Hi anon, It's true that your first line of retirement income should come from CPF LIfe. Currently, CPF Life is the best annuity in the market and it will likely remain that way. As you mentioned, the returns are risk free and high (although the 4% interest is reviewed quartery and one has to wonder how long it can be sustained) However, the payouts are meant for a very basic level of retirement and if one wants to have a little more payout to have a better quality of life, then this is where a private insurer's annuity will come in to supplement CPF Life. One should use CPF Life as a baseline (unless you are not SC/PR) and then private annuities stack on top of that. As a guaranteed source of retirement income, there is simply no other asset class that can compare to an annuity (we'll leave CPF Life out this portion for discussion). All other asset classes have some form of risk, and we've seen dividends cut or deferred in uncertain economic times (just look at HSBC). In a retirement scenario, it's about knowing that month to month, you will get a payout that will afford you a decent standard of living. That is why guarantees are so important. Anything non-guaranteed can be used for non-essentials in retirement such as holidays, but you will need a guaranteed pay cheque to ensure your essentials are met. Thus if your basic needs are not met via CPF LIFE, then the other option is to use a retirement plan. About the projected returns, I would suggest you start by looking at the guaranteed yield as well. I have seen guaranteed yields of more than 2.5% which is very decent beyond CPF. Considering that bonuses are guaranteed once credited, I would say that 3%+ in the long run is likely possible, and if the yield does reach 4%, that's a plus. So we do need to have a realistic view of what's achievable with a retirement plan. Yes, the contributions to a retirement plan may be 'forced', but with good planning, then the amount one contributes does not have to be an excessive amount of one's cash flow and should be sustainable for the duration of the premiums. There are also single premium retirement plans which are akin to topping up one's SA/RA when you have excess cash. I do contribute to CPF myself as a self employed, but I am wary that the goalposts could move. CPF LIFE may start later than 65 by the time I approach retirement. Thus I also have my own private retirement plan, which allows me a measure of certainity that when I reach 60 (at least, for myself), I have a guaranteed stream of income to look forward to. What's better than one guaranteed stream of income? Two guaranteed streams of income.