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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Joe Townsend, a seasoned Financial Advisor and Senior Portfolio Advisor, proudly serves Merrill Lynch Wealth Management at their Melbourne/Rockledge, FL branch. His focus lies primarily in addressing the distinctive wealth management necessities of prosperous business owners, individuals on the cusp of retirement, and those enjoying their golden years in retirement.

Recognizing that each client's financial landscape is unique, Joe listens intently to truly comprehend their individual financial perspectives. This understanding allows him to collaboratively craft a plan with clients, centering on their financial goals and ambitions, utilizing the advanced planning tools at Merrill's disposal.

Joe stands prepared to address the typical concerns of his clients, which often include:

1. Assessing the feasibility of achieving their financial goals and defining the path to get there.
2. Identifying any overlooked or unanticipated financial hurdles.
3. Evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of their asset management.
4. Strategizing to minimize lifetime tax liabilities.

 Addressing these multifaceted questions, Joe applies a defined, easily comprehensible process, thereby empowering his clients with clarity and confidence.

As a Senior Portfolio Advisor, Joe 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. His aim is to simplify the complexities of financial management, allowing clients to concentrate on their businesses, wealth accumulation, or enjoying a comfortable retirement.

Prior to joining Merrill, Joe gathered invaluable experience at a St. Louis-based investment firm and spent over a decade in commercial and wealth management banking. His banking tenure honed his skills in credit strategies, wealth preservation strategies, intricate financial statement analysis and cash flow management strategies.

Over his impressive career, Joe has fostered enduring relationships with his clients, grounded in open communication, trust, and unwavering service. Residing in Melbourne Beach, Florida, with his two sons, Joe enjoys spending quality time with them, traveling, reading, participating in foreign language exchanges, and indulging in the joy of surfing.

*Banking and Credit Services are through Bank of America, N.A.




    Florida Southern College

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.

Beth Calzon

Structured Credit Executive

Bank of America, N.A.

Erin D Meeks

Wealth Management Banking Specialist


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

Value Proposition

First I will listen to understand what is important to you. After listening and understanding what is important, I will then use an established process to build a personalized strategy. We will then partner together throughout your life to help keep you on track.


No two investment approaches are alike because no two investors are alike. Working closely with you the team examines key components of your life plan to help you create a financial strategy with personalized advice and measurable goals. The team helps you track progress to your goals and works with you to adjust your investment style and strategy over time, as needed.


It is important to know exactly where you are with your finances, where you plan to go, and how much you may need to help get you there. Drawing on Merrill’s investing insights and with access to Bank of America’s credit and lending solutions, we can offer you a comprehensive, personalized plan to help you pursue your goals. We will provide transparency on what you’re paying for and what you’re getting, as well as potential opportunities and risks. Understanding that life needs and market conditions can change, we will meet with you, as necessary, to help make sure your strategy remains on track to pursue your goals and adjust your approach for the journey ahead, as needed.

The broad investing resources of Merrill provide you with access to potential strategies for income management, education funding, retirement income planning, and guidance for executives with concentrated stock positions. In addition to traditional and alternative investments and wealth transfer solutions through Merrill, you have access to estate planning services from Bank of America. As your single point of contact we can connect with key professionals in your life, working closely with your outside advisors, such as attorneys, accountants and elder care specialists.

DISCLOSURE: Some or all alternative investments may not be appropriate for certain investors. Certain alternative investments carry significant risk and are not subject to the same regulatory oversight as mutual funds and other appropriate investments. For these reasons, access to alternative investments may be limited to investors who are designated as sophisticated, high-net-worth investors.


As a Senior Portfolio Advisor, Joe can help clients pursue their objectives by managing on a discretionary basis custom investment strategies, selecting from a wide range of Merrill model portfolios and third-party investment strategies. Strategies are uniquely tailored for each client, their families, and their businesses helping streamline the complexities of financial instruments.

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

      I believe it’s important that you seek the advice and guidance of an experienced financial advisor who can thoughtfully analyze your situation, work with you to identify potential solutions that address your needs, and clearly communicate them to you. I want to work with you to develop your wealth management approach for the future.

      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.