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How to invest using your CPF

How to invest using your CPF
A woman holds a stack of $50 Singapore dollars.
PHOTO: NP file

How much do you know about the CPF Scheme?

Known to be both massive and complicated, the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Scheme is not easily understood by many.

Especially for Singaporeans who’ve just embarked on your #adulting life, you probably have no clue what you should know about CPF.

For working adults and those approaching retirement, you should already have a substantial amount of funds in your CPF account.

PSA: Rather than let your money stay stagnant in your CPF fund, did you know that you have the option to use your money for investments?

Huh? CPF can invest one ah?


For those who didn’t know, you can invest in a wide range of investment products using your Ordinary Account (OA) and Special Account (SA) savings under the CPF Investment Scheme (CPFIS).

But, if you think you can skirt around the system and happily spend your investment earnings with the CPFIS, you’ll be sorely disappointed.

Do note that any returns from the investments that you make will go back to your CPF accounts .

That means that you can only withdraw the earnings from your investment after the age of 55.

Of course, as with all other investments, you must know what you’re getting yourself into before actually throwing your money into them!

Who can invest with their CPF money?

Huat ah! You can invest under CPFIS, if you:

  • are at least 18 years old;
  • are not an undischarged bankrupt;
  • have more than $20,000 in your OA; and/or
  • have more than $40,000 in your SA

That’s actually a whole lot of cash stashed away in your OA and SA, before you can start investing with CPF.

Furthermore, so that the government knows that you’re capable of handling your own money, you will need to take a Self-Awareness Questionnaire (SAQ) before you can start investing!

TL;DR: A step-by-step guide on how to invest using CPF

Step 1: Satisfy the above prerequisites

  • You will have to set aside ($$$ cannot be touched) $20,000 in your OA and/or $40,000 in your SA. The rest of the money that’s left is called “Investible Savings”. You can use those for investing!

Step 2: Know your limits, and exactly how much money you have to invest.

  • Because our government loves helping us protect our money, there is a limit cap to how much you can invest in certain products. With your Ordinary Account, you have the following restrictions:
    • You can only invest up to 35 per cent in stocks.
    • You can only invest up to 10 per cent of your money in gold.
  • Everyone has a different amount of dough in their CPF. To find out exactly how much you have:
    1. Login to CPF website, or the myCPF app using your SingPass, mycpf Online Services –> My Statement
    2. Visit any CPF Service Centres with your identity card.

Step 3: Know what investment products you can invest in

  • Letting your money sit in your CPF earns you the following current CPF interest rates (i/r):
Account Type Annual Interest Rates
Ordinary Account (OA) 2.5 per cent (up to 3.5 per cent)
Special Account (SA) 4 per cent (up to 5 per cent)
Medisave Account (MA) 4 per cent (up to 5 per cent)
Retirement Account (RA) 4 per cent (up to 5 per cent)

* An extra1 per cent bonus interest rate is given on first $60,000 (capped at $20,000 for OA).
* For those 55 years an up, extra 1 per cent interest rate on first $30,000 (capped at $20,000 for OA)

So if you want to invest, make sure that:

  1. You invest in investment products that give you an interest rate that is equivalent to, or better than the rates given by CPF Board
  2. You should invest in investment products that suit your risk appetite. There are some financial products that are riskier than others, so do remember to exercise the right judgement before investing in those products!

You can use your CPF savings to invest in the following investment products

Type of investment Invest using Ordinary Account (OA) Invest using Savings Account (SA)
Singapore Government Bonds Yes Yes
Annuities Yes Yes
Treasury Bills Yes Yes
Endowment policies Yes Yes
ETFs Yes Yes, excluding high-risk ETFs
Unit trusts Yes Yes, excluding high-risk Unit Trusts
Investment-linked insurance products Yes Yes, excluding high-risk Insurance Products
Fund management accounts Yes No
Selected retail bonds Up to 35 per cent of investible savings No
Shares Up to 35 per cent limit of investible savings No
Property funds Up to 35 per cent limit of investible savings No
Gold ETFs Up to 10 per cent limit of investible savings No
Other gold products Up to 10 per cent limit of investible savings No

Step 4: Apply to invest your CPF savings via CPFIS

Type of CPFIS Procedure
CPFIS-OA Open a CPF Investment Account with DBS, OCBC, or UOB.
CPFIS-SA No need to open a CPF Investment Account.

Thereafter, you can approach the product providers directly to buy or sell your investments.

If you want to use your CPF Ordinary Account to invest, you’ll have to open a CPF Investment Account with DBS, OCBC or UOB. Fees and charges for opening an account with all 3 banks are generally the same, so it doesn’t matter which bank you open your account with to administer the funds.

If this is your first time investing, you will still need a brokerage account to actually invest the money.

An example of how this works:

  1. You open a CPF Investment Account with OCBC, and choose to buy a stock from Singtel.
  2. Singtel will liaise with OCBC to execute the purchase.

See? So simple.

ALSO READ: CPF Investment Scheme (CPFIS): Guide to investing with your CPF

If you want to use your CPF Special Account to invest, you can just approach the investment product providers directly. These include fund management companies or investment administrators.

Investing With Your CPF $$$

Contrary to popular belief, the money you put in your CPF isn’t just locked up until your retirement.

You can always opt to use a portion of it out to invest for higher returns.

Of course, that’s not forgetting the risk involved when investing in more volatile financial products.

This article was first published in Seedly.

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