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Can I take my MPF benefits if I retire early?

By Elaine Hwang | December 23, 2022

Most members know that they need to be 65 to start withdrawing your retirement savings from the MPF system. However, employees can withdraw their MPF benefits earlier if they meet certain conditions.

Most members are aware that you need to be age 65 before you can start to withdraw your retirement savings from the MPF system. However, some companies have a retirement age which is earlier than 65, and other companies may allow employees to retire early. In such cases, can the employee withdraw their MPF benefits before age 65?

The answer is yes, provided the employee meets certain conditions for early payment.

  • At least 60 years of age

The MPFA's first requirement for "early retirement" is that an employee must have reached age 60. So, if a company requires its employees to retire at age 55, they must wait until they are at least age 60 before applying.

  • Statutory declaration indicating no intention to work again

When an employee attains age 60, and assuming they wish to take their MPF benefits before age 65, the employee must make a statutory declaration to confirm they are permanently ceasing all employment and have no intention of being employed or self-employed again.

Employees need to make the required statutory declaration before any of the following - a Commissioner of Oaths of the Home Affairs Department, a Notary Public, or a Justice of the Peace. The statutory declaration can be downloaded from the MPFA website.

It is worth noting that following retirement, some members will sometimes engage in ad hoc consulting or part-time work, either on an employed or self-employed basis.  If some form of paid work is anticipated for more than 60 days, the person is not eligible for early payment of their MPF benefits and should not make a statutory declaration.

Therefore, a member should not make a statutory declaration if there is an intention to be employed again or to be self-employed.

Withdrawal of MPF benefits takes time to process

After completing the statutory declaration, an employee then needs to fill out a form to notify the MPF provider of their intention to withdraw their MPF benefits early. After receiving and checking the form, and subject to receipt of the employee’s final contributions, the accumulated benefits will be paid out by the MPF provider. Note that this can take about 30-60 days.

If the employee fails to meet the conditions for withdrawing their benefits early, only the voluntary contributions can be withdrawn early.

Members can continue to invest in the MPF

The MPF may be regarded as a vehicle through which it is possible to continue to invest after retirement. On average, members live another 20-30 years after retirement, and so without investment, the purchasing power of the accumulated funds will diminish over time. The MPF regulations allow employees to withdraw their benefits either in one lump sum or in installments. If some or all of an employee’s funds are retained within the system, they can continue to invest their contributions in the funds of their choice, and choose between different MPF schemes with no restriction.

Early retirement reduces the number of years over which to invest for retirement

Retiring early may be something to look forward to, but employees must understand that a comfortable retirement is very much dependent on accumulating sufficient retirement savings throughout working life. If one retires early, employees will have fewer years to invest their retirement savings and a longer period over which to make their savings last. Therefore, employees need to plan carefully for their retirement, manage their accounts actively and track the status over time.

This article in English and Chinese is available for download.

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Can I take my MPF benefits if I retire early? PDF 1.1 MB

Senior Director & Business Development Lead, Greater China

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