Investing: Where do I even start?

In this #WomenInvested Meet Up, hear tips on how to begin your investing journey – or take it to the next level

Watch now


As a Financial Advisor and Senior Portfolio Advisor on the Longnecker-Nething-Leonard Wealth Management Team, I engage with clients to help them navigate the vast amount of financial noise, bringing a clear vision to their financial lives. Our Team focuses on lifelong relationships, educating clients on the importance of developing wealth management strategies, and providing the advice to help meet their financial goals. We work with Executives, C-Suite professionals, and high income business owners to maximize their ability to keep and invest the majority of what they earn. We take great care, taking into consideration our clients risk tolerance, time horizon, liquidity needs and overall investment goals. We understand the importance of protecting all you've built by creating sensible strategies that address liquidity, longevity and legacy planning.

I am and have always been passionate about finance, economics, investing and helping others succeed with their goals. My over 28 years in financial services has only been possible through hard work, integrity and constant learning. My experience has been on both sides of the balance sheet as a small business owner and it includes mortgages, lending, investing and banking. Because of my life and business ownership experience, I can empathize and understand what clients are going through to help them navigate life's financial challenges. I was born in Michigan and moved to Arizona in 1997. I live in the Arcadia area of Phoenix with my wife Sindi, two daughters Zoe (18), Ava (13) and our two dogs Hank and Tito. When not at work I enjoy my family time, watching the girls play their sports (volleyball and soccer), reading non-fiction (mostly finance/economics and history) and I am an avid hiker trekking across the Grand Canyon multiple times amongst other places.

I invite you to a conversation about what is important to you and your family today and in the future. We should connect if you have questions about our team, its philosophy, our approach to customized financial advice, investing, wealth transfer or if you are a CPA or attorney interested in a trusted resource for your clients.

*Banking and Lending Services are through Bank of America, N.A. (NMLS#671049)

*A Senior Portfolio Advisor can help clients pursue their objectives by managing on a discretionary basis custom investment strategies, selecting from a wide range of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management model portfolios and third-party investment strategies.

Community involvement is an integral part of how we interact with clients and communities. We are enthusiastically involved with volunteering and fundraising for organizations such as Habitat For Humanity Central, AZ . Let us show you how our professionalism and dedicated client service could benefit you and your family. Contact us at your earliest convenience.


    Western Michigan University

Additional Resources

The following specialists do not make securities recommendations. Please contact your Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Advisor if you have questions about how a specialist might be able to assist you.

John Karsnitz

Investment Solutions Group Portfolio Strategist

Bank of America, N.A.

RJ Lancaster

Wealth Management Banking Specialist


Brad Frandsen

Wealth Strategies Advisor

Bank of America, N.A.

Where do we begin? It starts with you.

At Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, your financial advisor focuses on the things you care about most- family, goals and priorities - even as they change over the years.

Understanding Your Life


Every relationship begins with a conversation, helping you identify and prioritize which goals matter most to you. Whether it's transferring wealth to the next generation, customizing your financial approach to help you pursue your passions, or providing advice and guidance to help you stay informed, I start by listening to learn more about you and your family.


Merrill’s process is designed to help deliver a customized, comprehensive experience to assist you not only in wealth accumulation and preservation, but in areas that go beyond investments. Providing you with access to the investment insights of Merrill, trust and fiduciary services from Bank of America Private Bank, and the banking and lending solutions of Bank of America offers a way to help you manage all of the pieces of your financial life. Working one-on-one with a Merrill advisor means you have a single point of contact to help you with potential strategies for transferring wealth to the younger generation.

Focus On Individuals, Families and Small Businesses

I believe that financial success can be achieved when you’re able to make investment-related decisions and trade-offs that can help you reach personally meaningful goals. Whether you’re planning your retirement, saving to buy a home or funding a child’s education, the process begins by getting to know you and how you feel about the following:

  • Health: Managing healthcare expenses, now and in the future
  • Home: Upsizing, downsizing, remodeling or buying a vacation home
  • Family: Taking care of your family and other people in your life
  • Leisure: Spending your free time in meaningful ways
  • Giving: Volunteering, mentoring others and giving to charities
  • Work: Working in retirement, selling or starting a business
  • Finance: Bringing it all together and defining your financial goals

Success will be measured by the amount of progress you are making toward reaching your goals, making thoughtfully considered adjustments as events and conditions warrant.

