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Megan Stirrat

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Profile

Meeting the financial and organizational needs of women (and men) before, throughout and after the divorce process, Megan Stirrat has built a growing reputation for her “sensible and sensitive” approach, her invaluable guidance, and her ability to connect clients with others who can help.

Working with clients in California and out-of-state – and with professionals including therapists, attorneys and accountants – Megan has become a sought-after speaker at divorce care workshops nationwide and a key resource for many who benefit from her advice, even before becoming clients.

Megan finds tremendous fulfillment assisting clients at this challenging time in their lives. Educating them on “what they own and owe,” she begins by listening closely. In some cases, she saves clients time and money by offering direction that helps organize their affairs before meeting with an attorney. In other instances, Megan assists clients who’ve completed the divorce process plan for the road ahead – creating new budgets and educating them on how their lives might need to change: whether selling a home is wise, when and whether to return to the workplace, and often, helping them achieve a needed life balance for parent and child.

Megan further explains the need to balance what should be a conservative asset allocation with the opportunity for growth. “Not growing is not an option,” says Megan. “So we create what I call ‘diversified sources of income’ – from bonds, dividend-paying high-quality stocks, annuities, pensions and spousal support, when it exists. The goal is a solid portfolio that isn’t compromised by market volatility. Clients have enough stress in their lives. They need a solid wealth management strategy that can provide predicable income with the potential for growth. A part of each plan, I put measures in place to prevent ‘spending through their money’ or ‘healing through splurging.’ It’s gratifying to get clients moving toward where they need to go, taking as little risk as possible.”

For many clients, their children’s wellbeing is a major concern, as are their questions, including: Will too much salary affect alimony? And, Is selling investments before or after divorce the best option? “I’m not a lawyer or accountant, but I understand much of what clients need to know. Of course, retirement is always a looming concern for all clients. There, I help ensure that necessary funds will be there later,” adds Megan.

Recognizing the value of education and being clear at a time when much of life is not, Megan helps clients appreciate components in their portfolio and explains – in simple terms – the complex role that investments play. In guiding individuals through significant transitions in life, including retirement and divorce, Megan recognizes that her clients changing and complex financial pictures include many legal and emotional components. But, as Megan points out, “Most attorneys are not financial experts – and most accountants aren’t knowledgeable about the effects of divorce. That’s why I work in both areas, creating strategies that minimize capital gains or tax ramifications.

Especially valued by those who need a trusted financial advisor when “trust” is hard to come by, Megan feels privileged to serve as a confidential resource and a stabilizing influence. “What I help clients do is relax and take the right steps – to live comfortably now and build the right financial strategy, one that will see them through retirement.”

Having completed training in the financial issues of divorce through the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts™,” Megan earned her “divorce designation” in 2006 as a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA®) professional.

Most valuable to clients, however, is Megan’s personal devotion to them and the significant time she spends helping sort through their current situation, challenges and options. Beginning often by “examining cardboard boxes with clients’ financial lives inside,” Megan invests her energy and experience to create a starting point and next steps for each of them.

Regardless of the stage of divorce, Megan plays a valuable role for clients, serving as an integral member of their divorce team (often their quarterback) by working with them and with their attorneys, mediators, therapists, real estate agents and more. Megan also leads monthly “Suddenly Single” workshops and quarterly “What Women Need to Know About Divorce” seminars.

Megan joined Merrill Lynch Wealth Management in 1999 after earning a Bachelor’s degree in Political Economics from Michigan State University, where she was a member of the women’s crew team that competed in the NCAA Championships. A “loyal and loud” Spartans fan, Megan served for many years as President of the Michigan State University Orange County Alumni Club. She is also a former board member of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. When she “relaxes,” Megan enjoys spending time with her husband, Mark, and their three children.

*Merrill, its affiliates, and financial advisors do not provide legal, tax, or accounting advice. You should consult your legal and/or tax advisors before making any financial decisions.

  • EDUCATION

    Michigan State University

Professional Staff

Supported by the global resources of Merrill, my team is comprised of talented and experienced individuals committed to building strong client relationships based on trust and personalized service.

