You’re familiar with the Modified Pag-IBIG 2 (MP2) Savings that comes with a five-year maturity and earns a higher dividend rate than the mandatory Pag-IBIG Regular Savings.
Last year, MP2 Savings dividend rate was at 6 percent (the highest so far was in 2017 with 8.11 percent).
For your quick reference and comparison later on, here are some important features of Modified Pag-IBIG 2 (MP2) Savings:
- It is a voluntary savings and investment program with a 5-year maturity available for Pag-IBIG members who want to save and earn higher dividends in addition to the regular Pag-IBIG savings.
- It is a dividend-earning program ideal for retirement, but can also be withdrawn prior to maturity under circumstances such as total disability, critical illness, involuntary unemployment, and others.
- Its minimum contribution is PHP500 per remittance, while a lump sum amount for the whole 5-year period may also be remitted at once.
- Majority of the funds in the program are invested in housing finance and others in short-term loan (STL) programs, government securities, time deposits, and corporate bonds.
- Since its launch in 2010, its annual dividend rate has been ranging between 4.63 to 8.11 percent.
Now, the Social Security System, or simply SSS, also has its equally competitive savings and investment programs for its members, and launched yet another new voluntary provident fund (NVPF) program late last year — the WISP Plus or the Worker’s Investment and Savings Program Plus — which came as a variant of the WISP it mandatorily implemented in January 2021.
Just recently, I came across a social media post about it, and it was even shared to our private chat group (Room 210), so I got an instant interest to research about it.
WISP Plus Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
Now, here are the frequently asked questions (FAQs), the answers as I checked the implementing guidelines, and our initial review:
- What is WISP Plus?
- What are the features of WISP Plus?
- Who can avail it?
- How can I avail it?
- How much is the minimum contribution?
- How much is the interest rate?
- How do I withdraw my money?
- What happens to my WISP Plus investment when I die?
 What is WISP Plus? Workers’ Investment and Savings Program (WISP) Plus or simply WISP Plus is a New Voluntary Provident Fund (NVPF) program that gives Social Security System (SSS) members an option to participate in an affordable, flexible, convenient, tax-free savings and investment scheme.
It serves as an additional layer of social security apart from the retirement benefits that members will receive from the regular SSS program until retirement.
WISP Plus should not be confused with WISP which is a pre-existing (mandatorily implemented in January 2021) provident fund program compulsory for SSS members who are contributing to the regular program under the monthly salary credit (MSC) that exceeds PHP20,000.
 What are the features of WISP Plus? As I researched and read the implementing guidelines, these are the salient features of WISP Plus:
- It is flexible and affordable as the participation is entirely voluntary, and the minimum contribution of PHP500 (per payment) may be paid anytime.
- It is savings and investment in one account, on top of the regular SSS program.
- It earns returns, compounded annually, as the fund is invested in government securities, BSP-approved investment instruments, and others.
- The total accumulated account value (total contributions plus tax-free investment earnings) may be partially or fully withdrawn anytime after a one-year membership in the program (unlike other funds like SSS PESO Fund which normally require 5 years otherwise with penalties).
- It is convenient as participation in the program as well as the monitoring of the contributions and earnings can be made on My.SSS online account in just a few clicks.
 Who can avail it? WISP Plus Program is open to all SSS registrants and members with no final benefit claim, i.e., retirement or total disability benefits, regardless of membership type, declared monthly earnings, and last posted monthly salary credit (MSC).
 How can I avail it? If interested and still qualified, you may avail WISP Plus through your My.SSS online account.
Application is made only once, and your program membership is lifetime, no expiration. However after full withdrawal in a year or more, you must re-enroll to the program subject anew to the guidelines.
To start, log in to My.SSS account and click on ENROLL TO WISP PLUS under the SERVICES Tab. Click VIEW TERMS AND CONDITIONS, and then I ACCEPT.
Your membership in the program will take effect once you pay your first WISP Plus contribution. You may then generate your Payment Reference Number (PRN) for your first contribution and pay via various payment channels such as GCash, Maya, and banks.
To monitor your contributions to the WISP Plus Program, along with earned interests, simply access CONTRIBUTIONS page under INQUIRY tab. It can be viewed along with your other contributions and funds.
 How much is the minimum contribution? The minimum contribution is five hundred pesos (PHP500) per payment, paid anytime you want.
The maximum payment however is subject to the guidelines for each SSS payment channel, manner of payment (e.g., manager’s check), daily limits, and others, in compliance with the applicable laws and regulations.
The payment reference number (PRN) for WISP Plus contribution only shall have a three-month validity.
 How much is the interest rate? While there is no fixed interest rate, and it is also an investment that always comes with risks (might be very low risk though), we can somehow compare it against the pre-existing mandatory provident fund, WISP, which made a return of 6.39 percent in its first year of implementation.
Accordingly, the said investment fund even outperformed other key market indicators such as the 10-year treasury bond which averaged only 4.1 percent in 2021.
