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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Our Group

Supported by the global resources of Merrill, our group 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.

Gabriel Reginald David Ruiz

Wealth Management Banking Specialist


Julie A. Kelsey

Senior Wealth Management Lending Officer

Bank of America, N.A.

NMLS #1010805

Bryant Wolfson

Alternative Investments Regional 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


At The Briggs Wealth Management Group, we serve hardworking individuals and families who’ve been “successful savers.” While diverse in their achievements, clients have chosen to live sensibly, not extravagantly.  

Who do we serve?

Generations of loyal client families in the Chicago area and 18 states. Working closely with both spouses whenever possible, we prefer frequent conversations and face-to-face meetings (at clients’ kitchen tables, offices, by WebEx, or however it’s most convenient for them).


What do we believe?


  • The depth and breadth of our multi-generational planning and tax minimization strategies distinguishes our practice and the enduring benefits clients can enjoy.


  • Given that our clients’ life experiences and attitudes toward wealth are clearly their own, we don’t make assumptions. Instead, we make time to understand their mindsets and motivations. We also believe that clients should be able to understand the strategies we’ve designed and their role in following them.


  • As active listeners, we learn about clients by asking questions – not just in initial discussions, but over the course of each relationship, “What is your vision of a meaningful life? What has worked well and what you do you hope worked better? Who are you responsible for – a child, an elderly parent, your employees? Why have you come to us – and why now?”


  • In addition to clients’ goals, it’s important that we look for “holes” in their financial picture – areas that may need further examination – trust documents, liabilities and insurance, for example.


  • There are simply no “do-overs” for retired clients or those nearing retirement. Accordingly, we manage clients’ portfolios like we would our own – focusing on realistic goals rather than outperforming the markets.


  • Coordinating our efforts with clients’ other trusted advisors can optimize results. That’s why ask for the names of clients’ CPAs and attorneys, to align our tax minimization and estate planning strategies.
  • Optimizing both sides of clients’ balance sheets can brighten their financial pictures, lifestyles and outlooks. We offer ready access to Bank of America, N.A. for residential, securities-based and other customized lending solutions.

What makes us proud?


  • We have managed our clients’ money and emotions amid the volatility of 2000, 2008, 2020 and 2022. Virtually all of those clients remain with us today. We believe that’s due in large part to our focus on mitigating investment risk and tax consequences.


  • Our clients are good people and care about others. They want to leave money to their children and communities. It’s just not in their DNA to spend it all.


  • It’s a joy to celebrate with clients when they achieve milestones we helped make possible – a rewarding retirement lifestyle, a child’s graduation, or the purchase of a vacation home.

Our Retirement Income Strategy

At The Briggs Wealth Management Group, it’s incumbent on us to embrace clients’ most heartfelt goals and concerns.

A vast majority of clients are focused on retiring comfortably and confidently – while also being able to assist future generations. For that reason, we’ve honed a retirement income investment strategy that accounts for changing market conditions and each client’s risk tolerance, investment timeline, and need for liquidity.

To help clients “ride out” inflation and market volatility during retirement – and enjoy cash flow that aligns with the lifestyle they envision – we typically craft each client’s portfolio with investments across asset classes and a strong emphasis on high-quality stocks of well-known companies that have consistently increased their dividends over time. Our risk-managed approach is designed to help clients benefit from upside market potential while receiving reliable income streams.

With ages that align nicely with those of many clients and their grown children, we can fulfill our mission: “to be there” when clients retire, with continuity and integrity. For a clientele that appreciates our acum and attention, we are committed to providing sound financial recommendations that help grow and preserve the wealth they’ve accumulated.

Focus On Individuals, Families and Small Businesses

We 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

      We 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. We 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.