Saturday, January 10, 2009

EPF VS Pension

This one month (1st - 31st January 2009) will see some 66,000 government servants making their ultimate decision - whether to remain in the EPF scheme or opt for the pension. Yours truly will also be putting on her thinking hat.

Kudos to JPA and CUEPACS for organizing roadshows across the country to explain to interested parties about service circular no. 19/2008: Tawaran Opsyen Semula Kepada Anggota Yang Telah Memilih Skim Kumpulan Wang Simpanan Pekerja. I attended one of the sessions in Shah Alam, recently. The Director of Bhg Pasca Perkhidmatan (aka bhg. pencen) JPA, Dato' Yeow Chin Kiong himself, gave the briefing in fluent Malay.

I know that for some EPFians, this opportunity to change to the pension scheme is like a dream come true. Some of them claimed that they were not well-informed when they signed up for EPF years ago. Therefore, they regretted signing-up for the scheme.

Moi? I was fully aware of the consequences when I signed up. It's not about money. It's more about FREEDOM. I chose the EPF scheme because I did not want to be tied down to the job. I know most of my friends who chose the scheme had the same idea. Some wanted to leave once they have served their contract. FYI we were bound for 7 years, just like the Medic students! Anyway, the main reason I chose the scheme was I wanted to be able to call the shots should the need arises i.e. can resign anytime that I want and nobody can say no. Resigning is not that easy for those in the pension scheme because it normally depends on the "budi bicara Ketua Jabatan", etc. I actually came close to exercising my privilege in 2007 and at that time, I remembered feeling grimly satisfied that nobody could force me to go to some place I don't fancy. Of course, as fate would have it, I did not need to go to that extent after all ...

But as the saying goes, "you win some, you lose some". When I convert to the pension scheme, I will lose my 'license' to resign-at-anytime-I-want. I will also need to return the government's portion of the EPF contribution. In return, I will get my monthly pension when I retire, plus medical benefits for the whole family. Other than that, I'm entitled for gratuity and the "Golden Handshake" (If you have doubts about this, feel free to check with Bhg Pasca Perkhidmatan, Jabatan Perkhidmatan Awam).

Anyway, unlike some EPFians, I did not regret choosing the EPF scheme all this while. How could I? I've amassed a decent amount of money in my EPF account :D and most important, the choice that I made earlier, had sort of forced me to plan my finances from day one - retirement plan, education funds, insurance, etc. That's quite an achievement for a shopaholic! He! He!

So, why then did I decide to convert to the pension scheme? This time, it's for the children. If anything happens to me, my children will be the beneficiaries of my pension till they are 21 years old. If nothing happens to me and I live to see my retirement, the pension money would come in handy when hubby and I globetrot around the world, like my globe-trotting parents! He! He!

What about FREEDOM, you might ask. Well, I'm bound for another 3 years (thanks to another scholarship) and am waiting to be bound for another six years (hoping for yet another one! Hu! Hu!). So, I'm 'jailed' for life! One consolation, though, my job is not too bad after all ...

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