6 Best Investments In Singapore That Provide Guaranteed Principal And Returns

investments in Singapore

It’s not surprising that people are looking for safer investments these days because the financial markets are up and down, and interest rates are going up, which means even safer investments can make more money. But there aren’t a lot of investments in Singapore that promise to give back both your initial money and some profit for sure.

If you hear about investments that sound too good to be true, they might be scams. For this what should you do? You can check the MAS Investor Alert List to see if a company is on it, but just because they’re not listed doesn’t mean they’re not a scam.

Also, if you want super safe investments with a clear idea of how much money you’ll make, you might have to settle for lower profits that are closer to what you’d get if you didn’t take any risks at all.

What Are Risk-Free Returns?

Risk-free returns mean you get back your money with a profit, even if you don’t take risks. But in reality, we know that all investments have some level of risk.

In this article, we’ll discuss six types of investments in Singapore where your initial investment is safe, and you’re sure to get a return on your investment. If you don’t want to take risks with your money or are new to investing then these investments in Singapore are the best option. These investments can also help you feel more confident about trying out riskier ones later on.

As mentioned, with interest rates being higher these days, you can also get pretty good returns on your investments.

Singapore Government Bonds 

The Singapore government also offers bonds that last for longer periods, ranging from 2 years to 30 years. These bonds usually give you more money back compared to shorter-term T-bills. 

Normally, if everything else is the same, a bond that takes longer to mature is seen as riskier than one that matures sooner. However, it’s still considered quite safe, almost like there is no risk at all, and so it gives you returns that are close to what’s considered risk-free.

But right now, if we see interest rates, shorter-term bonds are giving slightly better returns, while longer-term bonds are giving lower returns.

Based on the Yield Curve shown on the MAS website, Singapore Government Bonds should be giving out these rates. As seen in the table below, the longer you have to wait for the bond to mature, the less interest it will pay you. This goes against what we usually expect from a yield curve.

Singapore Government Bond Term (Tenor)
Yield (p.a.)
2 years
3.71%
5 years
3.34%
10 years
3.40%
15 years
3.27%
20 years
3.20%
30 years
3.05%

In September 2021, the government started selling its first SINGA bonds. They used the money from these bonds to pay for big projects that will help Singapore for a long time, like building new train lines and protecting the coast. These projects will benefit both current and future residents of Singapore. SINGA bonds are the same as Singapore Government Securities (SGS) bonds. Also, in August 2022, the Singapore government introduced a 50-year Green SGS bond.

Singapore Government Treasury Bills (T-Bill)

A reliable way to know the risk-free rate in Singapore is by looking at the returns offered by the government. Singapore is very stable economically and has one of the highest ratings possible. The government sells Treasury bills, which are short-term investments.

In early October 2023, the latest 6-month T-bill had a yield of 4.07% per year. In August 2023, the latest 1-year T-bill offered an interest rate of 3.74% – slightly lower.

Investors seeking short-term investments of six months to a year, with minimal risk, often find Treasury bills useful.

Fixed Deposits

While not usually thought of as investing, fixed deposits can help you earn more money compared to just keeping it in a savings account or stashing it away. For example, the three main banks in Singapore have these rates for fixed deposits in Singapore dollars:

Bank/ Tenor
12 months p.a.
24 months p.a.
36 months p.a.
DBS
3.2%
3.2%
3.2%
UOB
2.3%
3.1%
3.2%
OCBC
0.5%
2.5%
2.8%

Several other banks offer their own fixed deposit options with special rates that may be higher than the regular rates. Some of these banks, including the three previously mentioned, might have specific requirements you need to meet to qualify for these special rates.

Looking at the numbers, DBS offers the highest standard rates for fixed deposits. On the other hand, OCBC’s standard rates seem to lag behind the other two banks. Keep in mind that these rates are based on standard rates, and banks may also offer promotional rates that are more competitive.

