At 30, Mr Daniel Teo is actively planning for retirement. Not just his own, but that of fellow Singaporeans.
It pains him to see elderly aunties and uncles in Singapore struggling to make ends meet during their silver years. And he wants to make a difference.
“I want policies to improve and evolve to meet society’s changing needs. There’s no better way of ensuring change than to be a part of it,” he says.
Drawn by the broader social objective of the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board, he applied for the CPF Board Local Undergraduate Scholarship at the end of the first year of his course at Nanyang Technological University.
The financial support and the guarantee of a job upon graduation allowed him to focus on learning and excelling as a student. He also explored disciplines such as the social sciences, and took modules on economics and psychology.
He joined the CPF Board in 2014 after graduating with a Bachelor in Business Administration (First Class Honours).
Since then, he has been involved in several initiatives related to his pet topic.
One of them was the CPF Advisory Panel recommendations, the main thrust of which was to provide more options to meet the different needs of CPF members. The proposals include introducing more flexibility for members to withdraw their savings and more ways to boost their nest egg.
The most memorable part of this project was helping out with the focus group discussions, where he got to interact with members of the public and hear their views on the improvements they want for their retirement years.
He found it both inspiring and refreshing to know that our policymakers value ground feedback and even sought to facilitate greater public involvement in policymaking.
He was later seconded to the Ministry of Finance’s (MOF) social programmes directorate for two years, during which he also looked at retirementrelated policies such as the CPF scheme and the Supplementary Retirement Scheme, a voluntary scheme to encourage individuals to save for retirement, over and above their CPF.
He is currently an assistant director with the Central Provident Fund Board’s (CPFB) Home Protection Scheme (HPS) department, managing a team of junior officers in claims operations. The HPS is a mortgage-reducing insurance that protects members and their families against losing their HDB flat in the event of death, terminal illness or total permanent disability.
In all, his many postings at CPF and MOF have given him breadth and depth of exposure to Singapore’s social security policy landscape and the review process, aiding in his development as a public officer.
As he looks to the future, retirement is still clearly on his mind, as the topic gains more urgency with Singapore’s ageing population.
“Being a CPF ambassador means being in the thick of things. I hope to continue to help Singaporeans, including myself, have a secure retirement,” he says.