Singapore’s Social Security Savings System: A Review and Some Lessons for the United States

Benedict S. K. Koh

Abstract — Unlike the defined benefit system adopted by the United States, Singapore operates a defined contribution system administered by the Central Provident Fund (CPF). When originally conceived, CPF’s main goal was to help citizens save for retirement. However, over the years, it has evolved into a comprehensive system with multifaceted objectives: saving for retirement, home ownership, healthcare, financial protection, and asset enhancement. While regarded as generally successful, the CPF has been criticized recently for not achieving retirement adequacy. This chapter reviews the key features of Singapore’s social security savings system and suggests some reforms to enhance retirement security for its members.