Women’s superpower: Investing

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Insights, observations, and ideas to help you in your pursuit of your financial goals.

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How we help clients prepare for the joys and challenges of retirement.

Wanted to connect with you during this special time.


Atealem Ford provides personalized investment advice for individuals, families, non-profit and for-profit organizations and businesses.

Atealem Ford holds an undergraduate degree from Seattle Pacific University and a Masters of Business Administration (M.B.A.) Degree from the University of Maryland – UC for which she earned a 4.0 GPA. She was inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society which recognizes graduate students who rank in the top 10% of their class.

As a financial advisor, Atealem’s primary focus is to ensure that every client’s financial life is enhanced. She seeks to make the financial lives of others better by placing an emphasis on goals-based advice and investing, tax minimization strategies, mitigating risk and employing a long-term approach to success. She aims to reduce financial stress in the lives of her clients by ensuring that they are well-informed, that they receive the highest level of care and attention and that they are connected to timely resources. In addition to providing traditional advice and guidance, as a Portfolio Advisor, Atealem helps clients pursue their investment objectives by recommending individual or any combination of Merrill approved third-party investment managers’ strategies, funds or portfolios. Atealem holds the Series 7 FINRA Registration and the Series 66 FINRA Registration and is a registered agent for Life, Health and Long Term Care. In addition, Atealem is registered under the National Mortgage Licensing System in order to assist her clients with mortgage and lending needs.

Atealem has traveled extensively throughout the world and enjoys learning about different cultures. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, baking, gardening, football games, reading about the markets but most of all, she enjoys spending time with her family – her husband and two teenage children.

NMLS# 1796346

We are also involved in the communities in which we serve, volunteering as leadership and staff for organizations we're involved with the Annapolis Rotary and many others.


    University of Maryland UC

    Seattle Pacific University

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.

Alexander Mairone

Employee Benefits Specialist

Bank of America, N.A.

Rakesh Raina

Wealth Management Banking Specialist


William K. (Bill) Flanigan

Employee Benefits Specialist

Bank of America, N.A.

Past Events

A Path Forward: Adjusting Your Retirement Plan for the Road Ahead

November 9th, 2023|4:30 PM - 5:15 PM EST

The markets can be unpredictable - interest rates and current events are just some factors that can affect stock prices and the economy at large. But staying the course with a long-term plan may be your best defense. This means it's more important than ever to make sure your financial plan and retirement strategy are appropriately aligned with the right path forward.

During this educational event, we will:

  • Discuss grounding your plan in both short- and long-terms goals;
  • Explore our disciplined investment process that can help you create - and stick to - your personalized plan;
  • Offer some practical ideas to help you prepare for whatever the future brings.

Hosted and Presented by:
Atealem “At” Ford, CFP®, CRPC™, CPFA®

Please RSVP here 
*Virtual Event: Participant cameras will not be on. After you RSVP, you will receive an email from 'messenger' with a calendar invitation attached. Please open the attachment to add the event to your personal calendar.

    Social Security and You

    February 6th, 2024|4:30 PM - 5:15 PM

    You’ve paid into the system for years and now it’s your turn to reap the rewards of your hard work. However, there are many rules governing when and how you can receive these funds. When you decide to collect can be a function of a variety of elements - including your current health, family history of longevity, marital status and the age difference between you and your spouse.

    During this informative seminar, we’ll discuss:

    • Eligibility for benefits;
    • Factors to consider before starting your benefits;
    • How to potentially maximize your benefits.

    Hosted and Presented by:
    Atealem “At” Ford, CFP®, CPFA™, CRPC™
    Senior Financial Advisor

    Please RSVP here
    Virtual Event: Participant cameras will not be on. After you RSVP, you will receive an email from ‘messenger’ with a calendar invitation attached. Please add the event to your personal calendar.

      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


      Placing the investor at the center of the wealth management process is my goal in helping clients through financial transitions and decisions that occur in their lives. Your unique goals should be at the center of your financial decisions and form the basis of your financial strategy. I start by getting to know you, your family, your business and financial situation, helping me understand your most important priorities for the present and the future. From there, I’ll help you design a customized wealth management approach, drawing upon the investment insights of Merrill, working with a team of specialists, and access to the banking convenience of Bank of America. I aim to help bring simplicity and transparency to the complexities of wealth management; making the task of planning for the future an exciting journey of managing and helping you reach your goals.


      You live in a world that’s constantly changing. Markets can fluctuate frequently. Potential investment opportunities can arise daily. Regulations are enacted or amended. That’s why understanding you and your situation is the best place to start helping you plan your financial future: where you are today, where you want to be tomorrow, and what you want to accomplish along the way. By understanding you and your priorities, I can more effectively provide you with the experience and resources needed to help you build a personalized plan that is rooted in the unique complexities of your life.


      Wealth Management is a dynamic process. As I focus on you today and help you identify your goals for tomorrow, we can strive to work together throughout life’s ups, downs, triumphs, and transitions. Helping you pursue your goals starts with getting to know you, your family and developing a plan. My job is to understand what matters most to you. We will work together to create a financial strategy that reflects your investment personality and is built around your life priorities. I will be here to help you make adjustments to your plan if and when necessary over time.

      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.

      Social Impact Investing

      I can offer wealth management strategies that come from years of combined wealth management knowledge and experience working with clients. The team’s role in supporting you goes beyond wealth management services. Leveraging the global resources of Merrill makes it possible to help you in areas such as retirement income planning, guidance on concentrated stock positions, traditional investment and potential sustainable and impact investing solutions.

      All investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal.

      Sustainable and Impact Investing and/or Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) managers may take into consideration factors beyond traditional financial information to select securities, which could result in relative investment performance deviating from other strategies or broad market benchmarks, depending on whether such sectors or investments are in or out of favor in the market. Further, ESG strategies may rely on certain values based criteria to eliminate exposures found in similar strategies or broad market benchmarks, which could also result in relative investment performance deviating.

      Our Focus

      With a focus on individuals, intergenerational family wealth, corporate executives, business owners and nonprofit organizations, I offer clients a breadth of potential solutions and financial tools based on their unique circumstances.

      No matter what your goals may be, I begin by helping you define and prioritize your financial goals based on the following seven areas:

      • Health: Managing healthcare expenses, now and in the future
      • Home: Upsizing, downsizing, remodeling, or buying a vacation home or investment properties
      • Family: Taking care of your family and other people in your life
      • Leisure: Spending your free time in meaningful ways
      • Giving: Volunteering, mentoring, and giving to charities
      • Work: Your work life, selling, or starting a business
      • Finance: Bringing it all together; defining your financial goals

      I'll also draw on my industry knowledge and experience to offer:

      • Potential risk management solutions
      • Trust and estate planning services
      • Potential wealth management solutions
      • Access to Bank of America for your credit and banking needs

      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 specific 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.