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Howard G. Cohen - Axa Advisors

Several years ago, Howard Cohen met with Dick and Susan, a couple aged 68 and 55, respectively, who hadn’t prepared for their future financial security. “After several emotional meetings, I made them aware of the necessity of thinking about those topics,” says Cohen. “There wasn’t much in the way of assets to consider, but I taught them the power of patience and how to use financial leverage in a safe way. I suggested that Dick purchase a small 10-year term life insurance policy, so if something should happen to him, Susan would have at least some security.”

A few years later, Dick was diagnosed with cancer and he passed away just 10 days before his policy would have lapsed. “Today, Susan is still working, but is largely free from significant financial concerns and will be able to retire comfortably when she is ready,” Cohen says. “I felt very satisfied, knowing I saved a financial life.”

Cohen, himself a former client of AXA Equitable, has been working with individuals, couples and families since 1995. Before joining AXA Advisors, Cohen had 28 years of experience in business, specializing in architectural lighting. One of his company’s major achievements was the lighting of the Panama Canal Locks. In this second career, Cohen enjoys helping clients shed light on planning for future security.

“I enjoyed being a CEO and a marketing consultant, but felt I could help people more directly by joining AXA Advisors,” Cohen says. “Since making that decision, I’ve developed successful relationship-based financial planning, asset strategy, and risk management practices. Many of my clients have owned or managed various aspects of businesses, so my own business background has helped me relate to their concerns.”

 Cohen believes that women face specific challenges and have distinct needs from men when it comes to retirement planning strategies, not least because they tend to have longer life spans and so must become more knowledgeable about estate planning. “Many women also have taken years away from a career to raise children, so they often have to play retirement savings catch-up,” he says, adding that women need to take the time to consider their options and learn more about building financial independence for their future.”

All professionals should set aside a portion of their current income to save for retirement, he adds. “It’s easy to think that you will begin to save for retirement when you reach a more comfortable income level, but the longer you put it off, the harder it will be to accumulate the amount you need,” he says. “Employer-sponsored retirement plans are more valuable than ever.”

As retirement approaches, professionals, whether in South Florida or elsewhere, should look at their options for capitalizing on their accumulated assets, such as how to take a lump sum payout and safeguard it over time. “Your retirement plan may allow you various strategies to take payouts over time, based on your life expectancy,” he says. “People need to avoid the temptation to spend a significant amount of their assets at one time. Also, it is important to plan for inflation and consider the tax implications of how they will use their assets. It’s never too late to start a plan.”

Howard Cohen is a financial consultant with AXA Advisors’ South Florida Branch in Fort Lauderdale who offers securities through AXA Advisors, LLC (member FINRA, SIPC), investment advisory services through AXA Advisors, LLC, an SEC-registered investment advisor, and insurance and annuities (including those of AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company (NY, NY) through AXA Network, LLC. He holds professional financial industry designations of Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU)*, Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)*, and Life Underwriters Training Council Fellow. (LUTCF)*He also holds FINRA Series 6, 7, 63, and 65 securities registrations. Cohen received the title of Retirement Planning Specialist from AXA Advisors, based on completion of a training program in Retirement Planning from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

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