Also, when you deposit money with full banks and finance companies in Singapore, it’s protected by the Singapore Deposit Insurance Scheme. This means that up to $75,000 of your money in each account is safe. Starting in April 2024, this protection will increase to $100,000. Every one of the 37 full banks and finance companies in Singapore listed on the SDIC website is a participant in this insurance scheme.

investments in Singapore

Singapore Savings Bonds (SSB)

You might have noticed a common idea throughout. The investments in Singapore that are safest and most likely to give you back both your money and some profit are government bonds.

Introduced in October 2015, the SSB offers a gradually increasing interest rate every year for up to 10 years. Essentially, this means that the bonds provide lower returns in the early years, but if investors keep them without cashing out, the interest rate goes up each year until the 10th year. This is mainly to acknowledge that investors are holding onto the bonds for a longer period.

Overall, the SSB provides excellent liquidity, allowing investors to cash it in at any time without concern for its market value. Typically, this implies that the SSB should offer similar, albeit slightly lower, interest rates compared to other similar government securities that lack this flexibility.

Savings Plans

Savings plans, provided by insurance companies, especially those that don’t involve sharing profits, can ensure both your initial investments in Singapore and your returns. It’s important to know that there are also savings plans that ensure your investment but not the returns.

When you opt for a savings plan, you typically commit your money for a fixed period or continue contributing for a set duration. Not adhering to these terms could result in you losing a significant portion of the expected returns, especially if you’re unsure about when you might need access to the funds you’re investing.

These plans are also protected by the Singapore Deposit Insurance Scheme and may include an insurance aspect that pays out if something unfortunate happens to you.

CPF Top-Ups

To earn higher interest returns, you might consider adding funds to your Special Account (SA) through the Retirement Sum Topping-Up (RSTU) Scheme within your CPF. These contributions are backed by the Singapore government and guarantee a minimum return of 4.0% per year. Currently, the Special Account interest rate has increased to 4.07%.

You can also choose to add money to your Ordinary Account, Special Account, and Medisave Account through Voluntary Contributions (VC).

Moreover, the first $60,000 of your CPF savings, including up to $20,000 in your CPF Ordinary Account (OA), will receive an additional 1.0% interest per year. So, if you add money to your CPF SA early, your top-ups could earn up to 5.0% interest per year.

By making RSTU top-ups to your CPF SA, you could receive up to $8,000 in tax relief. Likewise, if you contribute cash to a loved one’s CPF SA, you may also get an additional $8,000 in tax relief. However, no tax reliefs are available for Voluntary Contributions to your CPF accounts.

Nevertheless, it’s crucial to understand that unlike other investments mentioned in this article, which can be sold or cashed out early (even if you might lose some value), topping up your CPF SA is permanent. You’ll only receive the funds when you turn 65, in the form of monthly CPF LIFE payouts, rather than as cash.

Exploring Riskier Investments

As you get better at investing and feel more confident, you might want to try out some riskier options. Even though they’re still pretty safe, investments like cash management accounts and corporate bonds can give you good returns and are easy to access when you need your money.

As you become more experienced with investing, you’ll learn that taking smart risks can pay off big in the future. This could mean spreading your investments around the world and putting your money into stocks, real estate, or other types of assets that could make you more money in the end.

However, it’s important to remain cautious even as you explore riskier options. Many of these investments can be volatile, requiring you to withstand and navigate through unpredictable market fluctuations to achieve favorable returns over time.

Conclusion

In conclusion, when it comes to investments in Singapore, several options offer guaranteed returns and low risk. From government bonds to CPF top-ups and savings plans, investors have a variety of choices to ensure the safety of their funds while still earning returns. As interest rates fluctuate and market conditions remain uncertain, opting for these safer investments can provide stability and peace of mind. However, as investors become more experienced and confident, they may choose to explore riskier options for potentially higher returns in the future. Regardless of the chosen investment strategy, it’s essential to remain cautious and informed to make sound financial decisions.

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