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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Profile

Mike didn’t grow up wealthy, which he believes has inspired a lifelong appreciation of people’s hard work and sacrifice. Today, he serves a loyal clientele who’ve taken distinct and often challenging paths to success – and his door. They include active and retired corporate executives, attorneys, physicians and entire families in twenty-five states, as well as non-profit organizations.

“Clients work diligently to save money,” Mike says. “Investing should never require that they ‘earn money twice’ in a lifetime. That’s why I aim to preserve clients’ wealth and achieve reasonable growth with consistent investing over time – and without needless risk. Diversifying assets across asset classes, I help clients achieve well-deserved retirement lifestyles, send their kids to college, and pass along wealth with wisdom. I do that by educating clients’ children whenever possible.”

Mike finds that clients are often referred to him because he spends significant time understanding their priorities and helping them figure things out. For clients who may have received less-than-desired attention from a previous advisor, Mike explains that he proactively and personally can help them “see around corners” – to prepare for new financial situations and opportunities.

“On a given day, I’ll talk to clients about Social Security scenarios, long-term care insurance, Medicare, and family challenges that are driving new financial considerations. For me, building trust is at the foundation of each client relationship I have. Most clients have been with me for more than ten years, which I believe speaks to them appreciating my integrity and ability,” Mike explains.

Having worked at Banc of America Investment Services, Mike is highly skilled and motivated to explore what clients wish to accomplish. He begins by identifying areas of opportunity on both sides of their balance sheets. Advising clients not to incur unreasonable debt, he often provides access to residential, securities-based and commercial lending from Bank of America when it can benefit them. Mike’s numerous contacts within the firm include banking and trust specialists, and others he “brings to the table” on behalf of clients.

In 1997, Michael launched his career with Merrill Lynch Wealth Management in New York City. Three years later, he returned to his roots in the D.C. area and joined Bank of America – staying with the firm through its merger with Merrill. Mike holds the Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor, CRPC designation from the College for Financial Planning Institutes Corp.

Paying his way through college, Mike earned a Bachelor of Science degree (cum laude) in Biology and Psychology from James Madison University, where he was also a member of the varsity rugby team. Today, Mike resides in Mount Vernon with his wife and three children. An avid fisherman, Mike is a loyal supporter of his children’s sporting events. He also volunteers at his local parish and children's schools.

I follow the deep-seated Merrill tradition of participating in the communities we serve. This drives my interest in spending time volunteering with organizations in our community.

  • LANGUAGES

    English

  • EDUCATION

    Ft Hunt High School

    James Madison 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.

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.

Wakettia Ferguson

Wealth Management Banking Specialist

Merrill

Kyle Sylor

Wealth Strategies Advisor

Bank of America, N.A.

Andrew Cervantes

Senior Wealth Management Lending Officer

Bank of America, N.A.

NMLS #276332

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, 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.

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. 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.

Approach

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.

Capabilities

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.

    #DigitalMerrill

    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.

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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.