HDB , Condominium or CPF ( for Retirement ) ?

It has been continuously being a hot topic about whether one should transfer their CPF money from OA ( Ordinary Account ) to SA ( Special Account ) to earn a higher return of interest rate.

Different people ( bloggers ) are having a different view about this issue and each might have their own valid reasons or argument to put forward. 

AK ( a famous financial blogger )  being advocate of transferring money from OA to SA and managed to do this for himself which allow him to happily and enjoy collecting significant amount of interest from CPF Board by end of each year.

You may read more detail of his blogs on this issue on this LINK :

Another brilliant blogger ( InvestmentMoats.com ) and famous for his High Yield Dividend Stocks Tracker is having different view on the issue .

Again , here is the LINK :

Also , a very good view to “juggle “ between “ Housing vs Retirement “ by using CPF money by another fellow blogger SG Young Investment , please find the LINK here:

Recently ,  Cai HaoXiang  from The Business Time have an interesting article on the issue as well :   Why I won't be transferring my CPF OA to the SA

According to him ,  “The opportunity cost of locking a source of liquidity up in the SA in my younger days is too much, compared to what I can do with the money.
The benefits, meanwhile, are limited, if I don't give a very long time for the SA to compound way into my 70s or 80s. “

So , how ? shall we maintain our money at OA to enjoy “flexibility “ of using it for our property purchase ? or shall we “maximize “ of transferring it  to SA in order to have the magnificent of “ The Eighth Wonder of the world “ of compound interest , let our money growth in SA in view of higher interest rate .

Both might be right and if we are not so sure on which to follow , it might be wise to go for “middle path “ by adopting the “ Doctrine of Mean “ in Confucianism

image credit to weibo.com

Concept Explained : 之道 Doctrine of the Mean 

The Doctrine of the Mean (Chinese: 中庸; pinyin: Zhōng yōng) is both a doctrine of Confucianism and also the title of one of the Four Books  (Sishu 四書) of Confucian philosophy.

The text is attributed to Zisi子思  (also known as Kong Ji孔伋 ), the only grandson of Confucius. It was published as a chapter in the Classic of Rites.( Liji 禮記)

The phrase Doctrine of the Mean (zhōng yōng) first occurs in Book VI, verse 29 of the Analects of Confucius:
The Master [Confucius] said, the virtue embodied in the doctrine of the Mean is of the highest order. But it has long been rare among people.
— Analects, 6:29 (Burton Watson tr.)

Analects never expands on what this term means, but Zisi's text, Doctrine of the Mean, explores its meaning in detail, as well as how to apply it to one's life. The text was adopted into the canon of the Neo-Confucian movement, as compiled by Zhu Xi.

The concept of "the Mean" is a core idea of Confucianism. It says that in all activities and thoughts one has to adhere to moderation. This will result in harmony in action, and eventually in a harmonious society. Pure harmony without wandering from the central tone (an image from the music), and standing in the centre without leaning towards one side will keep all social positions stable.

A man in a high position must not be arrogant, otherwise the people will rebel. Simple-minded persons in high position must not think of their own profit, otherwise the social structures will be disrupted. 

Wisdom (zhi  智), Kindheartedness (ren ) and Courage (yong ) are thre three virtues of the mean way that will keep stable all social relations. 

The cultivation of the self, the regulation of the society and the government of a whole state all depend on the adequate behaviour of each part of society which has to be geared to the mean and the centre. A very important aspect treated in the Zhongyong is Sincerity (cheng ). 

I think the most important things is to “strike” a balance between the need for retirement and fund to be used for property. One should not be “over leverage “ or committed on property which may resulted depletion of fund for future retirement .

For me , I am contented with staying in HDB rather than using my CPF to purchase a condominium ( of course , as I mentioned , everyone may have their own view and needs for better and bigger house , is matter of choice ! ) and I am happily collecting the interest given by CPF Board yearly to cater for my retirement.

We can’t really say “ This is rule of thumb “ and all should follow , each one may have their own “priority “ on things which they matter most in their life , again , it is about finding your priority and balance  in your life.

Cheers !!

Quote Of The Day :

"Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you. " by Lao Zi ( 老子 )

PS :
Mr & Mrs STE think that allowing these interest to accumulate in CPF will act as “cushion “ in facing any market volatility and turmoil. These AAA rating Bond will give us a “ peace of mind “ if anything happen in our portfolio and dividend in coming years .

Of course , one need to take note that the interest rate offer by CPF Board subject to change and possibility of reduction in coming years ...


  1. Understanding the difference between (1) Planning for retirement early and moving ahead year-on-year and (2) Planning for retirement early and getting lock-up for retirement way ahead of its time.

    In Hokkien, Kiang zhu ho, mai kay kiang

    Kiang zhu ho translates as “you can be smart” and mai kay kiang is “don’t try to be too smart”.

    Life ahead is full of uncertainty especially for the married couples with younger children and dependents. We have to be triple careful of locked up financial decision way ahead of its time. During life crisis; Cash is King to meet immediate or near-term needs.

  2. Hi Uncle,
    Yah, life is full of uncertainty and cash is king under such situations. .since the money lock up is irreversible. ..one need to be triple careful in their actions. .
    Cheers! !

  3. Hi STE,

    Sticky subject. IMO, there is no perfect solution. Some endorse and some object till the end. Both are right from their perspective.

    What we could do (within our control) is to know how can we use the system or policy (CPF, HDB, etc) to our benefits base on our own circumstances and preference.

    For example, as a baby boomer, I started my first home with HDB and then upgrade to private after 5 years MOP. I was fortunate to had 100% capital. So, it is part luck and part 'exploiting' HDB rule.

    As for CPF, thanks for the 'force' saving for retirement. Now I can 'reap what we sow". Soon I will have perpetual annuity for life. Did I plan for it? No, I didn't. 傻人有傻福!

    Change your perspective, change your life. (Eugene Loh, 938)

    1. Hi Ray!
      Yes! Indeed, one need to look at their own situation. .each one may have their own preference and need ...but as what you rightly pointed out. .no right or wrong ..also.. one need to be careful on their commitment on property and not to over commit or over leverage. ..I also start with smaller 3 room flat at the early stages although can afford for 5 rooms. .fully paid then upgrade later. .same time, let some money growth in CPF. . :)

  4. I would suggest before doing voluntary contribution or CPF SA top ups, make sure we have at least 6 months of emergency funds before doing so.

    1. Hi betta man !
      Yah! Is very important to hv emergency funds and not to stretch out to extreme, as we do not know if anything could happen. .that's really prudent!
      Cheers 👍!

  5. STE : A tricky question indeed. There is no one size fit all or correct model answer for all, to each its own.. No right no wrong, just do what we think is right!

    1. Hi Richard !,
      Yap ! is really a tricky question , no right or wrong or rule of thumb to follow ,,, each individual may have their own preference and problems .. is very much depending on their own scenario to judge the decision ,,, case by case . :)
      Cheers !!

  6. Hi,
    1/3 of the CPF can be used to invest in the REITs to collect at least 5% interest while the rest can be used for the housing commitment. I still stay in a condo and my housing mortgage is around $2800 per month and with the CPF interest and REITs dividend together with monthly contribution, I and my wife can handle the housing with ease. For the SA, we invested in the Fist state Fund and. manulife balanced (now have been liquidated) to earn a higher inteest rate. So far so good!

    1. Hi Meng Choon,
      Great ! happy to know that you are doing well in juggling the requirement for "need for retirement and owning a property " .. :)
      also glad to know that you have liquidated the manulife balance fund to get better interest in SA under such uncertain market..
      Cheers !!


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