PLP Advisors, LLC

Financial Advisor Talks About Social Security Collection Mistakes

Tubbergen's radio shows are also available as podcasts.


Grand Rapids, MI -- (SBWIRE) -- 08/06/2013 -- If you have trouble keeping up with what is going on in the U.S. economy, read on.

Dennis Tubbergen, a financial advisor, author, radio show host and CEO of PLP Advisors, LLC can help out. Whether people enjoy his monthly newsletter at or his blog at, Tubbergen is dedicated to sharing his viewpoints and opinions. On August 5, 2013 his blog was titled Common Social Security Collection Mistakes.

"My firm does retirement income planning for those who are planning for retirement or are already retired," began Tubbergen. "One of the biggest areas of confusion when putting together a retirement income plan is deciding when and how to collect Social Security benefits."

Tubbergen goes on to say there is a prevailing thought that suggests a potential Social Security recipient should collect retirement benefits as soon as possible. There are several reasons for this thought and strategy, but it is often a bad idea for many folks.

"Professor Larry Kotlikoff, a past guest on my radio program, The Everything Financial Radio Show, has developed a terrific software program that helps a potential Social Security recipient decide when and how is the best way to collect Social Security benefits in their individual situation," explained Tubbergen. "This decision is often driven by personal facts and circumstances as is demonstrated by the following excerpt from the Professor’s Ask Larry column."

The first question for this week is one I was asked in person by a 67-year-old married physician who told me he had terminal cancer and could live another five years at most.

You could not meet a nicer or better man, and he's facing his situation with joy for all the good he's done and experienced and with determination to live out his remaining days helping others, all while living life to the fullest.

In between telling me about his recent and pending fly fishing expeditions, which he can partake in thanks to his oral chemotherapy, he asked if he should follow the Social Security office's strong advice to take his benefits immediately so that he'd get something back for all his years of contributing.

I told him this probably was bad advice for the following reason: Each year between full retirement age and 70 that he waits to collect will increase by 8 percent (not compounded) the real (inflation-adjusted) amount of Social Security survivor benefits his wife, who hadn't worked much, will receive for the rest of her life after he passes away.

For example, if he survives to 70, his wife will receive a 24 percent higher survivor benefit check every month.

The reason the wife's work history matters is that she'll get a check equal to the larger of her own retirement benefit or her survivor benefit. If she had earned more than the doctor and waited, say, to age 70 to collect her retirement benefit, the survivor benefit wouldn't matter because she'd never collect it.

The moral to this story is to be very careful taking Social Security's advice and to bear in mind that your decision about when to take your own retirement benefit will impact what your spouse and, indeed, your ex-spouses to whom you were married for 10 or more years, will receive in survivor benefits.

Social Security Administration employees are specifically trained not to advise people what to do but instead to explain their options and let them decide what is best for them. Some employees hesitate to mention what will happen in the event of a person's death simply because it's an uncomfortable subject. So we often have the worst of both worlds: They give advice when they shouldn't and then often give only partial advice.

"There are many Social Security income maximization options for folks who are planning retirement or who are already retired, under the age of 70 who are already collecting Social Security," concludes Tubbergen. "If this is you, I would strongly advise you to completely understand your options as soon as possible and put together a tentative income plan."

To read the blog in its entirety go to and select his August 5, 2013 entry.

Tubbergen’s syndicated radio show can be heard on metro Michigan stations WTKG 1230 AM and WOOD Newsradio1300 AM and 106.9 FM.
Dennis Tubbergen has been in the financial industry for over 25 years and has his corporate offices in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Tubbergen is CEO of PLP Advisors, LLC and has an online blog that can be read at To view Tubbergen’s latest Moving Markets? newsletter, go to

The opinions expressed herein are those of the writer and not necessarily those of USA Wealth Management, LLC. This update may contain forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, statements as to future events that involve various risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause actual events or results to differ materially from those that were forecasted. Therefore, no forecast should be construed as a guarantee. Prior to making any investment decision, individuals should consult a professional to determine the risks, costs, benefits and fees associated with a particular investment. Information obtained from third party resources is believed to be reliable but the accuracy cannot be guaranteed.