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Looking Back

50 Years of CPF  

Singapore is a successful nation which revolves on a national philosophy of self-reliance. Throughout our rapid development, we have refrained from becoming a welfare state. This was made possible through the introduction of the Central Provident Fund (CPF) in 1955. As a compulsory savings scheme, CPF ensured that workers could support themselves with dignity in retirement.

Over the years, CPF has also been used to accelerate national growth.

To meet the population's needs in housing, healthcare, family protection and investment, several innovative schemes were introduced over the last five decades. Yet, throughout its evolution, the Board has remained true to its founding principle, which is to ensure that every Singaporean enjoys financial independence in old age.

The 50s: Our Fate In Our Hands

When the Japanese Occupation ended in 1945, Singapore became a British colony again. Life was hard. People struggled to make ends meet.

To ensure that workers could take care of themselves in their old age, the Central Provident Fund was set up as a compulsory savings scheme.

1955: The Birth of the CPF Board

The CPF was started on 1 July 1955. Workers had to save part of their monthly wages with the Board. The savings could be withdrawn when they retire.

The 60s: A Stake In The Nation – Homes For Singaporeans



A Stake In The Nation  

Singapore became independent in 1965. To improve its citizens' lives and strengthen their sense of belonging, the PAP Government in 1968, allowed Singaporeans to use their CPF savings to buy flats built by the Housing and Development Board (HDB). As Singaporeans settled in with their jobs and families, they began to regard Singapore as home.

The 70s: A Nation In Prosperity

By the 1970s, Singapore had grown into a modern and prosperous nation. Rapid industrialisation created a thriving economy and jobs for everyone. As wages and living standards rose, CPF contributions were increased to cushion rising inflation.


The 80s: Meeting New Needs



Meeting New Needs  

In 1984, Medisave was introduced. CPF members could use their Medisave savings for hospitalisation expenses for themselves and their immediate family members.

CPF schemes were also extended to family members. For example, members could use their CPF to insure themselves and provide their dependants with financial protection should death or permanent disability occur.

As life expectancy increased with better living standards, Singaporeans needed more savings to meet their old age needs. From 1987, members were required to set aside a minimum sum in their CPF at age 55 to provide them with a basic monthly income when they retire.



The 90s: Healthcare for Everyone

MediShield, a medical insurance scheme to help members pay for expenses incurred by long-term and serious illnesses, was introduced in 1990. To ensure that all Singaporeans have adequate savings for healthcare, Medisave was extended to self-employed persons in 1992.


The 90s: Creating a Nation of Shareholders



Creating a Nation of Shareholders  

To help Singaporeans increase their stake in the nation, every Singaporean was given a chance to buy Singapore Telecom shares at a discounted rate. Members whose parents or grandparents who did not hold active CPF accounts could deposit the initial sum on their behalf, thereby helping this group of inactive account holders take their first step towards becoming shareholders.

Over the years, an increasingly sophisticated and investment-savvy population wanted higher returns on their CPF savings. Recognising this, the Government set up the CPF Investment Scheme in 1997 to allow members to enjoy a wider range of investment options. However, the Board's message to members was to be prudent when it comes to investing for their old age. Members are made to appreciate that they are responsible for their own investments.


2000s: Moving Into The New Millennium with “E”ase



CPF E-Lobby  

The CPF Board has kept up with members' needs in the past 50 years. The Board has leveraged on information technology to enhance the customer service experience. Several e-initiatives were introduced as we entered a new millennium. These include the setting up of E-counters to help members self-help with simple CPF transactions, my cpf which provides members with knowledge and skills to make informed decisions at major life stages.

In the coming years, we will be exploring and introducing more new initiatives aimed at empowering members to attain their retirement goals.



 Last Updated on: Thursday, January 29, 2015 at 5:21 PM
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