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Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Josephine Teo’s data of Singapore Elderly’s Low CPF Payout is Depressing?

We see what we want to see.

It reminded me of the story why steel helmets for soldiers were reintroduced to soldiers during WW1.

During medieval sword fighting times, of course everyone uses metal helmets. But with the invention of the muskets and other firearms, metal helmets and armour were considered obsolete...

In 1914, there were in fact no major armies using a steel helmet.

Once hostilities started, steel helmets were quickly deployed.

You wouldn't have guessed based on the battleground statistics of the injured soldiers at the beginning of the conflict before steel helmets were reintroduced.

On the list of the injuries sustained by injured soldiers during combat, few injuries belonged to head wounds.

If head injuries were low on the list of injuries, why then the focus to offer protection to the heads of soldiers?

Make a guess why?

If you genuinely clueless, its probably a tell why you suck at fundamental investing... You can't read the numbers.


  1. Reminds me of the WW2 story of when they were trying to figure out which parts of aircraft / bombers to armour plate.

    Btw, for those who think they re-introduced helmets for psycho purposes ... nope. Everybody knew helmets couldn't stop a high velocity small caliber round within a few hundred metres. Even modern kevlar helmets also can't.

    It's mainly against shrapnel & ricochets. Quite cool to see old WW1 battlefield videos where you see artillery airbursts over trenches, and you can actually see a blurry hail of shrapnel & metal spikes smash down onto the trenches. Definitely not cool for the troops.

    1. Spur,

      Hey! You know your military history!

      Yup, where to put the armour on aircrafts during WW2 is another good example of HOW to read statistics "correctly" ;)

      A helmet is the most important piece of "armour" we can have. That's why even today, we insists on helmets at construction sites, riding on motorcycles, and in racing cars ;)

  2. Wearing helmet is like having stop loss?

    1. CW,

      I don't know about stop loss but this post of mine is defintely poking those who are interpreting Josephine Teo's data "too simplistically" ;)

  3. How do you even store all this tidbits of info in your head?
    Reminds me of Enciks in the army leh haha!

    1. Kevin,

      Things of interests, like hobbies, I don't have to make an effort yet the information sticks in my mind.

      This probably explains how I got F9 for my O'levels History... I simply not interested in the syllabus. LOL!

      Yet I love reading History for the fun of it ;)

  4. Head injuries were low because of helmets. Without helmets, head injuries will be high.

    If an engineer is running a computer simulation, he should remove all protection and collect statistics which are less distorted. In real life, of course cannot do that. We're dealing with real humans.

    1. hyom,

      My bad.

      I've added the new wordings in italic for my post to make things clearer.

      Without the reintroduction steel helmets, there were few head injuries on the battlefield statistics of injuries.

      With the introduction of steel helmets, the number of head injuries increased. A welcome godsend!

      I think I'll stop here.

      The ability to read the numbers is similar (although not the same) to the art of reading between the lines.

      Some can; some can't.

    2. More applicable than wearing helmet in battlefield in Singapore is to wear helmet for casual cyclists on pavement. Necessary for protection against head injury?

    3. CW,

      Well, I've seen a documentary advocating the wearing of helmets for cyclists in the US.

      The worst is want to die cannot...

      A cyclist crashed head first into a tree and got paralysed from the neck down. Doctors say if he had worn a helmet, the most is like what Spur has said below - surgery on the brain to remove the blood clot or swelling...

      Its like wearing seat belts in the cars and on the planes. They won't help us in a major accident/crash, but we'll thank them in minor car kisses or air turbulences!

      The same can be said of voluntary contributions to CPF in a bull market - be it properties or equities. But in a market crash, all of sudden, dumb money in CPF looks mighty attractive!

    4. More head injuries mean Godsend? Typo? Oh ... More head injuries mean you send fewer men to God. That's a godsend indeed. Haha.

      Interesting exchange:)

  5. Hi Uncle8888,

    Haha, think pedestrians also need to wear american football armour with speeding PMDs around too.

    I know someone who flew off his e-scooter while wearing a bicycle-type helmet. Still kena subdural hematoma (SDH) -- blood clot swelling in the brain. Needed to drill a hole in the skull to remove the clot & excess blood & stop the bleeding.

    Or how about Michael Schumacher? He was wearing a ski helmet .... maybe should have worn an F1 helmet instead. Or maybe no helmet & a quick death would have been better?!?

