The one source most people will eye when in need of money is their retirement savings pooled with the Employees Provident Fund (EPF).
It is often a source of money that is way larger than the cash in hand to pay for big-ticket items such as a house.
The temptation to tap that source of money for a need or want is often great.
There are many avenues now for members to tap into their EPF money to pay for essential services and debt.
As it stands, members can use their EPF savings to partially pay for a house, education or for medical bills.
There have been schemes in the past where there was abuse such as buying a computer. It was cancelled by the EPF soon after it started.
But for some, the existing schemes do not seem to be enough.
Some members are enticed by scammers who claim to have a way to circumvent the EPF safeguards to take money out from their retirement savings.
The catch though is that those scammers, who use fake documentation to defraud the EPF into releasing the money, take a big chunk from the minimum RM150,000 they will scam as commission for their services.
For some, that is way too much and for the desperate, that large commission demanded for the risk of fraud is worth the effort.
EPF members should know that trying to withdraw money from the provident fund through fraudulent means is a criminal offence. There is jail time and even a big fine should they be found guilty of such a crime.
They do not have to go through a third party as the EPF will help members withdraw money legally under their various schemes.
However, people should comprehend that saving for retirement is a long journey. It gets crucial when age catches up and the time to stop working draws near.
As it stands now, with the cost of living rising every year, the worry is that Malaysians will not have enough to retire on should they stop working.
At the end of last year, the average amount of money a member had saved with the EPF at the age of 54 was RM204,288.
The one good thing for members of such an age is that the retirement age is now 60 and from here on they have at least six years of more savings for their future.
In today’s world where the average mortality age of Malaysians is over 70, the need to have enough savings is important.
Those thinking of cheating the EPF have to realise that what they will forgo is the compounded interest the savings with the provident fund will generate for them.
It is a powerful savings mechanism and when you couple it with a minimum guaranteed return and also full capital guarantee from the Government, the savings people have with the EPF is the best and safest deposit scheme in the country.
People are only robbing from themselves if they take money out from the EPF through fraudulent means.