Should you still top up CPF with Cash after all the latest changes? [Chills165 Ft 1M65 Founder]

Inside the Financial Powerhouse Behind 1M65

In this episode, we extracted gems from this true blue Singaporean financial powerhouse.


Loo Cheng Chuan, the Founder of the 1M65 movement, his journey with personal finance and CPF optimisation started long before becoming a household name in Singapore. The 1M65 movement aims to empower Singaporeans with financial literacy and help them achieve financial freedom through CPF optimisation.

Known for his straightforward approach to demystifying Singapore’s Central Provident Fund (CPF) scheme, Cheng Chuan shared valuable insights and even some lesser-known “tips and tricks” during the candid conversation.

1M65 movement started around 2015 when there was a very negative perception of CPF in Singapore. Cheng Chuan recalls. “People were shouting things like ‘Return my CPF!’ but it was clear to me they weren’t tapping into its full potential.”

When the CPF board sought Cheng Chuan out for a speaking engagement, he saw an opportunity to educate others. “After my first talk, a crowd of retirees swarmed me asking why I hadn’t told them the secrets of compounding interest sooner. That’s what spurred me to keep speaking and sharing more tips and strategies.”

“The core ideology is very simple – it’s the power of compounding,”

His core philosophy? “Using the power of compounding through CPF, you let it compound,” Cheng Chuan explained simply. By making consistent CPF contributions from a young age and letting the interest accumulate over decades, achieving a million-dollar nest egg is very feasible.

He broke it down, saying if you put away $1 at 4% interest and leave it untouched for 30 years, it grows exponentially through compounding. The higher the interest rate, the faster it compounds.

Cheng Chuan’s initial goal was to hit $1 million in his CPF accounts by age 65 through diligent compounding – hence the name “1M65.” However, he soon realised his trajectory would allow him to reach $1 million much earlier at age 45 (1M45), then 48 (1M48A where ‘A’ stands for ‘alone’). His current sights are set on the lofty $4 million mark by 65 – he calls this aspiration “4M65.”

3 Lesser-Known CPF Hacks

1. CPF Babies; Start CPF accounts for newborns

Most people don’t realise that Singaporeans have CPF accounts from birth. Cheng Chuan suggests wealthy parents can turbocharge their child’s retirement nest egg by maxing out annual CPF contributions for the child every year – potentially accumulating $8-10 million through compounding by age 65.

2. Hold multiple jobs to increase contribution limits

There is an annual CPF contribution cap of $37,740 per individual. However, Cheng Chuan reveals that having a second job allows you to multiply this cap, enabling higher total contributions that can grow through compounding. “If you work two jobs, you can times two the amount.” More income streams mean a higher contribution limit.

3. Leverage policy changes (IE MaximiSe Tax Reliefs)

Cheng Chuan hinted at sharing more CPF “loopholes” and optimisation strategies, but held back fearing the CPF Board would promptly close them. He cheekily mentioned CPF staff listening in, suggesting more “adjustments” may be needed as policies evolve.

The hour-long conversation, laced with Cheng Chuan’s signature candor and wisecracks, explored a range of other CPF topics like recent policy changes and CPFOA minimum sum requirements.

While the recent policy changes add complexity, Cheng Chuan maintains optimising your CPF is still important. “For secure basic retirement protection, why wouldn’t you want the highest payout possible? Different roads lead to Rome – this is one path available to all Singaporeans.”

Employees can top up their CPF Special Account (SA) up to the annual $8,000 tax relief cap. When combined with regular contributions, this boosts the compounding effect.

The Revamped 1M65

As Lou’s own CPF savings surpassed $1 million at different life stages, the movement’s brand had to evolve – from 1M65 to 1M45 to 1M48A. The latest ambitious goal? Hitting the $4 million mark by age 65, now dubbed 4M65.

Despite the name changes, the central idea remains using CPF’s interest rates (up to 6% for the Retirement Account at 55+) to grow one’s retirement fund exponentially over 30-40 years.

You can check their full interview on Chills with TFC, Episode 165 on Spotify, YouTube, Apple podcast for insights into one of Singapore’s most talked-about retirement schemes.

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