What is CPF LIFE?

Understanding about CPF Schemes

One-Stop Financial Website Icon (CPF LIFE)

CPF Lifelong Income For The Elderly (CPF LIFE) Scheme is a national longevity insurance annuity scheme that insures you against running out of your retirement savings when you reach your payout eligibility age. 

CPF LIFE provides you with a monthly payout for as long as you live.

Table of Contents

What is CPF LIFE?

Before we jump into the plan with the best return, here’s a quick introduction to CPF LIFE.

One-Stop Financial CPF - CPF LIFE
Source: CPF Board

When you turn age 55, a Retirement account will be created with savings from your Special Account (SA) and Ordinary Account (OA).

You need to set aside a retirement sum ($181k based on Year 2020) in your Retirement Account. This retirement sum is then used to participate in the CPF LIFE, which will pay out a monthly income for life from age 65.

5 Facts of CPF LIFE

One-Stop Financial CPF - CPF LIFE 5 facts
One-Stop Financial CPF - 5FactsOfCPFLIFE (1)
One-Stop Financial CPF - 5FactsOfCPFLIFE (2A)

Why do we need CPF LIFE?

With increasing advances in technology and healthcare, we are likely to live longer than our grandparents’ or parents’ generation. This also means that we need to spend more years in retirement


The figure below shows the life expectancy rates at age 65 published by the Department of Statistics.

One-Stop Financial CPF LifeExpectancyStatistics
These statistics give us a snapshot of life expectancy. Over time, life expectancy will increase as younger cohorts are healthier and will live longer

Due to rising longevity and difficulty in predicting how long we will live, we face some uncertainty when planning for our retirement. To enjoy our retirement years, we should be adequately prepared for a longer retirement; otherwise, we may have nothing to live on when our savings are depleted. Hence, we need CPF LIFE to protect ourselves and have a regular stream of income for as long as we live

How does CPF LIFE provide payouts for life?

When you join CPF LIFE, the premium for your CPF LIFE plan will be paid with CPF savings.

The CPF LIFE premium will earn 4% base interest and extra interest of up to 2% (on the first $60,000 of your combined CPF balances). Your CPF LIFE monthly payouts will first be paid from your CPF LIFE premium.* When your CPF LIFE premium is depleted, you will continue to receive the monthly payouts for as long as you live from the interest that you and other CPF LIFE members have accumulated.

With CPF LIFE, you will never encounter a situation where you run out of monthly payout in your old age, when income may be hardest to come by.

*Note: This is applicable to the CPF LIFE Standard and Escalating plans.

How much will my beneficiaries receive if I pass away?

When you pass away, CPF will pay your CPF LIFE premium balance (if any) together with any remaining CPF savings to your beneficiaries. In other words, you and your loved ones will always get back the amount of CPF LIFE premium that you have put into CPF LIFE.

One-Stop Financial CPF - CPF LIFE Bequest

What are the CPF LIFE plans available?

There are three CPF LIFE plans available – Standard Plan, Escalating Plan and Basic Plan. The plans differ in terms of the monthly payout you would receive.

Standard Plan offers stable and level lifelong monthly payouts. It is also the default plan. It is suitable for people who are willing to cope with higher prices in the years ahead by buying less and living a more modest lifestyle.

Escalating Plan offers lower initial monthly payouts which will increase by 2% every year. This allows you to maintain your standard of living even as things you need become more expensive over the years.

The Basic Plan is a legacy option that offers lower monthly payouts which will get progressively lower.

How much will my CPF LIFE payout be?

Your CPF LIFE monthly payouts would depend mostly on the amount of CPF LIFE premium that you paid with your CPF savings to join CPF LIFE. Other factors are gender, age, the CPF LIFE plan, CPF interest rates and mortality rates. The monthly payouts and CPF LIFE premium amounts are determined by an independent actuarial consultant.

The table below provides you with the estimated monthly payout you will receive based on:

  • the CPF LIFE premium you paid to join CPF LIFE; and
  • the type of CPF LIFE plan.
Note: These monthly payouts are estimates for members who turn 65 in 2030, computed as of 2020. Payouts may also be adjusted to account for long-term changes in interest rates or mortality experience. Such adjustments (if any) are expected to be small and gradual.

How does the CPF LIFE plans compare with each other?​

You are only required to choose your CPF LIFE plan at the time you wish to start receiving your monthly payouts, which can be anytime between your payout eligibility age and age 70.

One-Stop Financial CPF - Choosing CPF LIFE Plans

How does the CPF LIFE plans compare with each other?​

The following graph would make more sense and help in making our understanding concrete. Depending on the plan that was chosen, the following shows the payout with time

One-Stop Financial CPF - CPF LIFE Annuity Payout 1
The graph shows payouts till the age 95. Income payout continues for the entire lifetime
One-Stop Financial CPF - CPF LIFE Bequest Payout 1
The graph highlights the capital guarantee . Example: legacy left in case of early demise of the annuitant

While CPF Life does provide some form of bequest, it also means that the longer a person lives, the lower the amount of bequest that will be distributed to your loved ones.

How can I increase my CPF LIFE monthly payouts?

You can increase your CPF LIFE monthly payouts in two ways:

  1. 1. You or your loved ones can make cash top-ups and/or CPF transfers into your Retirement Account (RA), up to the prevailing Enhanced Retirement Sum.
  1. 2. You can start your CPF LIFE payouts at age 65. However, if you are still working and have other sources of income, you may wish to defer receiving your payouts. This will enable your CPF savings to accumulate more interest, which will boost your future retirement income. For each year that you defer, your CPF LIFE monthly payouts will increase by up to 7%. The maximum deferment period you can choose is up to age 70.

How will I receive my CPF LIFE monthly payouts?

The monthly payouts from CPF LIFE will be paid directly into your bank account each month.

What must I do to be included in CPF LIFE?

You will automatically be included in CPF LIFE to enjoy lifelong payouts if:

  • you are a Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident born in 1958 or after; and
  • have at least $60,000 in your Retirement Account six months before you reach age 65.

If you meet the criteria above, we will write to you to further explain the options you have and the choices you have to make. If you have not chosen a CPF LIFE plan by the time you turn age 70, we will automatically place you on the CPF LIFE Standard Plan and start your payouts at age 70.

If you are a Singaporean Citizen or Permanent Resident who does not meet the above requirements, you can still choose to join CPF LIFE, at anytime from age 65 to one month before you reach 80 years old.

How do I choose to join CPF LIFE?

You can join CPF LIFE anytime from age 65 to one month before you reach 80 years old, by following the steps below:

  1. 1. Login to my cpf Online Services with your SingPass.
  2. 2. Click on My Requests > CPF LIFE > Apply for CPF LIFE

I am an existing CPF LIFE member. How do I increase my lifelong payouts via a top-up to my Retirement Account?

If you are already on CPF LIFE and would like to increase your payouts for life, you can top up your Retirement Account and increase your CPF LIFE premium by following the steps below:

    1. 1. Login to my cpf Online Services with your SingPass.
    2. 2. Click on My Requests > CPF LIFE > Apply to Increase CPF LIFE Premium

Ready to start?

Speak to us today for a financial health check and how you can better plan your finances
Enjoy? Share with your friends
Share on whatsapp
Share on telegram
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on google
Share on pinterest
Share on linkedin