Oops, it's that time of year again. Need to rush down to the bank and deposit the usual $11,475, before the 31 December deadline. This will reduce my income tax by exactly $2,295 next year.
Yes, I am referring to the Supplementary Retirement Scheme. For full details, click this link - you'll get the Finance Ministry's official explanation of the SRS.
The SRS is nothing new - it was introduced about a decade ago - yet many Singaporeans do not seem to know about it. Briefly, it's a voluntary government scheme which provides tax benefits to encourage people to save and invest for their own retirement years.
I think that the SRS is a good idea. Not necessarily for all people (because everyone has his or her own unique financial circumstances). But the SRS could definitely be a good idea for many people.
However, I realise that the SRS might not be that easy to understand. Take for example the blogger at Salary.Sg. In general, his articles are very informative and well-written, and I've enjoyed reading many of them. However, his recent post about the SRS - entitled What's Not Good about the SRS - struck me as a little disastrous.
The blogger discussed the SRS and concluded that it was basically a terrible thing and you would be foolish to use it. However, his explanation was not convincing and he clearly didn't know (or didn't appreciate) the finer points of what you can do with your SRS monies. (On the plus side, several of his readers did respond with good comments, to correct the shortcomings of the article).
In general, the SRS works best for (1) the higher earners, and (2) people who are interested and committed to a long-term plan of building up their retirement funds. It may also make sense for working people who are, say, already in their 50s and do not foresee having to meet any major financial expenses between now and their retirement age.
Also, the SRS has some uses for income earners who foresee that in the future, there will be a year, or two, or three, when their taxable income will dwindle sharply (for example, the person might be planning to temporarily stop work to pursue higher studies, or to look after the kids at home).
My advice to you is to at least find out how the SRS works. Then you can make an informed decision as to whether it is for you or not.