CPF Retirement Planning

Guide to Matched Retirement Savings Scheme (MRSS): How to top up and more

bySherlyne Yong
  • Sep 05, 2022
  • 8 mins
  • 1.2K views

CPF top ups have long been a strategy for boosting your retirement savings and that of your loved ones. Now, with CPF’s Matched Retirement Savings Scheme (MRSS), you can top up your CPF Retirement Account (RA) and receive additional support from the government while doing so.

With MRSS, eligible individuals can enjoy up to S$600 a year through a dollar-for-dollar matching grant from the Singapore government. Unlike the Retirement Sum Topping-Up Scheme (RSTU) which is for everyone, the MRSS was launched to help the elderly in Singapore who have not met the current Basic Retirement Sum (BRS).

In this article, we will cover when and how you can use MRSS to support you or your loved ones’ retirement planning goals, as well as quick guides on how you can make a top-up for yourself, your parents, or other members in your family.

The MRSS was introduced to help senior Singaporeans meet the Basic Retirement Sum (BRS) so as to increase their monthly payouts during retirement to cover basic living expenses during retirement.

Launched in 2021, the MRSS provides a dollar-for-dollar matching grant of up to S$600 a year to an eligible member when you make a cash top-up to his or her CPF RA. The scheme runs till 2025 and one can enjoy a maximum of S$3,000 over five years.

If you are eligible for MRSS, simply make a top-up anytime during the year, and the matching grant will be automatically credited to your RA at the start of the following year.

For example, if you made the top-ups in 2022, you will receive a matching grant of up to S$600 in the beginning of 2023. This applies regardless of whether you have made a lump sum cash top-up of S$600 or broken it down into smaller cash top-ups over a few months.

Eligible individuals will be automatically notified at the start of each year, and no application is needed.

The MRSS is meant for elderly Singaporeans who have yet to meet the current Basic Retirement Sum (BRS). For this reason, only those who have not reached the current BRS are eligible for this scheme.

Here’s the full eligibility criteria for the Matched Retirement Savings Scheme:

  • Singapore citizen
  • Age 55 to 70 (both inclusive) as of 31st December of the assessment year
  • Retirement Account savings is less than the current BRS
  • Average monthly income is not more than $4,000. This covers a majority of senior workers
  • Annual value of residence is not more than $13,000. This covers most HDB flats
  • Own not more than one property

Even if you are not eligible, your elderly parents may be, and this is a good opportunity to help them catch up on their retirement savings. As long as they are eligible for the scheme, they can still reap the benefits of MRSS even if the top-ups are made by someone else.

How to check if you or your loved ones are eligible for MRSS

Eligibility is automatically assessed each year. This means that even if you were not eligible for MRSS before, you may still qualify in future as long as you fulfil the conditions, such as if you encounter a change in income or residence status.

Those who are eligible will be notified by CPF at the beginning of each year. You can also check your eligibility for MRSS by logging in to your Retirement Dashboard on CPF or by using this eligibility checker.

MRSS is a great way to boost your retirement savings as well as your loved ones’, as you stand to enjoy benefits that go beyond the matching S$600 grant by the government. This includes earning CPF interest rates, getting higher retirement payouts, and enjoying tax reliefs.

Did you know that savings in your CPF Retirement Account (RA) earn attractive interest rates of up to 6% p.a.? These returns are much higher than what banks can offer amidst a low interest environment. While you can potentially achieve the same, if not more, from investments, putting your money in your CPF RA is much safer. Unlike investments, your capital and returns are guaranteed.

Building up your CPF RA savings also means that you will have more when you retire. Through CPF LIFE, you will receive monthly payouts no matter how long you live and the more you have in your CPF accounts, the more you get in monthly retirement payouts.

The Basic Retirement Sum (BRS) provides you with monthly retirement payouts that cover basic living expenses. For a more comfortable payout in future, you should aim to have more and cash top-ups to your CPF RA can help you achieve this.

Last but not least, you’ll enjoy tax reliefs of up to S$16,000 when you make cash top-ups to your CPF accounts or for your immediate family members – S$8,000 for top-ups made to your own CPF accounts, and an additional S$8,000 for top-ups to your loved one’s CPF accounts. This also includes cash top-ups made under MRSS.

