This week alone, I’ve probably seen more than 50 cases of individuals taunting off their CPF publicly on various online portals and forums that appears on my message feeds, without bothering to explain the rationale of why they did so.
I’m sure the scene was meant to be inspiring but taken out of context on a larger picture, it seems a tad sad to mention because it shows once again why are a society of competing in the first place.
Being competitive was one of the main traits that has been engrained in many of the Singaporeans’ mindset. That has kept most people going for more each time in a hungry world where we want to simply be better than our neighbour at all other expense.
From young, we are constantly being challenged to race ahead of others from grades to the number of tuitions to the type of holiday destinations that we go.
The benchmark for success for many people is their peers and neighbours and this out of tune illustrations will prove why it is a damaging bridge to the society.
Take this 3 cases below for instance.
Surely, your first reaction is they must have done pretty well over the years to have accumulated a sizeable amount of CPF balances. Assuming a maximum contribution of $2,220 per month based on your employment, you will minimally need to be working between 3.5 to 4 years based on your profile.
But that’s about all the story it tells.
A person who posted these balances without explaining the rationale and information such as history of utilizing the CPF or whether the person has bought a house or have children will then be meaningless because the context can vary a lot.
For instance, what is the rationale of case 1 and 2 for having so much in their Special Account? Were they single at the time they made the transfer from OA to SA? Were they someone who were not planning to get married, purchase a house or have children? Or were they someone who has just cleared off all their outstanding home loans and now making a switch to accelerate their FRS retirement needs.
What if this person from Case 1 with a lower CPF balance but is younger and owns multiple assets and higher equities outside?
To have someone who writes that they are earning a free $5k, $7k, $10k or $25k interests from the government that are “risk-free” without explaining the context just irked me off because it doesn’t add any sort of value to the public reading it for the first time other than the intention to show off.
Most of these stories are then taken out of context from the general public who brings about the wrong awareness of what CPF truly has to offer.
From one of the reader that I’ve talked to recently, I also get a feeling that the CPF 4% interests narratives on the Special Account has also been overly emphasized and taken out of context from people who were following their peers blindly and were actually unsure of what they were really doing with their lives and having the things that they want or not.
The chase for higher returns and what every of their random online peers are doing push them into making some of these decisions that they might feel is not the best at their stages of lives.
|Case: CPF 1
|Case: CPF 2
|Case: CPF 3
To be on the fair side, I think there’s a good reasonable amount of people who actually bothers to explain the rationale of each allocation that they put inside the maths of computing their CPF balances on the path to eventual FRS needs.
And this is what we need especially when trying to reach out to a larger audience beyond someone who is already savvy in the personal finance space.
But judging by the amount of one liner post in the past 1 week shows exactly why the Singapore finance community remains a backward society despite the many recent successes of a growing community.
It forms a tribe and a new embryo of circle where people motivates one another through competing against one another and wanting to be better than peers of X age by Y amount.
In fact, there’s hardly anyone who has actually benchmark against oneself over how that person has done differently over the years and what sort of circumstances led to that decision.
Instead, the focus has been competing for the highest absolute amount of CPF accounts balance with the most amount of top-ups competing against the benchmark of peers.
This is a first world problem and in another form of cannibal competing.
Thanks for reading.