HDB is not your retirement plan

Depending on your HDB asset for long term retirement?

This is not an attack of the policy. I believe the HDB system of providing for housing is cool. But it is not a sufficient retirement asset provider. This article seeks to urge Singaporeans to prepare for adequately for their retirement.

Your HDB is a lease

When your house has a maximum lease of 99 years, you may be really just renting the space for 99 years. It is unlike the traditional freehold structure. In other words, the amount of money you are paying is considered advance rent. The financial implications are clear. The value of the lease decrease as your time runs out. A 40 year old HDB flat will be worth much lesser than a 99 year old HDB unit. This may not behave like a real asset.

You don’t sell, you just transfer your lease

When you decide to sell your HDB flat, you are actually transferring your lease to another family. HDB as your ultimate land lord needs to approve your unit’s assignment. If someone pays a premium to take over your unit, he believes that he is willing to pay a monthly rent more than you do. Perhaps this is due to the proximity to the MRT or a famous school.

Your CPF pays prepaid rental expense and it is not being invested!

Remember what you are using to pay for the HDB — CPF. Yes, in fact, you are using your retirement fund to pay for rent. How is this preparing for your future? If your HDB price does not increase or if you decide to live in the unit for 99 years, your unit will surely, without any possibility, be an asset. In fact, you are not well utilizing your CPF for investments and there is an opportunity cost.

What’s worst? You are prepaying 99 years of lease but you are borrowing to prepay the lease. HDB grants you a loan, makes interest off you and wants you to pay them the entire rent upfront. Do you ever want to pass your asset to the 2nd or 3rd generation? This is not possible in Singapore. Your lease ends in 99 years and the value of the house drops quickly after 50 years. Ask yourself, would you buy a flat with less than 50 years lease?

Simply put, you will still need to invest wisely. Do consider the lowest cost and broadest index funds!