Should I move my money from OA to SA?

Featured image source: http://www.straitstimes.com/business/invest/1m-in-cpf-by-age-65

I can’t emphasize any further how easy the answer to this question is.

You don’t even have to stay for the entire blog post to know the answer. I’m going to tell you right now.

The answer is “YES”. And I’ll tell you why. I’ll be convincing enough so that you don’t have to hesitate any longer. I’ll show you the numbers if you need them to prove that I’m right.

I’ll start off with two main differences between the OA and the SA.

1) Interest rate

As of 2017, the annual interest rate of the OA and the SA is 2.5% and 4% respectively. This means that if you have $1000 in your OA and $1000 in your SA in January 2017, by December 2017, your new account balances would be $1025 and $1040 respectively. Now, it may seem like the difference is insignificant, but trust me, it matters a way lot more. The additional $15 from the $40 is a 60% increase in the interest earned as compared to $25.

2) There is more liquidity in the OA than SA.

Monies in both the OA and the SA can also be used for investments using the CPFIS. However, there are limitations to the kinds of the investment products you can use in both accounts. There are a lot more investment options for the OA than the SA.

You can also move the funds from OA to SA which you should already know by now, and this move is irreversible.

The funds in OA may also be used for your housing loan. This may be an interesting point to look out for if you are planning to buy a property soon. However, this topic will not be covered in this blog post.

That’s all you have to know for now. Let’s head on to the calculations, shall we?

Assumptions:

  1. I am a fresh graduate aged 25.
  2. I earn $3000 per month, with no additional bonuses and pay increment. That amounts to $36,000 annually.
  3. I will not use any of my CPF monies for other purposes. (e.g. Housing, Investments)
  4. Every 1st January of the year, I move all the money from my OA to the SA.
  5. CPF Allocation rates are the same as here.
  6. I work till Age 55.
  7. I do not take the additional 1% additional interest that I can get for the first $60,000 of your accounts combined (with up to $20,000 for my OA) into consideration.

Access the Excel spreadsheet here. Both scenarios are in the same Excel sheet for easy viewing. Download a copy for yourself – it’s free, and you can edit it to your needs. Do leave a comment if you find something amiss or have any enquiry.

I made a table for comparison:

OA SA OA+SA
Total amount  $  337,723.85  $  148,730.75  $  592,289.89
Total Interest earned  $  118,123.85  $    66,830.75  $  290,789.89

Observations:

  1. The contribution to both OA and SA decreases as our age increases as the allocation of the contributions changes according to Assumption 5.
  2. If you transfer all your money from the OA to the SA, the additional 1.5% interest that you will earn will translate to a (probably guaranteed) sum of $105,835.29 over the course of 30 years. 1.5% doesn’t seem too measly now, does it?

So now, you might be expecting a real life example. Are there really people who did this? Doesn’t seem like a norm leh. Nobody in the office or my friends talk about this.

AK is one of the famous bloggers who did this. I don’t know about other similar finance bloggers but the numbers in his CPF accounts is enough proof for me.

This is what I did personally. As I don’t know what might happen in the near future (say if I get married and need some funds to buy a flat), I moved majority of my OA to my SA, leaving just enough for a 5% down payment for a flat in a matured estate (worse case consideration) if I should end up getting a HDB loan.

Subsequently after I have completed the booking of my flat, I will continue to leave the next 5% there. I will transfer any additional monies that I accumulate through my mandatory contributions to my SA. This will also prevent my OA from a total wipe out when I have to take a housing loan.

The gist is this. Transfer your OA monies to the SA if you are not using it in the near future. The earlier you do this, the better your returns. 

Some of you may disagree, saying that it would be better to keep it in the OA because of the other reasons. One valid reason is that you can use the money in OA to invest and get higher returns than the 4% in SA. However, that is not part of my risk appetite. I choose to take the funds in my CPF accounts as the “bonds” part of my portfolio, as I do not buy bonds with my liquid cash as of now. Perhaps this might change in future, but that would be speculative. I know what I know now, and this guaranteed return of 4% (and up to 5%) is enough for me.

By all means, I suggest that you do whatever that you are most comfortable with, because it is your money that you are managing ultimately. Everyone’s circumstance might be different too. If you are looking for my suggestion, just feel free to leave a comment at the end of this post.

This blog post is mainly to highly the advantages of moving your money from OA to SA, and it’s as simple as it can get. Numbers don’t lie. Never underestimate the exponential growth of compound interest, and let your CPF account (and the government) automatically achieve your retirement for you. 🙂

I hope that this article was useful for you. Check out my other CPF related posts in the “The CPF System” category.  😉

Thanks for reading!

Miss Niao xoxo

Author: missniao

Hello! I blog about financial matters and things that average people can do to have a better retirement. I want to inspire people to take control of their money and have a better understanding about it. If you are interested to know more, follow me @ missniao.wordpress.com! :)

4 thoughts on “Should I move my money from OA to SA?”

  1. Very interesting perspective of viewing funds in your CPF as the “bonds” component of your portfolio. One good consequence (intended or not) would be that you would not incur accrued interest as your decision(s) are aligned with the spirit of the CPF system which is to fund your retirement.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Wabi,

      Yes, I have added that in the assumptions that the CPF monies will not be used for other purposes. 🙂 Thanks for the comment, by the way.

      Miss Niao xoxo.

      Like

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