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

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Growth with a reasonable amount of risk - that's Jennifer's mantra.

Client Commitment
When Jennifer reviews the list of people she helps with their financial wealth, she sees two trends. There is the group who have inherited, generally from selling the family farm or business, and those who have worked hard to make their own wealth. By being an active listener, she has come to understand that often the most important piece of the financial picture is not the performance. For those families who watched their grandparents and parents work (and sell) the farm or family business, and for those who worked hard themselves to acquire the savings, many times it is more important to be good managers of the assets. The inheritors view the money as something that they use for now, with the ultimate goal of moving it to their children and grandchildren. Those who created their own wealth see hours of hard work and disciplined planning. These conversations are not about performance, but rather good stewardship.

Jennifer was fortunate to receive a wide depth of knowledge and experience in the almost 30 years that she worked with her father (a 55 year Merrill advisor). For that reason, Jennifer has moved away from recommending a basket of mutual funds or ETFs and handpicks a list of high quality stocks and bonds for the portfolios she recommends. In addition to the ability to individualize any tax consequences, she believes that now more than ever it’s important to understand what companies you own and why you own them. She also works to make sure all of the companies recommended in her portfolios reach strict Environmental, Social and Governance guidelines. Studies show that companies that include these guidelines as part of the company culture historically have a better risk/reward ratio than those that don’t. She stays forward looking in her thinking and one of the strictest criteria in her portfolio construction includes the question “is this company involved in where we are going (which makes it a buy), or stuck in where we’ve been (which makes it a sell)”?

Education and Experience
With over 30 years in financial services, Jennifer is passionate about using her energy and extensive knowledge to customize wealth management strategies for each client. She has been with Merrill since 1991, when she joined the firm in Denver as a retirement specialist. In 1995, Jennifer made the move back "home" and has been with Merrill in the south eastern Pennsylvania area ever since. A founding member of The Hoey Group, based out of the Exton PA Merrill office, Jennifer transferred to Wilmington, DE in 2018 following the retirement of The Hoey Group’s most senior advisor.

Jennifer graduated from Rosemont College in 1990 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. Since she understood the holistic aspect of her job early in her career, she studied for, and passed on the first attempt, the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER certification in 2006 and followed that up with the Certified Private Wealth Advisor certification offered through the Investments & Wealth Institute™ in 2012.

Building The Team
As Jennifer has observed her family's and friend's children transition from high school to their college careers, it became apparent to her how important the summer and school break internships could be on a resume. For that reason, she offers a part time position to an interested college junior or senior. Jennifer Hoey & Associates has been fortunate enough to have students from Temple, Goldey-Beacom, and Rowan bring their energy, freshness, and new viewpoint to the Team.

*Impact investing and/or Environmental Social Governance (ESG) investing has certain risks based on the fact that ESG criteria excludes securities of certain issuers for nonfinancial reasons and therefore, investors may forgo some market opportunities and the universe of investments available will be smaller.


    Rosemont College

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.

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.

Michael K Costo

Retirement Specialist

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


My mission, first and foremost, is to understand you and what matters most to you. Armed with that information I can ask thoughtful questions -- listening carefully, then understanding in detail where your wealth stands today and where you’d like it to be tomorrow. I help you design and implement a personalized plan intended to help you and your family pursue financial goals while helping manage investment risk. My approach is to focus on potential solutions that can help turn goals into reality.


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. Calculating how to manage 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? It all starts with a plan intended to help you manage, grow, and preserve your wealth today, while also considering the impact it can have for years to come. With access to the investment insights of Merrill and banking solutions from Bank of America, I will work with you to develop an approach designed to help address your financial needs.


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.

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.


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.

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.