Friday, 14 July 2017

Should we use our Annual Performance Bonus to Top up our CPF?


As an employee, we would work very hard to secure our monthly pay-check and the ultimate annual performance bonus. Recently, I was engaged in various discussions on how to use our bonus. Some people even told me that the sum of money is causing them a headache because they do not know how to use it! Alamak, I really won’t mind helping you to solve this problem! 😜
So what would I do with my performance bonus?
For the initial years of my career, they would all end up transforming into shares investment or into my future funds such as emergency funds as well as expenses for wedding, house renovation, etc. From last year onward, I started to set aside up to S$7K to perform voluntary cash top-up to my CPF Special Account. Why? 
Like many, my initial considerations were just for the tax reliefs, potential gain from the CPF interest rate and to max up my CPF SA as quickly as possible. Later on, I wanted to open up the option of using my CPF OA money to pay for subsequent property investment. As I could only use the excess CPF OA savings above the CPF Basic Retirement Sum* for the purchase, cash top-ups & their interest returns would help to accelerate this process. My latest thought was that the money in CPF could also act as an “insurance” or “monetary support” for my wife/family members in the event that I suddenly pass on. Minimally the money could help to cover arising related expenses for my family. My personal philosophy on this is:
“We can be positive about the future but must be prepared and responsible for what happens next
Simply, I want to still be responsible for related matters even for the future beyond my life. If you are interested to find out more about cash top up to your CPF SA, I will recommend to start off with EzHuat’s article here.
Rambling a bit more about a related discussion among my fellow Huats, YoloHuat pointed out that people might not want to perform cash-top ups due to their upcoming payment needs. For this case, I fully agreed with her. Topping up our CPF is still an investment, and we should only do it using our spare cash! Recall that my personal experiences (see post) taught me to: ONLY INVEST WITH MY SPARE CASH.
There is no one-way of using our annual performance bonus and it would depend on the outcome that we hope to achieve. We have a choice on what we want to get out of it, for a good vacation to reward our family and ourselves, or for investments to prepare for financial-freedom, etc. Nothing right or wrong. Ultimately, we just have to be comfortable with the decisions made and be responsible for the subsequent outcome. :)
* Note that the Basic Retirement Sum is reviewed by CPF every year. As of now, savings in our CPF OA & SA (including amt used for investment under CPFIS-SA) can be used to meet this required amount.
Together, let us all Go & Huat ah!
GoHuat

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