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

Watch now

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

Watch now

Merrill Lynch

The BG Wealth Management Group

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Merrill Lynch
Wealth Management

Our goal is to instill confidence that all aspects of your financial affairs are in order so you can focus on what matters most to you - family, business, leisure.

A Single Source to Which You Can Turn

The BG Wealth Management Group is a financial advisory team that works with individuals and families across the United States.

Those who come to us have reached a stage of life where they recognize they need more than simple investment advice.  Their circumstances have become increasingly complex, and they no longer feel they have the expertise, time, or desire to address all of their financial concerns:

  • Can I afford the lifestyle I envision without fear of outliving my savings?
  • What strategies can I employ to reduce taxes?
  • How do I maximize my pension and Social Security?
  • Do I have the correct amount of life, long-term care, and disability insurance?
  • How do I teach my kids to be more financially responsible?
  • Should I consider more sophisticated estate planning strategies?

Most of all, they want a single source to which they can turn to when in need of financial counsel, wisdom, and advice.

Our team’s primary objective is to address these concerns, simplify your financial life, and instill confidence & trust so you can focus on what’s most important to you – family, business, and leisure.

Achieving Your Dreams

We take the time to listen to your unique concerns, wants, and needs.  This may include concerns about your investments, a desired retirement lifestyle, or family.  Drawing upon our experience, we will help you more clearly articulate your goals and identify risks you may not have previously considered.

Once we have a clear understanding of what you would like to achieve, we use sophisticated tools to project how your wealth will likely change through the years under varying market conditions.  These projections help us identify strategies to get the most out of your resources and maximize your likelihood of success.

When the initial analysis is complete, we will walk you through the results highlighting where we have identified risks and opportunities, the strategies we recommend, and the benefits of each. 

Having seen their financial future with more clarity, clients are often inspired to ask “what-if”:

  • What if we retire earlier?  
  • What if we purchase a vacation home?  
  • What if one of us needs long-term care?  
  • What if my spouse becomes disabled or passes away prematurely?

Encouraging you to dream and pose additional concerns, we will update your analysis to show the impact.  If this creates new concerns, we will help you identify potential solutions based upon your risk tolerance, time horizon, liquidity needs and overall investment goals.  Once the details have been adjusted to your liking and you are happy with the projected results, our group will create a detailed action plan including steps to take now and others to implement over time.

Experienced. Disciplined. Customized.

Over the course of our careers, we have experienced raging bull markets, unnerving bears, and everything in between.  More importantly, we have seen how some have used these periods to their advantage and others have reacted emotionally to the detriment of their long-term goals.

These experiences have taught us the importance of educating clients about market extremes and how we will respond to each.  Having had these conversations upfront, we find clients are more likely to remain disciplined during periods of higher volatility and stay on track toward their financial goals.

The Merrill platform provides access to a broad array of investment vehicles we can use to tailor portfolios to individual client needs and navigate various market environments.  These include but are not limited to:

  • CDs,
  • US Government, Municipal, and Corporate Bonds,
  • Fixed, Indexed, and Variable Annuities,
  • Stocks, Mutual Funds, and ETFs,
  • Hedge Funds, Private Real Estate, and Private Equity

Based on what we learned from your financial analysis, we will prepare a wealth management strategy customized to your needs and risk tolerance.  Portfolios will blend complimentary investments with the goal of reducing undue volatility and investment vehicles will be selected to help maximize tax efficiency.

*Some or all alternative investment programs may not be in the best interest of certain investors. No assurance can be given that any alternative investment’s investment objectives will be achieved.


Staying On Track

Once we have agreed to an action plan, we will move forward with implementation.  As we progress, we will communicate regularly to confirm the steps we’ve discussed are being completed accurately and according to schedule.

A member of our team will take the time to familiarize you with the Merrill app, website, and monthly statements so you are never more than a click away from your accounts and a broad range of informative reports and capabilities.  

To help ensure we remain on track toward your goals, we will meet periodically. During these meetings, we will discuss:

  • Overall portfolio performance relative to your pre-defined goals,
  • Items for attention relating to any individual portfolio components,
  • Market outlook,
  • Progress of your action plan, and
  • Changes in your personal life that may impact your goals and objectives.

Life is full of changes.  When necessary, we will recommend adjustments to keep you on course or re-direct as new financial goals arise.

Simplifying Your Financial Life

Our clients expect and deserve the very best, and we continually strive to meet and exceed those expectations.

We understand your time is valuable.  When you have questions or concerns, you don’t want to wait on hold or spend time pressing numbers in response to an automated system.  We stand ready to take your call and provide prompt, courteous service.

With your approval, we will:

  • Work directly with your CPA to implement tax strategies and field questions during tax season,
  • Collaborate with your estate planning attorney to determine if you could benefit from more advanced estate planning strategies, and
  • Help your children develop good financial habits so they are independently on track and ultimately prepared to manage their inheritance responsibly.

Drawing upon our vast resources, we will show you how to automate your financial life and get the most from your resources.

Over time, we develop close personal relationships with our clients and their families - often spanning multiple generations.  We want you to rest assured your family members will be in trusted, capable hands should anything happen to you.

Meet the Team

Supported by the global resources of Merrill, our 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.

Brent Smitko

Wealth Management Lending Officer

Bank of America, N.A.

NMLS #505779

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 we can help you create a financial approach that reflects your personality. Only then can we 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.