Mandatory saving

I used to believe in nationally mandated saving e.g. Employee Provident Fund ("EPF") in Malaysia, Central Provident Fund ("CPF") in Singapore and superannuation in Australia. The former two are administered centrally by statutory boards while the latter is administered privately.

At the lowest level, people simply want to live in the present and don't think about savings, for whatever reason. After that, there are people who realised the importance of savings but never do anything about it. Then next are the people who are trying to save but can't seem to succeed due to a variety of reasons (e.g. distractions, emergencies, no monitoring and feedback mechanism).

Mandatory saving is then useful for everyone in general. In exchange, government gives tax concession and sometimes incentives for people to save more than the required minimum.

However, I am now not so steadfast in supporting such scheme. One reason: government interference that's detrimental to members of such scheme.

Example of unpopular (and possibly detrimental) amendments are:

(1) Frequently increasing retirement age, which directly or indirectly helps the government because it delays payment of benefits.

(2) Change benefit benefit structure e.g. lump sum to withdrawal over a number of years to compulsory annuity (ala pension style). This helps to delay payment and more importantly deprive members the choice of how they would like to use their retirement fund.

(3) Raise tax rate or reduce tax concession whenever the government wants to raise revenue

There is even suspicion that centrally administered fund is used to support government-linked companies.

All these make me question the benefit of such scheme. Its original objective may be of good intention but time and time again it's proven to be going to hell.
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