Support Site for The Unemployed & Underemployed
Saturday January 13th 2018

65-year-old PME struggles on $500/month CPF withdrawal and looking for work opportunities

Thanks for allowing us to interview you, can you please introduce abit of yourself to us first?

At 65 now I feel that I am the man of the house so I am considered the breadwinner and therefore even though my wife is working, she is getting the income.

I am getting $500 from my monthly CPF retirement account, it is not enough to keep up with the Singapore’s cost of living.

So  I need to chip in from hers to keep it going.

But I feel bad and I won’t want that so I want to continue getting my own work to support the family although she is very okay with me, no problem with that.

But I still feel that I am the breadwinner and I must try to control,  if not at least I don’t take any amount from her and I am independent on my own so I am trying to find some work, try to earn some income like even to give tuition at this age and give back to society, either full time or part time I see how it goes.

I see if I can continue the momentum and I hope that I can continue until I retire.

What were you doing previously?

Previously I was a teacher before and air traffic controller and have been working as administration, trainer and consultant and finally when I took out my CPF, I started to venture into business. I opened retail show, tourism and tailoring. After 12 years, the landlord asks for the shop back so now I am without business, and a job so I need to look for a job now to do something and not remain unemployed to keep me going.

Do you think it is difficult to retire in Singapore and at 65 you still want to work?

I feel that it is difficult to retire in Singapore if you are married, have children who are still schooling, and start the marriage late. I feel there is still a need for me, the pressure is there for me to continue working for even the normal maintenance cost to food for housing, transport and everything. Need more than $500, need at least $1000 plus to $2000.

You mentioned you withdrew a large sum of money from the CPF at 55 and right now you only have $500/month.

I withdrew a large amount of money for the shop that I opened from my CPF under retirement account, from 62 onwards every month I can take $500/ month but for the time being the amount that I have I can last I think can last 8 to 9 years.

You mentioned you might rent a room out from the HDB flat you have.

I might rent out a room for $800/month to a tenant is one way out for me to supplement the income. But I still think that working is best for me as I don’t like being idle, doing nothing.

Will you continue to work until you are 70?

I forsee myself working until 70 years old if I can medically and physically, I will still work and continue until I am 70.

Do you think it is due to the high standard of living?

Yes I think now everyone is trying to cope with the high cost of living, even the children have to cope themselves when the parents are coping. Everyone is struggling, it is very tough for the retirees.

I think every month you spend about $2000 to $2500?

Yea I think at least $1000 to $2000. Minimum for food and transport, part of the housing.

You mention you have two sons, one went to NTU and the other poly?

One in NTU and third year Poly now, he will be going to NS soon so we will see how it goes from there. He will start his own families and he will have a house for themselves and maintain the family so it will be tough on them. I feel responsible and I don’t want to trouble them also if possible. Don’t disturb them at least. So it means I have to be on my own. Even youngsters nowadays are having tough life ahead.

You mentioned that you have a HDB  flat, are you still paying for it?

Yea I am still paying. 7 years to 8 or 9 years more. From CPF and work use to pay it. It is a struggle so need to have supplement. If you don’t pay by CPF you have to pay by cash. CPF is from my wife now as she is the one working.

You don’t have any savings?

Because of the fact that I open a business and that the business has taken up a big sum of money and lost during the venture.

Were there any regrets?

No regrets as it is an adventure that I make, over 12 years, I survived. But right now I am about surviving. So it was a decision that I make so I have no regrets.

I think as long as you are medically fit and can move, can move your hands, legs and mind, you got to keep on being active and productive. Good for family and good for society.

Do you think Singapore should be like Australia – that the government  provides us with unemployment welfare?

We need some help at the interim, before the retire gets the job, retirees are left suspended without a job, the government should provide some help until they get employment.

What about government providing a pension for the retirees?

If they can give something like a dole like a pension where it is being closely monitored and it is a true case where we can’t get any employment.

So you don’t mind having some unemployment welfare?

Yes, yes for short term period while we are looking for unemployment

What about when you are 65, a small allowance?

As the likelihood of the person falling sick is very high, so perhaps it is good if they can give some amount, a small pension until they pass away, give peace of mind.

Thank you and all the best.

End of interview

Editor’s note: Some essential information was amended to protect the privacy of the respondent. He  also related well to our suggestion to become a tutor and will check out some tuition agencies near his home.  If you are struggling to retire and want to be interviewed by us, please email to

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One Response to “65-year-old PME struggles on $500/month CPF withdrawal and looking for work opportunities”

  1. sal says:

    Double standard, miniaters with high salaries retire with pension but commoner your own business? We should vote a party that recognise pensioner and maybe have a mean test for welfare benefits eg $500/month. Sympathy to older generation that contribute to nation building?

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