister Wong announced these significant changes to CPF:

  • In 2025, individuals aged 55 to 65 will see an additional 1.5% increase in their CPF contribution rates
  • From 2025, the CPF Enhanced Retirement Sum (ERS) will be raised to quadruple the Basic Retirement Sum (BRS), setting the ERS at $426,000.
  •  From 2025, the CPF Special Account (SA) for those aged 55 and above will be closed:
    • The CPF SA funds will then be channelled to the Retirement Account (RA) to fulfil the Full Retirement Sum (FRS).
    • Any remaining funds in the CPF SA will be moved to the CPF Ordinary Account (OA).

What it Means for Singaporeans

For context, monies held in the CPF OA accrue interest at 2.5% per annum (p.a.), whereas the CPF RA and SA benefit from an approximate interest rate of 4% p.a.

However, upon reaching the age of 55, CPF members have the option to withdraw specific amounts from their Special Account as outlined below:

How Much Savings Do You Have In OA & SA? How Much Can You Withdraw?
With Property Pledge Without Property Pledge
$5,000 or less Everything from SA & OA
Between $5,000 and the Full Retirement Sum (FRS) $5,000 and any RA savings above the Basic Retirement Sum (BRS) $5,000
More than FRS $5,000 or excess savings from SA and OA above FRS, whichever is higher, and any RA savings above the BRS $5,000 or excess savings from SA and OA above FRS, whichever is higher
Note: The excess money that can be withdrawn excludes top-up monies, interest earned, and any government grants received

This is why people in Singapore perform this CPF SA shielding hack.

What is CPF SA Shielding

For the uninitiated, your CPF RA and SA both yield a commendable 4.08% p.a., virtually risk-free. In contrast, the OA only generates only 2.5% p.a.

Therefore, a financially savvy individual would aim to optimize their CPF interest earnings by primarily using funds from their OA, which has a lower interest rate, to constitute their RA rather than their SA, as outlined below:

Pro-tip: It’s also important to remember that after reaching the age of 55, you can no longer transfer funds from your OA to your SA.

The aim is to have more of your CPF money earning 4.08% p.a. rather than 2.5% p.a.

This strategy involves withdrawing funds from your CPF SA for investments, aiming to minimize the SA balance just before turning 55. By reducing your SA funds, more of your CPF OA will be used to establish your CPF RA.

Nevertheless, depleting your CPF SA entirely for investments is impossible. A minimum of $40,000 must remain in your SA, as the initial $40,000 cannot be invested under the CPF Investment Scheme (CPFIS). Likewise, the first S$20,000 in your CPF OA is also ineligible for investment.

This restriction of not using the first $40,000 from your SA for investments implies that your CPF RA could be fully funded with your SA savings, provided they are adequate for meeting your Full Retirement Sum (FRS).

The remaining balance in your CPF OA will ultimately depend on the amount withdrawn from your SA for investments and the initial balance in your OA.

Unfortunately, with the latest changes announced at Budget 2024 :

  •  From 2025, the CPF Special Account (SA) for those aged 55 and above will be closed:
    • The CPF SA funds will then be channelled to the Retirement Account (RA) to fulfil the Full Retirement Sum (FRS).
    • Any remaining funds in the CPF SA will be moved to the CPF Ordinary Account (OA).
  • From 2025, the CPF Enhanced Retirement Sum (ERS) will be raised to quadruple the Basic Retirement Sum (BRS), setting the ERS at $426,000.

The CPF shielding hack will no longer be relevant from 2025 as the SA account will be closed. 

The Ministry of Finance explained that:

As a principle, only savings that cannot be withdrawn on demand should earn the long-term interest rate, and savings that can be withdrawn on demand should earn the short-term interest rate.

If you are a CPF member, here is what you can do when your CPF SA closes in 2025:

  1. Keep your money in the OA
  2. Move money to the Retirement Account (RA) up to the prevailing ERS limit
  3. Withdraw your money from your OA

Additionally, for everyone at least 55 years old in 2025, their SA will be closed retroactively, and the funds will be managed in the same manner as mentioned above.

For those who continue to work past 55, contributions that would have gone into the SA will instead be directed to the RA. Once the FRS is achieved, any additional funds will be transferred to the OA and may be withdrawn.

CPF SA Account Closure FAQs

After this announcement of the upcoming CPF SA closure, I am sure that many of you have burning questions. There are five of the most common ones, as answered by CPF:

Source: CPF | Facebook

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About Joel Koh
History student turned writer at Seedly. Before you ask, not a teacher. I hope to help people make better financial decisions and not let money control them.
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