Get Fast Cash, High Returns With CPF Savings?
Do Not Invest Based on Promises of Quick and Attractive Returns Alone
You may have heard of offers of quick and attractive returns when you invest your CPF savings. Be careful not to invest your CPF savings based on such promises alone.
Think long term. Your CPF savings are for your old age needs. You should thus invest your CPF with a view to growing your nest egg instead of taking risky decisions to earn a quick profit or receive gifts. This article provides some tips that you should note before you invest your CPF savings.
TIP 1: Always consider the risks
Do not be attracted to headline rates alone. All investments come with risk. If a product offers a high potential return, chances are that it would also be accompanied with high risks. This is true even for financial products included in the CPF Investment Scheme (CPFIS). There is no guarantee that any product will always be profitable.
Always ask what the risks are. Know how much investment risk you can afford to take. Make sure you choose investments that you are comfortable with and are suitable for your long-term goals.
TIP 2: Weigh the expected returns against the risk-free returns* offered by CPF
The diagram below provides a summary of the interest rates paid by CPF Board. If you are not confident that your investment can earn more than the returns offered by CPF Board, it is better to leave your money in your CPF account and earn risk-free interest rates.
* Please refer to www.cpf.gov.sg for details and any further updates.
TIP 3: Find out how the product works
There are many different types of investment products in the market. Always find out how the product works before you decide whether to invest your CPF savings.
Here are a few key areas you should find out:
i. How does the investment product work? What does the product invest in?
ii. What are the risks? Can you tolerate these risks? As a general rule, the shorter your investment time horizon, the less investment risk you should take.
iii. What are the costs? Over the long term, high expenses can drag down the profits gained from investing in even the better-performing investments.
iv. How much do you have to invest? Consider how taking up the investment could affect your CPF balance that you need for other purposes such as financing your housing loan payments.
v. How long do you have to stay invested? What happens if you decide to terminate your investment earlier? Note that charges may be imposed or you may lose some of your earlier investments if you terminate an investment prematurely.
Do not invest in any product that you do not understand or are not comfortable with.
TIP 4: Before switching investments, check if the switch would benefit you
If you have already invested your CPF savings, you may be asked to consider switching your investment from one fund to another; or from one product to another.
Always find out how the recommended switch would benefit you, even if the recommendation is from someone that you know very well or hold in high regard.
Here are a few key questions you should ask:
i. What is the purpose of the switch?
ii. Would the switch give me better returns than the current product or interest currently paid by CPF?
iii. What are the potential disadvantages associated with the switch?
iv. Am I entitled to any free switching options? If not, how much the switch would cost? Note that you may be charged a switching fee or incur fresh front-end charges.
TIP 5: Do not invest or switch based on offers of gifts and cash rebates
Even if you are offered gifts /rebates for investing under CPFIS, bear in mind that these must be converted to cash or bonus units which must be refunded back to your account.
Consumers who receive cash rebates for any investment under the CPF Investment Scheme should lodge a report with CPF Board immediately. CPF Board will then arrange for the cash rebate to be credited back to the consumer’s CPF account. Members or intermediaries found to have siphoned out CPF monies through the offering/receiving of cash rebates could face legal action by CPF Board.
TIP 6: Diversify your investments and review them regularly
If you do decide to invest your CPF savings, consider spreading your investments among asset classes (e.g. stocks, bonds and cash equivalents) and among different products within each asset class. Don’t put all your eggs into one basket!
Do also review your investments regularly. Do this at least once a year to take stock of the investment performance, consider whether you are on track towards achieving your investment objectives, and adjust your investment portfolio according to your needs.
TIP 7: Keep your NRIC No. and SingPass confidential
You should keep your NRIC No. and SingPass confidential at all times and not disclose them to anyone. Also, you should not sign on any blank transaction forms belonging to product providers or distributors. Otherwise, there is a risk that someone could authorise transactions for your CPF monies without your knowledge and/or approval.
In summary, invest your CPF monies prudently. Consider the suitability of the products according to your individual risk appetite and investment objectives. Do not invest based on promotional gifts and rebates.
If you are not confident in investing on your own, it is better to leave your money in your CPF account and earn risk-free interest rates.
The above information is prepared in collaboration with the CPF Board.