  6. Because the statistics accounted for the injuries (to head) and not the casualties? >.<

    1. Rainbow girl,

      Before the reintroduction of steel helmets, those that got head injuries ended up on the DEAD statistics...

      Hence the "low" numbers of head injuries on the injury statistics.

      Once steel helmets were handed out, more soldiers managed to survive their head wounds therefore those with head injuries dramatically went up on the injury statistics.

      Well, lucky for the Army they got smart people who knew how to "read" statistics or KPIs!

      However, there will be idiots who see KPIs of head injuries went up after wearing steel helmets and complain...


    2. Hmm .. wearing helmet is like having stop loss (stop loss of life) i.e. Before the reintroduction of steel helmets, those that got head injuries ended up on the DEAD statistics...

    3. CW,


      I've used the adoption of steel helmets as the analogy for "misreading" this low CPF payouts for the elderly...

      You using my analogy to express the stop loss of life?

      That couldn't be more grey and murky!

      Welcome to my backyard :)

  7. Collecting statisics just to find out how many deaths???

  8. Hi SMOL,

    Coming back to Josie's stats ... so what is not seen or shown may be more important? Maybe better to see the picture at 55 before any possible CPF withdrawals?

    Think the 1st time govt ever mentioned about this many years ago, was that barely 50% of members (should be mostly PG at that time?) met their cohorts' Min Sum levels at 55 even with property pledge.

    Knowing how low previous Min Sum levels were, and the fact that many had to use property pledge .... kinda tells you that their CPF amounts not high in the first place. Which means most of them had low salaries. Of course there are those who did business, or the small minority in high-paying positions.

    What PG most benefited from is outsized property gains --- which govt likely has to figure out the best way to monetise.

    But then is then, and now is now ... there are some studies showing that for current millennials, they should have no problem hitting FRS as long they are gainfully employed & don't do stupid stuff with property. However people gotta remember that FRS is designed to provide a low SES lifestyle, just like basic pensions in western countries. And not the lifestyle they are used to right now.

    Perhaps for some realtime stats, they can see how many elderly have difficulties in paying at hospitals & polyclinics. Those in the lists of MSW, those requiring Medifund or payment by installments. Can do by age range 60-65, 80-85 etc.

    1. Spur,

      With 74% of our elderly (pioneer generation) getting CPF payouts below $500 per month, you would expect to see a lot of misery and hardships all over Singapore...

      But no.

      Of course there will be pockets of hardship cases as in all economies; the distribution curve is real.

      Yet big daddy derives a lot of its ballot box support from these pioneer generation. What gives?

      1. Yup, the pioneer generation has profitted a lot from OUTSIZED property gains. They are not penniles. Hence the many HDB initiatives to monetise this "asset wealth" into cash flow for old age, if they so wishes.

      2. Yet the majority no need to tap this scheme. Why? Got multiple blessings as in children.

      Their time average family got 4-5 children or more; that's why big daddy got worried and started selling them stop at two... Children are off the books "assets" ;)

      3. Take my place Queenstown. In the older HDB estates, we see lots of maids pushing our pioneer generation elders in wheelchairs for "sunning" in the void decks or food centres.

      HDB 3 room flat estates only OK? If receiving below $500 CPF montly payouts, how to afford caregiver maids?

      During holidays like CNY, see the number of big continental cars parked in the carparks to bring grandchildren to visit ah ma, ah kong ;)

      4. During our pioneer generation's time, it was common to have the woman stay at home as fulltime housewife. That would skew the statistics wouldn't it?

      No. The below $500 per month is not the statistics to dwell on.

      Those pioneer generation that lost out BIG TIME are those who didn't own any real assets as in private properties or HDB flats of their own.

      I applaud big daddy's tireless initiatives to encourage and support those renting HDB flats to upgrade and own a HDB flat of their own.

      Never mind if its just a HDB 2 room flat.

      Start somewhere first. There's always 2 bites of the cherry. No hurry. Current generation cannot; next generation can take over the dream.