As for Social Security System, a provident fund is a safe, convenient, principal-protected, and tax-free individual retirement savings plan that supplements a member’s savings from the regular program.
 How do I withdraw my money from the program? As a WISP Plus member, you may withdraw the total accumulated account value (contributions + investment income) anytime provided that:
- You have been a WISP Plus member for at least one (1) year;
- Partial withdrawal of the amount based on the total accumulated account value posted prior to the month of withdrawal, and shall only be once a month;
- Partial and full withdrawals within the first year of WISP Plus membership shall only be allowed for extreme hardship conditions such as critical illness, involuntary separation from employment, repatriation of OFW member from the host country, and other analogous conditions as may be determined by SSS.
Upon withdrawal, you shall receive adjusted earnings or investment income based on membership-length proportions (e.g., 60% of earnings for 1 to less than two years of membership and 100% for 5 years and more).
Withdrawals may be made through your approved disbursement account in the Disbursement Account Enrollment Module (DAEM) of your My.SSS online account.
 What happens to my WISP Plus investment when I die? While SSS does not mention about death in particular, WISP Plus terms and conditions say that benefits shall be automatically processed when the WISP Plus member or the beneficiary files for the final benefit claim.
Also, WISP Plus benefits shall be paid in lump-sum amount at the same time as the initial benefit claim.
WISP Plus and Pag-IBIG MP2 Compared
While features of both WISP Plus and Pag-IBI MP2 Savings have just been presented above, here is the instant comparison in summary:
- WISP Plus is offered by the Social Security System (SSS), while Pag-IBIG MP2 is by the Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF) or simply known as Pag-IBIG — both are Philippine government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs).
- Both are voluntary or optional savings and investment programs that serve as extra layers of social insurance, savings, and security through retirement.
- Both are offered to the respective members — with Pag-IBIG MP2 even offered to pensioners and retirees who still have income sources and natural born Filipinos who have reacquired citizenship with at least 24 monthly savings.
- Both require a minimum contribution of PHP500 per payment which can be paid anytime (lump sum for the whole 5-year period may be remitted for Pag-IBIG MP2).
- Both can be easily availed online via their official websites — only one account for WISP Plus and multiple accounts allowed for Pag-IBIG MP2.
- Pag-IBIG MP2 pooled funds (at least 70%) are mostly invested in housing finance, while WISP Plus funds are invested in government securities, corporate and multilateral institution and equities, short and medium-term loans, money market and BSP-approved investments, and loans to pensioners.
- Pag-IBIG MP2 as launched in 2010 has a proven track record with annual dividend rate ranging between 4.63 to 8.11 percent, while WISP Plus has just been introduced (although mostly compared with the pre-existing mandatory provident fund, WISP, which made a return of 6.39 percent in its first year of implementation).
- Pag-IBIG MP2 comes with a 5-year lock-in period, while WISP Plus with just 1 year, but both allow earlier withdrawals under extreme hardship conditions such as critical illness, death, and others.
You might want to read this article — MP2, PESO Fund, FLEXI-Fund, and WISP Plus Compared — for more details.
WISP Plus Initial Review
WISP Plus can be considered a safe investment given that it’s government-guaranteed and backed by applicable laws and regulations, in particular the R.A. 11199 or the Social Security Act of 1997.
However given its investment nature, the 6.39 percent return with the mandatory WISP is not guaranteed with the NVPF-WISP Plus. It may therefore be lower or higher depending on the investment performance, but will definitely outperform the deposit interests that banks normally offer.
As per the Terms and Conditions for the WISP Plus Program and the capital preservation priority, the investment will be made across instruments such as government securities (at least 15%), corporate and multilateral institutions and equities (up to 20%), short and medium-term loans to WISP Plus members (up to 25%), money market and BSP-approved investment instruments (up to 40%), and loans to pensioners (up to 70%).
If it happens that you have savings and bank deposits, apart from your emergency fund, that earn interests at measly 0.25% per year, it’s not bad to invest in WISP Plus at monthly contribution intervals.
However as the common investment advice goes, do not put all your eggs in one basket. Also, there have been recent doubts about the sustainability of Social Security System (SSS).
On the other hand, if you don’t have any emergency fund yet, and more if you still live paycheck to paycheck, never test the depth of the water yet.
Remember that you can cash out your WISP Plus contributions anytime, however only after one year. Yet, it is but more flexible as compared to other pre-existing funds that come with a lock-in period of five years.
So, I advise, build your emergency fund and savings first before making any investment.
MP2, PESO Fund, FLEXI-Fund, and WISP Plus Compared. This article compares the four savings and investment programs — Modified Pag-IBIG II Savings Program (MP2), SSS Personal Equity and Savings Option Fund (PESO Fund), SSS Flexi-Fund Program (FLEXI-Fund), and the recently launched Workers’ Investment and Savings Program Plus (WISP Plus) — offered by the Social Security System (SSS) and Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF), two of the Philippine government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs).
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