Just to share some thoughts (thoughts meaning ape can be wrong) about the author and following comments to his article.
Gary Teo appear to be someone who is doing relatively well. At least he still has his job and his job allows him to pay off his 5 room HDB flat before 40! His children seems to be around secondary school age. Perhaps his financial crunch will come in 4-6 years time when they really need some money for their children's higher education? However, he did not elaborate further as to the "issue that worries" them. As far as ape is concerned, Mr Gary Teo is someone who does not need the CPF money now.
Comments following the article were mostly arguing, sarcastically, that our CPF should be released to us in times of need. Most of such argument will eventually lead to this,
"The BIG problem is the MIWs think that MOST SGANS dont know how to manage their $$$$... Posted by: NoodleWon at Sat Mar 14 19:02:38 SGT 2009"
Do we? Do we know how to manage our money?
Ape was once like quite a lot of people saying "CPF is MY $$$, why can't I use it when I NEED IT!" Ape still is. No one can argue that your CPF is not yours... unless you were once a victim or accomplice of those schemes where employers "borrowed" elderlies ID to make them their "employees" so as to get some grants/subsidies (ape's a bit hazy on this but I diverted).
The question is when and where can you use it. The answers can be found in CPF webpage. The problem is, some people need their CPF earlier than they are allowed to do so or for other purposes not allowed for in CPF... and so, it came back to this "CPF is MY $$$, why can't I use it when I NEED IT!".
What has changed for ape is the definition of NEED.
About the only people whom ape thinks has a real need to withdraw their CPF monies earlier than what is presribed are people who, by some unfortunate turn of events, have to incur HUGE sums of money for their MEDICAL treatments. Unfortunate turn of events (for medical treatments) include accidents and critical illnesses. If untreated, lead to death. Amounts so huge that their normal savings cannot cover (but adequate in their CPF). Maybe ape is saying this because ape is a smoker and worried that one day... he may get some heart/lung diseases :p Perhaps, ape REALLY should quit smoking... ...
Why not for times like now? Worse economy downturn ever? Loss of jobs? Because, ape thinks, one can save and prepare for such days and they are temporary. A simple solution is to save to an amount equivalent to say 3 times your salary or more. It may take years (took ape a decade to build up this amount... after ape has wasted some years before that) so do it as soon as you draw your first paycheck.
CPF is meant for retirement... for our old age. Thus, we have medisave (for medical cure during old age). We can buy our property, that we can still use in retirement, with CPF (conditions attached though). CPF is not meant for joblessness or bad economy... and certainly not a back up plan for those who don't know how to manage their own money.
Bad times such as loss of jobs? Come on, don't we have enough sense to keep some savings (other than CPF) for such days? Of course such savings won't build up overnight but they will eventually,as long as one watches his expenditure carefully.
"Spend within your means!" Cliche, right? But how many listens?
Ape be honest with you... ape wasn't listening in the past also and felt so angry that Govt don't think ape can manage his own peanuts. Until a elderly kopi-buddy advised ape to pretend that ape don't have CPF, what ape gonna do if he lost his job? Hmmmm... so ape start saving since and ape is reaping the rewards now.
Ooh... ape really finds it hard to believe that over the years, Gary had not built up any personal savings... unless, he doesn't know how to manage his money in which case, should his CPF be released for him to manage himself? Even if it's just a little?