AS a retiree, I always look forward to February when the final quarter results and rate of dividend for the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) are announced.
I believe many retirees, especially those who depend on EPF dividends and partial withdrawals to see them through their twilight years, would be on tenterhooks while waiting for the announcement. A drop in the dividend rate would not bode well for them.
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, EPF managed to do well for the first three quarters of 2020. Pending the announcement of the last quarter results, a number of economists have voiced positive views that the Fund can afford to declare a dividend ranging from 4.5% to 5.5%.
With effect from March 8, EPF members who apply for the i-Sinar facility to help tide them over the current tough times will be given automatic approvals subject to certain conditions.
Simplifying the application process was a wise move, but contributors shouldn’t misconstrue this as an encouragement to apply for the facility.
If they can overcome their present financial constraints through other means, every ringgit saved in EPF should be left there for their retirement.
For those who think they can achieve better returns from the various investment products available in the market other than EPF, they must give themselves more time to rethink and perhaps seek the views of those who have encountered failed investments.
Although I have more than three decades of investment experience, I can sleep better with my hard-earned money left in EPF.
Over the long term, the Fund is capable of providing me the desired returns.
Those who used the i-Sinar facility should consider replenishing their withdrawals as soon as they can.
It is quite likely that the Covid-19 vaccines rollout in various countries may bring back a degree of normalcy to our lives this year. Inevitably, economic activities may start to pick up along with job opportunities.
Many of my friends are victims of impulsive EPF withdrawals. Upon reaching the age of 55, they withdrew all their money and closed their accounts.
They treated the withdrawals like windfalls only to discover later that they were not able to manage their money prudently.
Given another chance, they would entrust their life savings to EPF.