5 things I learnt at the CPF Retirement Planning Roadshow

Despite the importance of CPF to our lives, I must admit I’ve mostly taken it for granted. I only started paying more attention to it when it was time to seriously consider my first home purchase.

So when I heard of a CPF Retirement Planning Roadshow near my house, I seized the opportunity to learn more about financial and retirement planning from the experts. Here are 5 key learnings I took away from my time at the roadshow.




Digital panel that shows my 3 basic needs in retirement.

1. Retirement planning is not scary

Quick! Can you name the 3 basic needs of retirement in the next 5 seconds? Stepping into Zone 1 of the CPF Roadshow, I realised that I certainly couldn’t.

As someone who finds retirement planning daunting, the interactive digital panels provided an easy breakdown on meeting housing, healthcare and retirement income needs. This includes the ability to use my CPF Ordinary Account savings towards housing, taking charge of my healthcare costs with Medisave and MediShield Life and ensuring a steady retirement income with CPF LIFE.

Discovering that CPF has provided a foundation for retirement has given me the push I needed to start planning for my golden years.


Augmented Reality game that allows me to make financial decisions for a fictional character.

2. Everyday financial decisions can affect my retirement

If you’re around my age, you probably find it hard to envision your retirement lifestyle. I did too, until I tried CPF’s augmented reality game. Through an interactive and immersive virtual experience, I took a walk through the life journey of Han Seng, an everyday Singaporean.

I was prompted to make decisions for Han Seng at each stage of his life – decisions that affected his housing, healthcare and retirement savings. For instance, when Han Seng was diagnosed with dengue fever, I had to weigh various pros and cons and decide if he would stay at a Class A or Class B hospital ward. Putting myself in his shoes, truly brought home the impact that simple financial decisions have on retirement plans. The retirement selfie printout I received at the end was a fun element to end the whole augmented reality experience.


This shows how much I need to save for my retirement.

3. How much I need depends on my desired retirement lifestyle

Next up was what I like to call the Maths zone. Using the interactive Retirement Estimator, I found out how much I need to save for my golden years and how CPF LIFE helps provide me with lifelong monthly payouts in retirement. I punched in my desired monthly retirement income of $3,000 and out came a receipt with the lump sum of $1,091,294 I’d need to sustain my anticipated retirement lifestyle.

While it was comforting to know that the CPF savings I’ve been setting aside would take care of a portion of my desired retirement income, it made me realise that I couldn’t depend solely on CPF LIFE for retirement if I hoped to enjoy a similar lifestyle in future. My desired retirement savings were a lot higher than I expected, which meant I’d better start saving more, soon!


Digital calculator showing how much I will need to save based on my desired lifestyle.

4. I have options to make the most of my CPF

The ways in which CPF can be used may be limited. But I learnt that I could certainly make my CPF savings work a lot harder! Here, I found out how I can take care of loved ones and grow my CPF savings through interactive touch screens and calculators. I may not be at an age where retirement is a pressing concern as yet, but my parents certainly came to mind.

Digital panels with options to perform cash top-ups or simulate transfers to my Special Account or Retirement Account, allowed me to visualise growing my own or my loved ones’ retirement savings. The whole experience left me feeling like I could do something positive for my parents with savings I’d previously taken for granted such as making a top-up to my dad’s Medisave account to ensure he has enough to take care of his healthcare needs in retirement.


These money bags represent my lifelong payouts in retirement.

5. I can get higher CPF LIFE monthly payouts without putting in more cash

Before attending the roadshow, I’d known that CPF LIFE provides Singaporeans with lifelong monthly payouts after retirement. But what I hadn’t realised was that starting CPF LIFE later would give me higher monthly payouts.

Interacting with tactile exhibition panels made me aware of how much more my parents could get if they deferred their payouts between 65 and 70 years old. After the roadshow, I was able to pass my learnings on to my parents and other older family members, and better advise them.


CPF Roadshow activity checklist for rewards.




Whether it was the augmented reality experience or interactive display panels, I was continually engaged throughout the CPF Roadshow. And we’ve not even talked about the claw machines and life-sized Jenga yet! On a whole, the Roadshow was a lot more fun than I’d expected – making concepts I’d previously struggled with, more understandable.

The Big ‘R’ Chat booths allowed for one-on-one question and answer sessions with CPF ambassadors. For instance, I found out how much of my CPF savings I could use for the down payment of my house. A nice touch to the event was the “Message to Myself” booth where I could set retirement goals to be mailed back to me in 2018.

If you have missed the CPF Retirement Planning Roadshows this year, you can visit the Big ‘R’ Chat website to try out some of the interactive tools mentioned in this article while waiting for the next series in 2018.


I had my personal Q&A session with the CPF ambassadors.


Claire Chow
24/7 digital nomad
Part-time sashimi aficionado and proud house owner.