      Homeownership is what separates Singapore from many other economies ;)

    2. Haha SMOL,

      Yeah, looking at some of my in-laws & relatives, quite a number of PG's retirement fund is their kids. Got an aunt on the in-law's side with 10 children ... no need to drive big continental cars ... take bus or korean car also good liao ... every kid just give $200 and sponsor a maid and aunty is happy liao. Give $300 and she will scold them "Give me so much how I spend? Better you save for the grandkids!" LOL

      I suspect most of the questioning is by the later merdeka and GenX who don't have the 6-10 kids retirement funding, and also sunk most of their cash & CPF into brick & mortar.

      :) :) Your proposal is forced savings into HDB / property.

      With much slower property capital gains going forward (similar to long term SG govt bonds), people are now debating whether is that the most efficient way to grow & preserve retirement funds?

      MPs & others have brought up M'sia's EPF for comparison. Even taking into account ringgit's depreciation against SGD, the EPF performance has been very respectable (see below link), beating our MRSA 4% hands down. So people have been saying whether CPF should also be managed in a similar pension or endowment-like approach.


      (The years from 1952-1959 was shared history with our CPF under colonial management ... with the flat 2.5% interest :) )

      Currently this is off the table. The unspoken message is that those able & willing should build up their retirement funding outside of CPF. ;)

    3. Spur,

      1. CPF is forced savings; property is inflation hedging investment.

      Convert forced savings to growing assets require financial competence and lady luck.

      Convert growing assets to forced savings is chop fingers capitulation, old liao no baxxs, and orphans and widows...

      2. I choose to believe those who voted with their feet more. Just count the number of Malaysians who were willingly throw away their EPF returns to convert to our CPF ;)

      Also, I much prefer I can sell my HDB flat to buy their landed property than them selling their landed properties to buy our HDB flats!?

      How many Singaporeans migrated to Malaysia?

      3. Think we can do better than CPF? Well, that's what CPFIS is for. Evidently the majority can't beat CPF. So now become born again evangelists to spread the voluntary contribution to CPF?

      Whoever thought up of CPFIS must be given a gold medal! Not only does it help our nascent fund management industry then, its also a great way to shut the mouths of whiners...

      But it came at great cost to most CPFIS members :(

      Then again, when we have a flock of sheep, don't fleece and milk them what you do with them? Keep them as pets?

      4. The financial industry is strategic to Singapore. We are Switzerland of the East.

      Cannot monopolise the bulk of the asset management to big daddy only. Must let the private sector thrive!

      See what we are doing to the electricity and telecoms markets?

      Big daddy and Thatcherism make great bed buddies!

      I rather mix with them than to mingle with the socialists and communists ;)

  9. SMOL,

    That's why I say it's off the table. Almost everybody today from big daddy to banks to locals to PRs prefer to be able to use bulk of CPF for property. ;)

    Just need to know when we play their game whether we are the referee or the ball. Or the one to capitalise by selling hotdogs & drinks or scalping tickets. ;)

    HK has been stealing SG's lunch these few years since GFC. Luckily there's no capital controls here ... I'd sure hate to be able to only invest in local assets! :)

    1. Spur,

      When you see a bald guy selling hotdogs and drinks, that will be me ;)

      OK, we better keep it down. Wait the pandas and koala bears not happy...


  10. Smol, I finally saw the article u refer to. I think u might have poke beyond common sense.

    U are someone who rather have a good debate than Cheerleading. So how is my take.

    Indeed, theolder generation might have other taps beside CPF. I u rigjtly mentioned property. My dad property is a 6 to 7 baggers ... buT even if u do a downgrade or monetizing, the game plan isn't too comforting.last time my father sell noodles 80 cents, when I am helping him is 2 dollars now is 3dollars.

    There are people wgo play the upgrade game and is millionaire. I question how much percent of the cohort know the game. I believe is not the majority.

    Mathematically, my dad bought the flat at 37 k and assume he sold it 200 k and live with us.

    Is 200k really a lot?

    If u talk children support, its the domain of piety and not money.

    What other taps? Investment, insurance, savings ?

    I seriously doubt those who did not know how to play ghe property game know how to play equities, insurance etc. There will always be outlayers ... but when we talk about natioNAL scheme, should not talk about outlayers.

    Helmet analogy? What means u think the CPF money went to big property hence CPF low? As said earlier, the moentizing of property is hardly ...

    Some play the game well, some over extend themselves. Most will probably be sitting on 6 to 7 baggers ...

    Unless u have mutiple properties. Downgrade always come with a lot of cost...

    Next, that we will have it even worse because we miss the golden period means they are doing OK also make no logic.