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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

Welcome

My mission is to understand you and what matters most to you. To take the time, to ask hard, smart questions and to listen carefully, then to understand, in great detail, exactly where your wealth stands today, and where you’d like it to be tomorrow. I help you design and implement a customized wealth management approach that helps you and your family pursue your personal financial goals while helping manage investment risk. My wealth management approach is about using wealth to help turn goals into reality.

Philosophy

I believe the best financial approach is the one that helps you pursue your goals. That's why, from the start, we talk about your aspirations and encourage you to ask questions about issues that matter most to you. Worried about managing future health care expenses? College on the horizon? Considering the sale of a business or purchase of a home? Preparing to pass your wealth to future generations? With access to the investment insights of Merrill and the banking convenience of Bank of America, I will work with you to develop an approach designed to help address your financial needs.

Approach

I begin every relationship 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.

Drawing upon research in the field of behavioral finance, Merrill developed the Investment Personality Assessment to help me get to know you better as an investor and help you refine your investing preferences. Together, I can help customize your investment approach. Using an understanding of your priorities and investment personality as a foundation, I help you access the full breadth of resources from Bank of America’s banking products and services and Merrill’s investment insights to address all aspects of your financial life.

Capabilities

My process is designed to help deliver a customized, consistent experience to assist clients not only in wealth accumulation and preservation, but in areas that go beyond investments. My ability to provide access to the investment insights of Merrill, trust and fiduciary services from Bank of America Private Bank, and the banking convenience and lending solutions of Bank of America offers a way to help clients manage all of the pieces of their financial lives. I view myself as a financial resource, helping clients with potential solutions for transferring wealth to the younger generation.

Focus On Individuals and Families

I can offer advice and guidance designed to assist you in making investment-related decisions and trade-offs that can help you reach personally meaningful goals.  So whether you’re planning your retirement, saving to buy a home or fund a child’s education, I’ll start by getting to know you and how you feel about the following seven life priorities.:

  • 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

 

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 give you a sense of the full assessment and 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.

Your Financial Approach

We offer you access to the investing insights of Merrill, trust and fiduciary services from Bank of America Private Bank, and the banking convenience of Bank of America to help you pursue your goals. We will work to help you stay on track, regardless of what the markets are doing.

FAMILY
Taking care of your family and other people in your life
  • Trust & Estate Planning Services4
  • Education Funding1
  • Insurance3
HEALTH
Planning for healthcare expenses now and in the future
  • Long-term Care Insurance3
  • Health Savings Account2
  • Disability Insurance3
HOME
Upsizing, downsizing, remodeling or buying a vacation home
  • Home Loans2
  • Home Equity Lines of Credit2
  • Securities-Based Lending2
  • Credit Cards2
WORK
Working in retirement, selling or starting a business
  • Bank of America Business Banking2
  • Exchange Funds1
  • Concentrated Stock Management1
  • Succession Planning1
LEISURE
Spending your free time in meaningful ways
  • Credit Cards2
  • Securities-Based Lending2
  • Structured Lending2
GIVING
Volunteering, mentoring others and giving to charities
  • Donor-Advised Funds4
  • Private Foundations4
  • Charitable Trusts4
FINANCE
Using your finances to bring it all together
  • Merrill Investment Accounts1
  • Investment Advisory Accounts1
  • Alternative Investments1
  • Exchange-Traded Funds1
  • Mutual Funds1
  • Closed-end Funds1
  • Fixed Income Products1
  • Options1
  • Annuities3
  • Impact Portfolios1
  • Market-Linked Investments1
  • Securities-Based Lending2
  • Margin1
  • Home Loans2
  • Bank of America Checking and Savings Accounts2
  • Credit Cards2
  • Online Account Access1,2

1 Investment products are offered by Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated.
2 Banking, mortgage and home equity products offered by Bank of America, N.A.
3 Insurance and annuity products offered through Merrill Lynch Life Agency Inc.
4 Trust and fiduciary services are provided by Bank of America Private Bank.

Staying on Track

We understand that both your life and the financial markets can change over time. By periodically 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.


Periodic 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.


    Monitoring 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.

    Wealth Management Your Way

    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.


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      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.

      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.