On 03 Sep 2014, the government announced four enhancements to the HDB Lease Buyback Scheme (LBS) as follows:
1) The scheme will be extended to 4-room HDB flats and to sweeten the deal, there will be a $10,000 cash bonus per household when the elderly participate in the scheme.
2) The income ceiling will be raised to $10,000 from $3,000 per month to allow elderly who are still working or still living with their family members to qualify for this scheme.
3) The requirements to top up their CPF Retirement Accounts with the LBS proceeds will be relaxed as reflected in Table 1 below.
Table 1: Change in CPF Top-Up Requirement* for Households with Two or More Owners
(0.5 x Age-Adjusted MS)
|CPF Draw-Down Age
(now 63) to 69
|70 to 79||$145,000||$72,500|
|80 or older||$135,000||$67,500|
* Based on prevailing CPF MS of $155,000
4) Elderly can choose the length of lease to retain instead of the standard 30 years lease. This is to cater to the need of those who are in the 70 years old and above age group.
By and large, the LBS is a good scheme that allows the elderly the additional option to monetize their property asset to fund their retirement needs. But then again, I would not encourage my mother to participate in it. This is because I know my mother too well. She lacks the financial discipline and will to handle the large amount of money. Within months, I am quite sure she would use up the proceeds from the LBS. So I prefer her to rent out the spare room in her flat. In this way, she can still monetize her flat and in addition, we also give her monthly allowances to supplement her monthly expenses.
It is not desirable for the elderly to have too much money in their hands because this would make them easy targets for swindlers and thieves. But I reckon the LBS can help to address a gap in the society – ailing elderly who need a sum of money to pay for huge medical expenses. So I must applaud HDB for changing the scheme to make it more flexible for the elderly to monetize their fully paid HDB flats. According to the HDB’s press release, there are at least four ways you can monetize your property to fund your retirement needs:
a) rent out a room
b) rent out the whole flat and move in with their children
c) selling their flat and moving to a smaller flat or Studio Apartment with the option of the SHB
d) the LBS
CPF savings and property should form the twin pillars in our retirement funds. Many Singaporeans in their twenties and thirties tend to focus too much in their careers and family commitments that they ignore the importance of building their wealth to support their twilight years. When we are young, we must think about how to grow our active incomes and develop stream of passive incomes. To optimize the returns, we must first and foremost know the various ways to invest and monetize these assets. Start your wealth building journey early!
This story is commentary is courtesy of SG Wealth Builder.
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