17 acronyms you need to know before turning 25 to get ahead in life

25 Jul 2017 
SOURCE: Mothership.sg
If you are reading this, chances are you’re a proud member of Gen Z. Also known as the generation after the Millennials.

It is likely, too, that every time you visit the kopitiam you only order teh ping orkopi ping. Not because they’re your favourite, but because you have no clue what teh si siu dai or kopi ga dai mean. Who knows, you may never even have had your first taste of the goodness that is kopi di lo.


Moral of the story? As one grows up, there are many useful things in life worth learning so as not to miss out. Especially adult terms (no, not that sort).


If you’re not a member of Gen Z, read on anyways. Ownself check ownself is good. Gen Z learns fast and moves quickly. Surely you don’t want to become obsolete.


1. OIL


Stands for: Off in lieu


WYNTK: A day off on another date, usually because a public holiday falls on a Saturday. Or when you work during a Sunday or Public Holiday. Basically, the more the merrier.


Usage: “We will get Monday OIL as Christmas falls on Saturday.”​


2. ROM


Stands for: Registry of Marriages


WYNTK: You go there to get legally married. And also to enjoy the many legal benefits accorded to you as a married couple.


Usage: “Adam and Eve are going to ROM next month. Congratulations to the couple!”




Stands for: What you need to know


(If you’ve read this far and still don’t know what this is, you’re missing the point of this article!)


4. BTO / SBF


Stands for: Built-To-Order / Sale of Balance Flats


WYNTK: The most affordable, mass-market option if you wish to own your own house in Singapore. Cos government subsidies.


Usage: “Eh dear, HDB got BTO launch this month. Wanna check it out?”


5. EC


Stands for: Executive Condominium


WYNTK: A hybrid between public and private housing, and often priced more attractively than private housing. ECs are developed and sold by private developers, but subject to some regulations that apply to HDB flats.


Usage: “The upcoming EC in Yio Chu Kang not bad sia. But dunno whether can afford or not.”


6. HLE


Stands for: HDB Loan Eligibility


WYNTK: This is the exercise that needs to be completed first in order to apply for a public housing loan from HDB. It helps HDB ensure that you meet all the necessary eligibility criteria. Can be done online.


Usage: “Ah boy, better make sure you get your HLE sorted before buying your flat. No loan then siao liao.”




Stands for: Total Debt Servicing Ratio


WYNTK: This is an affordability ratio that helps ensure that you don’t buy a house that’s way beyond your financial means. In Singapore, the current TDSR is 60%, which means your mortgage loan repayments and other debt repayments should not be more than 60% of your gross income.


Usage: “Given the TDSR, you are eligible for a home loan of up to $300,000. You may wish to rethink your intention to purchase a 5-room resale flat in Bishan that costs $600,000 as it may not be within your means.”


8. FDR


Stands for: Fixed Deposit Rate


WYNTK: In America, FDR is short for 32nd US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Here, it refers to the interest rates of fixed deposits (low-risk financial instruments that typically pay higher returns than regular savings accounts).


Usage: “What’s the prevailing FDR ah? Now put money in fixed deposit worth it not?”


9. AIP


Stands for: Approval in Principle


WYNTK: When your bank tells you that AIP has been granted for your home loan, all it means is they agree that you meet the criteria for them to give you a loan. It does not mean a loan has actually been given.


Usage: “The bank will grant AIP based on your credit history and overall financial health.”


10. SSD / BSD / ABSD


Stands for: Seller Stamp Duty / Buyer Stamp Duty / Additional Buyer Stamp Duty


WYNTK: Yeah, it’s complicated. But you can’t run away from it. SSD / BSD / ABSD are all duties (different forms of tax) one may need to pay when purchasing or selling property. For exact breakdowns, visit here.

Usage: “Better check how much ABSD you need to pay before you buy this house. Sometimes it can come up to quite a bit.”




Stands for: Singapore Exchange Central Depository


WYNTK: CDP provides the facilities necessary for one to invest in equities and fixed income financial instruments in the Singapore Securities Market. In simple English: want to invest $, faster register an account.


Usage: “We will need your CDP account number in order to set up your trading account.”


12. IP


Stands for: Integrated Shield Plan


WYNTK: All Singaporeans and PRs have mandatory basic health insurance under this thing called MediShield Life. An IP provides additional coverage (on top of MediShield Life coverage) for an additional premium.


Usage: “If you want to play safe and can afford it, consider getting an IP.”


13. OA


Stands for: Ordinary Account


WYNTK: Along with the Special Account and Medisave Account, the OA is one of the 3 parts that make up one’s CPF account. OA savings draw up to 3.5% interest and may be used for things like housing, investment, insurance, and education.


Usage: “Did you know that you may be able to use the savings in your OA to offset the deposit of your HDB flat purchase?”


14. SA


Stands for: Special Account


WYNTK: Along with the OA and Medisave Account, the SA is one of the 3 parts that make up one’s CPF account. SA savings draw up to 5% interest and may be used for investment in retirement-related financial products (i.e. the safer, lower-risk stuff).


Usage: “Did you know that you can top up your family member’s SA with cash to enjoy tax reliefs?”


15. RA


Stands for: Retirement Account


WYNTK: Created automatically at age 55 by combining the savings from one’s OA and SA.


Usage: “Pa, Ma… did you know that savings in your RA earn at least 4% interest per annum?”




Stands for: CPF Investment Scheme


WYNTK: A scheme that allows CPF members to invest their OA and SA savings in a wide range of financial instruments to enhance their retirement nest egg.


Usage: “Girl ah, next time got enough CPF savings already can consider CPF IS. But not confident investing on your own also neh mind, can still leave it in your CPF account to earn risk-free interest.”




Stands for: CPF Lifelong Income For Elderly


WYNTK: A scheme through which, upon retirement, one can receive monthly payouts for as long as one lives, intended at helping Singaporeans finance part of their retirement needs.


Usage: “At least with CPF LIFE, next time retire already not so pek chek.”






You may have noticed that the last few acronyms are related to this thing called CPF. That’s because there’s no running from the fact that CPF is going to be a significant part of your life.


So now that you’ve learnt your ABCs, why not pick up some 123s as well?


Because A.D. 2017 + short attention span, CPF Board has come up with a bunch of super useful short videos on the basics of managing your CPF savings:




Definitely stuff worth knowing before you turn 25.


Happy exploring!​


This post is brought to you by CPF Board and fuels Mothership.sg so we can make the most of our CPF savings.

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