    Lastly, the context is made to reference to CPF. As oje of the taps, the better the flowing ythe better. The flow is reallt horrible in today context.

    Ok. Now beyond the numbers. When u are old, number as in wealth really is Tye least priority. Looking at my dad, invest on family, health, and your happiness everyday. Dun pay tomorrow with today

    1. Sillyinvestor,

      I throw brick to attract jade ;)

      I must thank you and others for your patient generosity in engaging me in debate and challenging me! This is what makes it fun for me!

      I poked those who yalor, yalor me!? LOL!

      On this count, I am "luckier" than LP. I still can't stop laughing at those who read his recent post and go, "Oh! So many soldiers got arms and legs amputated... Let's protect the legs and arms of soldiers more!"

      1. Thanks for your validation using your father as real life example. I agree. $200K is not a lot in TODAY's context.

      Yet your father is not receiving handouts from big daddy, receiving free food from private charities, or religious organisations right?

      But how to survive in Singapore TODAY on $200K???

      Totally in agreement wealth is beyond the numbers. You are talking to a man of leisure who is pseudo spiritual and pretending to be philosophical ;)

      2. You can't be earning $3K monthly gross today and expecting to get $4K monthly with CPF Life at 65 right? (Evidently some do...)

      If we want to receive more in CPF Life payouts, the person earning $3K today must figure out how to EARN more ;)

      Will it help to SAVE more?

      I find it perplexing those who are in the community spend so much time with CPF???

      That's not investing; its saving.

      You wouldn't be investing directly in equities if you didn't think you can make more than the CPF returns right? If not you would have sold all your stocks and voluntarily contributed them to CPF ;)

      But reality is another story.

      Can get the helmet analogy? Is it really about CPF? Big daddy? Or something that we can't see on the list of injuries? And not about CPF payout so low?

      3. Spurs said it best, "Then is then, now is now."

      Most people are judging on the pioneer generatiion average payout of $500 monthly using the lens of TODAY and missing the elephant in the room...

      First, this $1 million at 65 thing has a fine print for its really about 2 people. Why can't they just say $500K at 65 instead? Snake oil alert!

      Let's be generous and pretend its for 1 person. Yes, $1 million in CPF is very comfortable TODAY. That's if you are 65 NOW.

      But if $1 million at 65 meant another 20-30 years away... Well, I won't be surprised HDB new BTO 3 room flat at that time may cost $1 million?

      And you'll probably hear youths who are seeking financial freedom 20-30 years in the future expressing surprise and incredulity how can anyone enjoy a comforable retirement at 65 with "only" $1 million in CPF!?

      Like you are doing now with $200K or CPF $500 monthly payout ;)

      Talk to your dad. At his time, $200K is private property prices is it not?

      Its like life insurance. If your dad had bought $200K coverage 20-30 years ago, he probably thought at that time if something happened to him, you all will be taken care of. (It only worked if something happend to him 20-30 years ago)

      That's why I poked the dumbest life insurance is life insurance for child.

      Don't let you dad hear you lamenting 20-30 years later, "Its only $200K..."


      4. Focus on our own cultivation. Don't be like those who are so quick to give LP advice on how to convince his dad ;)

      I mean you people look LP so no up???

      I find it so hard to poke LP :(

      Wait a minute. I did share in the past that my kindergaten teacher complained to my ah ma that her grandson (me) ownself don't know but like to teach others!?


    2. Hi SMOL,

      Tell me about it. LP got max defence; I can't even poke him :(

      His defence machiam as indestructible as a tardigrade. He truly lives up to his "bear" handle!

    3. Unintelligent Nerd,

      LOL! A tardigrade?

      You gonna get it from him!


    4. Err.....the following leh:

      "Tardigrades are among the most resilient known animals, with individual species able to survive extreme conditions that would be rapidly fatal to nearly all other known life forms, such as exposure to extreme temperatures, extreme pressures (both high and low), air deprivation, radiation, dehydration, and starvation. Tardigrades have even survived exposure to outer space."

      Godlike HP and Defence!

    5. Unintelligent Nerd,

      But ugly like hell!

      Somebody gonna get hurt...


    6. Ugly like hell is you say one ah! :P

    7. Hi guys,

      No wonder I'm sneezing like mad..pple are talking behind my back!

      I've to google what tardigrade is all about. Quite cute lol!


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