Let’s face it: securing a stable retirement income depends on the choices we make today. Here we’ve rounded up the best retirement plans on the market for your dream retirement.
Nobody wants to be stranded in their retirement years. There’s always that risk, however – since we (hopefully) won’t be in the rat race by the time we reach retirement age. Hey, they’re called the best years of your life for a reason!
To ensure a guaranteed stream of income through your golden years, retirement plans are the lifeboats you need to get through.
How do retirement plans work?
You pay a monthly / one-time premium for a fixed period during your working years. Once you reach your retirement age, you can receive a monthly payment for life or a fixed number of years, depending on which plan you have chosen.
By default, most of us are already covered by a national retirement plan called CPF LIFE, which provides monthly payouts for life before reaching retirement age. But can we only count on it as a source of income in our golden years?
For a blissful retirement we all deserve, let’s take a closer look at some of the best retirement offers out there, namely NTUC Income Gro Retire Ease, AIA Retirement Saver (III), Aviva MyLifeIncome II, and Manulife RetireReady Plus II.
What Are The Best Pension Plans In Singapore?
|Retirement plan||Highlights||Duration of the payouts|
|NTUC Income Gro Retire Ease||
The choice to save for 10 or 15 years or until the age of 50, 55, 60 or 65
Withdraw and spend withdrawals or park in savings for an interest rate of up to 3.25 percent per year
Guaranteed acceptance regardless of your state of health
With the basic plan, you can get back any rewards you have paid
Possible bonuses through the Life Participating Fund
|10, 20 or 30 years|
|AIA Retirement Saver (III)||
Once you reach retirement age, get back the capital you invested
Potential monthly dividends that increase about 5 percent each year as you retire
Potential return of up to 4.73 percent after the policy expires
Get a one-time Terminal Benefit (not guaranteed) as an additional bonus
|15 or 20 years|
|Aviva MyLifeIncome II||
Guaranteed annual income for life
Payouts of up to 6.35 percent of the insured amount per year, 100 percent capital, which is guaranteed at the end of the accumulation period or earlier
Provides cover for death and terminal illness
Pay rewards with cash or SRSE. Enjoy a refresher bonus of 0.05 percent of the sum insured for the long-term maintenance of the policy
|Manulife RetireReady Plus II||
The insurance cover covers death and terminal illness. Waiver of complete and permanent disability (TPD)
Additional payouts of up to 100 percent of the guaranteed monthly income in the event of loss of independence
Flexibility to adjust the income payout period at any time up to 2 years before retirement age
|Lifespan or over a period of 5, 10, 15 or 20 years|
NTUC Income Gro Retire Ease
How do you like your foundation plan, participating or not participating?
If you answered yes to the former, this plan is for you. Get the chance to reap bonuses through the Life Participating Fund – should it perform well. With an interest rate of up to 3.25 percent, it can hold its own against the other competitors on the list.
In terms of flexibility, it shines. Policyholders have the freedom to save for 10 or 15 years or until the age of 50, 55, 60 or 65 – as every pension plan is different. However, there is no lifetime payout under this plan. The monthly cash payment is maximum after 30 years.
AIA Retirement Saver (III)
Concerned About Inflation? Monthly dividends may increase by approximately 5 percent each year, provided the dividends are reported in the policy chart each year.
Since Singapore’s inflation rate will average 1.46 percent in 2025, the monthly dividend rate will be an effective hedge against inflation and an increase in your retirement income. The plan’s potential return on investment is also not to be sniffed at, with a return of up to 4.73 percent when due.
However, options are missing in the monthly payout period. You can only choose between 15 and 20 years of age. On the positive side, policyholders receive a one-off (non-guaranteed) final dividend in addition to the monthly dividends.
Think of this as an additional bonus that you can use to top up your retirement savings or even as a small token to your family when the policy is drawn down, handed over or when the policy becomes due.
Aviva MyLifeIncome II
If your goal is to earn a lifetime income, MyLifeIncome II should be at the top of your list. Receive high payouts of up to 6.35 percent of the sum insured every year, consisting of a guaranteed cash advantage and cash bonus.
If you want to pay your premiums through your SRS funds, this plan can be used. In the protected area, the plan includes both deaths and incurable diseases.
Opt for a one-time premium payment or a premium payment period of 3, 5, 10, 15, 20 or 25 years.
There are also numerous accumulation period options available to suit your needs – 4 to 20 years (for a one-time premium), 2 to 20 years (for a 3-year term), or 0 to 20 years (for 5, 10, 15), 20 or 25 year premium term).
Manulife RetireReady Plus II
This Manulife product does what it says on the tin and really equips you with what you need to prepare for retirement.
Choose how long you would prefer monthly income for a lifetime or a period of 5, 10, 15 or 20 years. In particular, this plan is the most generous when it comes to its perks: death and incurable disease coverage and total and permanent disability (TPD) premium waiver.
If you meet the conditions for loss of independence (such as hearing loss and severe head trauma), you will receive up to 100 percent of the guaranteed monthly income.
Should you find yourself on the receiving end of a premature cut exercise, you can rest assured that you will receive a lump sum payout that will overwhelm you.
But how can these private retirement plans hold up against CPF LIFE?
An abundance of options for the term of the premium payment and the accumulation period to suit your individual age needs
Option to park your savings instead of withdrawing them so they can grow with more interests
Choose if you’d like to receive withdrawals earlier than CPF LIFEP. Employees include insurance coverage, bonuses and benefits – depending on the plan you choose
Some plans don’t offer lifetime payouts as there is a risk that the payout will survive
Cannot keep up with CPF LIFE’s guaranteed and risk-free interest rate of up to 6 percent
* Premiums cannot be paid through CPF Savings (with the exception of Aviva MyLife Income II, which enables premium payment through SRS).
The membership base is not as large as with CPF LIFE as there is no risk pooling
* Including up to 2 percent additional interest from the government
As we noted earlier, private retirement plans come with a fair amount of bells and whistles (e.g., insurance coverage, premium waivers, and premiums).
However, when you compare them to our national pension system, several aspects are not taken into account, most notably the guaranteed returns and the duration of the payout.
While private retirement plans promise tempting interest rates at first glance, the crux of the matter is that those interest rates consist of both guaranteed and non-guaranteed components.
When the unguaranteed component doesn’t work well, you can count on the guaranteed interest rate, which isn’t as high as you might have thought (think about the 2 percent area).
Additionally, not all retirement plans promise a lifetime payout.
Aside from Aviva MyLifeIncome II and Manulife RetireReady Plus II, the other pension plans only offer a fixed term. This means you may survive the monthly payouts, also known as the main reason you were considering a retirement plan in the first place.
Added to this are the essentially risk-free returns from CPF LIFE. As a national system, it can spread the risk across a larger population.
Likewise, due to the accrued interest, you can enjoy monthly payouts for life – even after the premiums have been used up.
Bottom line: which plan should you choose?
Each plan has its own specifics and benefits as they meet different needs. Even so, the ultimate goal of achieving financial stability in your golden years remains the same. CPF LIFE is sticking to its retirement plan and will serve Singaporeans well in their retirement years.
However, if you have room in your budget to improve your financial protection and make sure you don’t get a bump in the road by surprise, a private retirement plan can fill the gaps in your CPF LIFE plan.
For example, if cuts are a major concern of yours, consider the Manulife RetireReady Plus II plan for Withdrawal Perks.
With every plan having tons of benefits that CPF LIFE doesn’t, there is no doubt that your retirement plan will be a worthwhile addition to your financial portfolio.
This article was first published on SingSaver.com.sg.