(File pix) EPF had four pieces of good news: enhanced withdrawal options for those aged between 55 and 60, flexible withdrawal policy until age 100, option to appoint Amanah Raya Bhd (ARB) as nominee or trustee and extension of death benefits from 55 to 60. (pic by AMIR IRSYAD OMAR)

IT is not often you get good news when you are in the golden age group. The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) gave just that yesterday for those who are 55 and above (if you make it to 100, you are included). In fact, EPF had four pieces of good news: enhanced withdrawal options for those aged between 55 and 60, flexible withdrawal policy until age 100, option to appoint Amanah Raya Bhd (ARB) as nominee or trustee and extension of death benefits from 55 to 60.

Come January, EPF account holders who are 55 and above will have the flexibility to either make partial withdrawals of any amount, any time or monthly minimum withdrawals of RM100. Currently, EPF allows partial monthly withdrawals of a minimum of RM2,000 or a monthly minimum of RM250. The flexible withdrawal policy, which allows members to withdraw any amount at any time for partial withdrawals, has been extended up to 100 from the current age cap of 75. Members may also opt to make a combination of monthly and partial withdrawals. This enhancement is in line with the extension of dividend payment from 75 to 100.

The idea is to make it easy for the 13.7 million account holders who hold a total of RM715.97 billion as at Sept 30 to access their savings, especially in cases of emergency. And, emergencies, of course, come unannounced. While the account holders have easy access to their money, they may want to keep it there for as long as they can as EPF has
remained one of the safest
retirement investments for Malaysians, in the golden years or otherwise. EPF statistics for the quarter ending Sept 30 indicate age 60 lump sum withdrawals number 12,811, amounting to RM280.66 million, while flexible withdrawals for the same age group recorded 29,712, amounting to RM662.05 million.

Meanwhile, the good news is that for age 55, flexible withdrawals decreased to 44,976 from 86,684. Lump sum withdrawals, too, decreased for age 55 to 36,045 (RM2 billion) from 46,999 (RM2.29 billion) in the corresponding period last year (Q2 2017: 41,914; RM2.51 billion). Should the account holders consider withdrawing, they may do well to visit EPF’s Retirement Advisory Services (RAS), available free at 18 locations. RAS officers at these centres help members draw up long-term retirement plans that help stretch the ringgit to the last days of their lives; and the lives of their families, too. The ARB option is a welcome addition by EPF as equitable distribution of account holders’ savings to their next of kin, upon members’ demise, has been a major headache for loved ones left behind. Come 2030, there will be 5.8 million Malaysians in their golden years, and, it is hoped that they will add to the 13.7 million accounts, not reduce them.

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