Although the MRSS grant is capped at S$600, you may consider topping up beyond that to upsize the benefits listed above.

Limitations of topping up your CPF accounts

Before you rush to move all your cash into your CPF accounts, you should know that CPF top-ups are irreversible.

Once you move your funds into your CPF Retirement Account (RA) or Special Account (SA), withdrawals can only be in the form of monthly payout.

If you need liquidity or are planning to use your CPF savings for future property purchases for example, it’s best to keep some cash on hand and in your CPF Ordinary Account (OA).

You can make a top-up under MRSS for eligible individuals anytime throughout the year. You can do this through smaller top ups each month, or as a lump sum, up to a maximum of S$600 each year. However, top ups have to be made in cash only.

You can do this for yourself, parents, other family members and basically anyone as long as they are eligible. Here’s how:

  • CPF mobile app
  • myCPF online services
  • GIRO

Both the Retirement Sum Topping Up Scheme (RSTU) and Matched Retirement Savings Scheme (MRSS) share the same objective of helping Singaporeans increase their retirement savings through CPF top ups. However, there are several key differences.

  RSTU MRSS
Eligibility All Singaporeans and PRs can receive top ups, up to the FRS if you are below 55 and up to the ERS if you are 55 and above 55 Only senior Singaporeans who have not met the current BRS and other specific criteria can receive the matching grant
Benefits
  • Tax reliefs of up to S$16,000: S$8,000 for cash top-up to yourself and another $8,000 for cash top-ups to loved ones
  • Enjoy up to 6% interest p.a. on CPF savings
  • Dollar-for-dollar matching grant of up to S$600 per year
  • Can enjoy tax reliefs under RSTU
  • Enjoy up to 6% interest p.a. on CPF savings
Top ups can be made to SA, RA RA only
Top up methods Cash, or CPF transfers Cash only

The main difference between the two is that MRSS is meant specifically for senior Singaporeans who have yet to meet the Basic Retirement Sum, while the RSTU is a scheme that benefits all Singapore citizens and PRs who are looking to boost their retirement savings.

Even if you are not eligible for MRSS, you can still benefit from RSTU by topping up an eligible member’s RA. Better still, you can participate in both MRSS and RSTU, if you are eligible, to maximise the benefits and fast track your retirement savings.

It is nice to know that you can boost your retirement savings with the S$600 grant from MRSS each year. However, just relying on this alone may not be enough.

To illustrate, here’s how much you can expect to receive in monthly CPF LIFE payouts, if you are 55 this year and currently have S$80,000 in your CPF RA, which is less than the 2022 Basic Retirement Sum of S$96,000.

When you turn 70, your projected RA balance is S$155,000 and here’s how much you would get if you start your CPF LIFE monthly payouts then.

CPF LIFE Plan Monthly payouts
Basic Starts at S$830, before decreasing
Standard Fixed at S$890 throughout
Escalating Starts at S$700, increasing by 2% each year

You can also use the CPF LIFE Estimator to calculate your future monthly payouts.

As you can see from the example above, CPF can help you cover the basic costs of living during retirement, but it is hardly enough if you are looking for more, such as the occasional holiday abroad or indulging in social activities freely.

For your dream retirement lifestyle to become reality, you may have to supplement your retirement fund with other savings and investment plans, such as Income’s Gro Retire Flex Pro or WealthLink, which can be purchased using your Supplementary Retirement Scheme savings.

If you are eligible for MRSS and are financially able to top up the $600, you may want to consider topping up your CPF RA. With the dollar-for-dollar matching grant provided by the government, it is a great way to catch up on your retirement savings.

MRSS also lets you enjoy other nifty benefits that include tax reliefs and the higher interest you’ll get from your CPF savings. The best part of all? You can stack these benefits with other government schemes to get more out of your savings.

To achieve your retirement goals, consider utilising schemes such as the RSTU and SRS to maximise your savings through tax reliefs, or contact a friendly Income advisor today to learn how you can grow your retirement funds with our savings and investment plans.

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