As a DTE Energy employee, you’ve likely spent years working hard and diligently saving. With retirement right around the corner, you can finally enjoy the fruits of your labor and relax after a long career, but you may find yourself wondering how to turn your hard-earned savings into everyday income. Use this guide to learn about the top 5 tips for generating income from your portfolio in retirement.
Determine How Much You Can Safely Spend
Before making any decisions about how to withdraw from your portfolio, it’s crucial to first understand how much you can safely spend. The last thing you want is to spend too much based on a general rule of thumb and risk running out of money later in retirement. There are a number of factors to consider when determining how much you can safely spend, including long-term goals, lifestyle expenses, expected life span, and healthcare needs. Working with a qualified financial professional is a great way to determine the right amount for your needs.
Understand the Different Withdrawal Strategies
Once you have determined how much you can safely spend, it’s time to look at the different withdrawal strategies available. In general, there are two main methods for turning your savings into income:
Systematic Withdrawal Approach
With the systematic withdrawal approach, you withdraw a fixed percentage of your retirement savings each year, typically between 3% and 5%. The general rule of thumb is 4% in the first year of retirement and increase the amount each year to account for inflation. The withdrawal rate is based on the value of the portfolio at the start of each year, so the amount of income can fluctuate depending on market performance.
This strategy allows you to generate a steady stream of income while still allowing for flexibility and potential growth of your investments. However, it’s important to monitor the withdrawal rate to ensure the portfolio can last throughout retirement.
Another way to optimize your portfolio longevity is to divide your savings into different buckets to match different time horizons. Each bucket will have investments tailored to that time horizon in terms of asset class, risk level, and liquidity.
One common approach is to divide your portfolio into three buckets:
- A short-term bucket will be invested conservatively in cash, bonds, and other low-risk assets. This bucket is for your expenses over the next 1-3 years.
- A medium-term bucket will be slightly more aggressive, investing in a mix of stocks and bonds to generate growth and income over the next 3-10 years.
- A long-term bucket will take on much more volatility by investing primarily in stocks or other growth-oriented assets for expenses that are 10-plus years away.
By dividing your portfolio into buckets, you can potentially generate income from your medium-term and long-term buckets while ensuring you have the funds you need for near-term expenses. Keeping the long-term bucket invested in growth assets also increases your odds of keeping pace with inflation over time.
Maintain Tax Efficiency
You may not think much of it, but the order in which you withdraw from your investment accounts can significantly impact the longevity of your portfolio. In general, it’s best to spend your taxable accounts first, followed by your tax-deferred (or pre-tax) accounts, and finally your tax-free (Roth) accounts last.
Spending your taxable accounts first can help minimize your tax liability in retirement. This is because withdrawals will be taxed as capital gains rather than ordinary income as long as the underlying investments were held for longer than a year. This strategy also allows your investments to grow tax-deferred longer.
Once you have exhausted your taxable accounts, you can begin withdrawing from your tax-deferred accounts. Since these accounts are subject to ordinary income taxes, it’s important to plan your withdrawals carefully to minimize the tax hit.
Finally, once you have exhausted your taxable and tax-deferred accounts, you can begin withdrawing from your tax-free accounts like Roth IRAs and Roth 401(k)s. Withdrawals from Roth accounts are not subject to income taxes, making them a valuable source of tax-free income for future use.
Another important consideration for generating retirement income is annuities. Annuities can provide you a guaranteed source of income in retirement. When you purchase an annuity, you pay a lump-sum premium to an insurance company in exchange for regular income payments over a set period of time, or for the rest of your life.
Annuities can be a good option for retirees who want the security that comes from a guaranteed income stream. However, it’s important to consider the fees associated with annuities, which can be higher than other investment options. Additionally, it’s important to select an annuity that fits your needs and goals, as there are many different types of annuities available with different features and benefits.
Working with a financial advisor can help you determine if an annuity is a good option for you and which type of annuity is best suited for your retirement income plan.
Don’t Forget About Long-Term Growth
Many people are quick to assume that retirement means your portfolio must become ultra-conservative, consisting only of cash and bonds as a way to safeguard against market volatility. While your portfolio should become slightly more conservative, you still need assets geared toward long-term growth.
As tempting as it is to invest solely for income, avoid investing your entire portfolio in income-producing assets like bonds or dividend-paying stocks. The interest payments received can fluctuate wildly from year to year and your payments are unlikely to keep up with inflation. Dividend investing also has some major disadvantages, including higher fees and taxes, as well as questionable historical performance.
DTE Energy Employees looking to maximize their retirement savings should invest in a diversified portfolio that includes both income and growth-style investments. Of course, the specific allocation that’s right for you depends on your individual financial goals, risk tolerance, and other factors. This is something we can help you determine at Center for Wealth Management.
Do You Have Questions About Your Retirement Income Strategy?
Transitioning from saving for retirement to spending your retirement savings can be a challenge for many DTE Energy employees, especially if they don’t have a withdrawal strategy in place. At Center for Wealth Management, we can assess your retirement income needs and develop a strategic plan to help you make the most of your savings. To learn more about your options, call (248) 220-4321 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also schedule a meeting by visiting www.calendly.com/cwmrob/initial.
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 more than 15 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.