Part of the 2,000 or so retiring CPF members who attended the seminar. Their ages added up to more than 100,000 years!
In a few months' time, I will be 55. In the blink of an eye, I have worked more than 30 years with my current employer. I have collected Long Service Awards (LSA) countless times. (I am lucky to have a benevolent employer who gives out LSA every 5 years from the 15th year of employment onwards.) It seems like only yesterday that I wrote this post when I turned 50.
Most working Singaporeans know that turning 55 is a watershed in their lives. You will be considered a senior citizen if there is a GST offset package again and you will be given a Senior Citizen's Bonus. You also qualify for Senior Citizen Admission Rates when you visit most of National Heritage Board's museums. However, you age slower when you travel on our public transport system - you don't qualify for its Senior Citizen Concession Card until you turn 60. (Could it be that driving on Singapore roads is so stressful that it makes you age faster? Must be due to the frequent traffic jams and the exorbitant COE and ERP charges that you have to pay when you drive. So if you take public transport, you are not considered a senior citizen until you are 60.)
In preparation for the big day, I attended Central Provident Fund (CPF)'s "Celebrating 55! Seminar" on 27 June 2010 (Sunday). According to CPF's website, at the seminar, members "will find out what happens to their CPF savings when they reach 55, and learn about the new CPF LIFE scheme. A guest speaker from MoneySENSE will share useful financial planning tips on how to invest in one’s golden years".
It's a bittersweet feeling. I'm happy that I'll be collecting the fruits of my labour (never mind if for me, it's only 30%) after more than 3 decades of hard work. At the same time, I'm sad that I'll soon be considered neither productive nor reproductive. My total CPF contribution rate was slashed from 35% to 29% barely 5 years ago and it would be further cut down by another 8.5% when I reach 55. (Refer to table here.) Tell me if that is not a way of saying that I am not so productive.
However, I am grateful that I can still collect 30% of my total CPF balance. Tough luck for those who turn 55 after 2013 - they get nothing unless they could set aside the required minimum sums in their Medisave and Retirement Accounts.
The CPF Board presented everyone who attended the seminar a "Celebrating 55 Years" umbrella. If I walk the streets of Chinatown or Geylang with this umbrella, I am likely to attract female streetwalkers who are more interested in turning my 公积金 (CPF) into 供妓金 (fund for prostitutes). So I must be very careful where I use my
The CPF is really thoughtful. In addition to the handy
Most of us know that the golden egg signifies our valuable CPF nest egg or retirement savings. But suddenly, I realise that CPF might be sending me another message. Putting the 2 eggs together with the umbrella, I get this:
Hmm... maybe they are telling me that I will still be reproductive after 55? In that case, I really ought to be very careful where I use my CPF.