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10 Steps to Prepare to Retire From DTE by the End of the Year

10 Steps to Prepare to Retire From DTE by the End of the Year

January 30, 2024

Planning for retirement is a marriage of personal and financial decisions. For DTE Energy employees planning to retire, the financial advisors at Center for Wealth Management can help you develop a plan.

Here are 10 key steps to effectively prepare to retire from DTE by the end of the year. 

1. Define What Retirement Looks Like for You

When preparing to retire, consider when you want to retire, where you want to live, and what you want your retirement to look like. Writing down your goals and objectives for retirement lays the foundation for completing further steps. 

2. Build a Budget for Your Retirement

Once you know how you want to live in retirement, you’ll need to develop a plan to pay for it. Make sure you identify what you need to pay for and work out your cash flow based on how many years you believe you might live in retirement. 

I like to categorize expenses into either a “Need” or a “Want”. I need to pay for taxes, insurance, liabilities, etc. I want to stay in Florida for three months each year. I want to have enough to cover extra dining out in retirement. 

3. Identify Potential Sources of Income

We like to plan to cover your Needs with a dependable income stream like a pension or Social Security. We then use the 401k or other variable assets that can be turned into income to cover your Wants. A good rule of thumb is to plan to take 4% annually from your investments. 

If you do have a pension, think long and hard about which survivor option to select for your spouse. Alternatively, you can also consider taking the lump sum option. While you are still working, consider maxing out your DTE-sponsored 401(k) and contributing the maximum in an investment retirement account or Roth IRA outside DTE Energy. 

4. Consider When You Want to Receive Social Security Payouts

Another major consideration is whether to begin taking your Social Security benefit immediately upon retiring, typically as early as age 62, or delay. You can delay until age 70. When you begin taking your Social Security benefit can impact the amount you receive. Longevity, the need to cover expenses, investment assets, your health, the health of your spouse, etc. are all considerations for determining when to begin Social Security. 

According to the Social Security Administration, about one-third of retired Americans aged 65 or older rely on their Social Security for about 75% of their income.

5. Determine if You Want (or Need) to Work

Retiring doesn’t mean you have to stop working, and after evaluating your retirement goals and cash flow, you might decide you need to continue working in some capacity. How you work and what you earn can affect Social Security benefits, so it’s important to consider a variety of angles when deciding whether to work as you prepare to retire.

6. Evaluate Your Health

Staying healthy can be central to enjoying your retirement. Take time to determine where you are physically. This is also a good time to take full advantage of DTE’s healthcare benefits, including stretching the power of your pre-tax dollars in your health savings account (HSA) and opting for last-minute surgeries you may have been putting off.

7. Clean Up Your Balance Sheet

Pull together records on everything you owe, including whether you have a mortgage. Make a plan to pay off your debt, and think about whether you might want to “rightsize” where you live. Entering retirement debt-free and reducing your housing costs could help improve your cash flow in retirement.

8. Plan for the Unseen

When you think about retirement, it’s easy to only imagine roses. However, you won’t always be able to predict what’s ahead. Consider increasing your life insurance from DTE Energy one to two times. Doing so could increase your coverage as a retiree. Also, consider talking to an advisor about your long-term care insurance. Make sure to review Medicare options as well. 

9. Don’t Neglect Estate Planning

Did you know DTE Energy offers the MetLife Legal Will Preparation program? Estate planning is often a financial consideration left out of retirement plans. DTE’s program could provide you with a valuable discount on estate planning.

10. Stay on Course

Often, people do all they need to prepare to retire, but after leaving the workforce, they fall away from their plan. To stay on track with your plan, consider bringing on board a Center for Wealth Management financial advisor who specializes in helping DTE Energy employees.

Hire a Financial Advisor As You Prepare to Retire

If you’re a DTE Energy employee with questions about retiring, the Center for Wealth Management team can help you answer them. Call (248) 220-4321 or email robert@cwmfinancial.net. You can also schedule a meeting by visiting www.calendly.com/cwmrob/initial.

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About Rob

Robert Moore is senior partner, financial planner, investment advisor, and co-owner of Center for Wealth Management, an independent, fee-based wealth management company based in Troy, MI. With over 20 years of experience, Rob provides customized advice and solutions that are in the clients’ best interest. He strives to always go above and beyond his clients’ expectations, helping them retire with more security than they had before, and invest their time and energy in what’s most important to them. Rob specializes in working with DTE Energy employees, helping them maximize their benefits so they can reduce taxes, prepare for retirement, and protect their families through a comprehensive planning process. Rob graduated from Michigan State University and holds the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) certifications.

Rob is known as a diehard family man who enjoys spending time with his beautiful wife, Jill, his daughter, Brookelyn, and his son, Brayden. When he’s not working, you can find him playing basketball once a week, squeezing in a round of golf, and watching college football and basketball with friends and family. He is passionate about enriching the lives of others through his church involvement and service at a community addiction program. Learn more about Rob by connecting with him on LinkedIn.