This material should be regarded as general or educational information on healthcare or Social Security considerations and is not intended to provide specific healthcare or social security advice. If you have questions regarding your particular situation, please contact your legal or tax advisor.

Your approach to investing

Drawing upon research in the field of behavioral finance, Merrill developed the Investment Personality Assessment to help us get to know you better as an investor and potentially help you refine your own investing preferences. By gaining a deeper understanding of how you think and feel about investing through this assessment, we can customize the financial approach we develop together to help you pursue what matters most to you. Our Investment Personality Assessment is one of the ways to help us get to know you - to understand your goals and priorities. These questions will help us provide you with additional insights and resources.

Understanding your goals and priorities

Your life and goals change. We have tools to help you keep track of these changes so they can be reflected in your financial approach.

SL Philosophy

What we do is provide clarity and thus help reduce anxiety for clients on a range of topics relating to their personal financial health and wealth. While the topics can be complicated and the problems complex we work to keep the process service oriented and simple. The approach is honest, holistic, and comprehensive, considering 7 life priorities which are all interconnected. Through my work, I am able to help individuals, families and businesses prepare for their financial future as well plan their legacy. We are thorough, detailed oriented and focused on listening to what our clients want and need, so we can develop the right personalized strategies.  The combination of Merrill and Bank of America resources and specialists, provide me with the ability to help my clients with almost any financial need.

Steve Leonard - Welcome

I was born in Michigan and moved to Arizona in 1997. I live in the Arcadia area of Phoenix with my wife Sindi, two daughters Zoe (17), Ava (12) and our two puppies Tito and Hank. When not at work I enjoy my family time, reading non-fiction, mostly finance and economics. A former marathon runner, I am now and avid hiker, you can find me on Camelback Mountain 3x per week at 5am fighting off father time. Having grown up in Michigan, I love the lakes, camping, fishing, and off-roading, I am a huge Michigan football fan…GO BLUE!

Staying on Track

We understand that both your life and the financial markets can change over time. By checking in to discuss changes in your life and revisiting your financial approach, our goal is to help you stay on track to achieve what's most important to you.

Reviews to help you
stay on track

We’ll meet with you to review your goals and the progress you’ve made toward reaching them. We’ll also discuss any adjustments needed to your financial approach to help you stay on course.

    Changes in your life
    and to your goals

    Your life and goals change. As these changes occur, we can update your approach to reflect them.


    MyMerrill is your online destination for access to your financial information, secure communications, and a robust offering of tools and capabilities.

    Your advisor is a click away within our site or mobile apps

    You can manage account security with our customizable security capabilities such as touch ID, one time passcode, and other security features

    Access to your complete financial life is available with My Financial Picture, Merrill’s asset aggregation tool

      Let’s Have a Conversation

      Helping you reach your goals starts with getting to know you personally. Through understanding what matters most to you, together I can help you create a financial approach that reflects your personality. Only then can I offer an approach that is built around your life priorities and the advice you need to help you address fluctuations in the market and changes in your life. Let’s work together to help you achieve your goals.

      Why Merrill?

      As Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Advisors, we will sort through the financial complexities of your life, helping you build a customized investment approach to address your needs and pursue your goals.


      We put you first, every day.
      Learn more about the dedicated one-on-one relationship you can have with a Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Advisor.

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      Transcript of Video 

      No question too big or moment too small
      For every question you have, every decision you make and every answer you need, we are with you to listen and help guide you along the many paths your life can take. Watch this video to see some questions we can address together.

      The Power of the Right Advisor®
      Working with a dedicated Merrill advisor means you get personalized investment strategies from Merrill plus access to comprehensive financial solutions only Bank of America can deliver.

      Personalized advice from a dedicated financial advisor.

      We get to know you and your family, your financial situation and what matters most to you.

      A comprehensive approach, built around your life’s priorities.

      Drawing from our experience and the best thinking of Merrill, together we will design an approach that reflects your unique needs, priorities and financial situation.

      Adjusting your investment approach as your life and the markets change.

      We will work to help you stay on track, regardless of what the markets are doing.