Central Provident Fund? Medisave account? Bilateral tax relief treaty? If all these terms sound Greek to you, you have come to the right place! This part of the InterNations expat guide to Singapore provides a quick and easy intro to social security and taxation in the city-state.
The system of social security in Singapore is often cited favorably in international discussions about the welfare state. Proponents of government support point out the generally good standard of living, the availability of medical care, and the high life expectancy of more than 83 years at birth. On the other hand, those who favor personal responsibility applaud the ways in which the Singaporean model encourages citizens to make provisions for times of need. It remains to be seen how Singapore will be dealing with the demographic challenges that are characteristic of so many highly industrialized nations. The above-average life expectancy and one of the lowest fertility rates in the world lead to an aging society with a decreasing active population. However, the considerable number of expats and migrant workers may offset this potential loss in productivity. Moreover, taking care of the elderly is still regarded widely as the responsibility of the young generation.