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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I am a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional who runs a second-generation wealth management practice providing goals-based wealth management for nearly 50 multigenerational families. For nearly two decades, I have focused on creating highly customized retirement income strategies and aiding clients through the key transition of accumulating wealth during their working years to paying themselves in retirement. Like my father did for decades before me, I am committed to serve as a trusted family advisor and help clients educate the next generation and pass on wealth to heirs as smoothly as possible by assisting in the estate planning process. I utilize a team of in-house specialists along with my curated network of external partners, which means resources are always at my fingertips.

I have a great passion for educating and empowering women, often an underserved group in my industry, about investments and wealth management planning. Because of this passion, I ran a women-only seminar series since 2011 called Wine & Wisdom Workshops for Women to create a friendly learning environment where there are no "dumb questions." Most women have a critical need for a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional to be their essential resource when navigating complex life transitions such as marriage, divorce, retirement, caregiving an elder or enduring the death of a loved one.

I am my clients’ family advisor for life. It is a responsibility I do not take lightly. Clients know they can depend on me as their dedicated problem-solver, so they feel prepared for life’s unexpected curveballs. To have a meaningful impact on my clients’ lives and enjoy lifelong relationships, just as my father did, is immensely rewarding.


An experienced financial advisor for almost two decades, Vicky began her career at Morgan Stanley in 1999 with her father and in 2006 moved to Merrill Lynch Wealth Management to take advantage of the breadth of wealth management planning resources available at the firm. Vicky obtained her CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) certification to have the knowledge to go beyond investment planning to provide her clients with advice and guidance for all aspects of their financial lives. Her areas of focus include: financial strategies, retirement planning and creating retirement income strategies, and working with clients’ advisors to assist with tax and estate planning services. Two groups of clients typically attracted to Vicky's practice are: busy professional women facing a major life transition and pre-retirees ready to roll up their sleeves to engage in thoughtful retirement planning.

A native of St. Louis, Vicky majored in Journalism and Spanish and minored in Philosophy at the University of Missouri-Columbia. She currently resides in Chesterfield with her husband, Iñigo, and their three children: Julen, Lorea and Naia. When away from the office, Vicky enjoys the symphony, Bikram yoga, wine, craft beer, visiting her in-laws in Spain, fashion, the arts and her involvement with the Professional Women’s Alliance.




    University of Missouri-Columbia

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.

Joseph McCullough

Wealth Strategies Advisor

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


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.


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.

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.


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.

Advice that is meaningful to you

Clients often find me because their financial lives have reached enough complexity that the magnitude of a mistake they could make doing everything themselves would be high. I strive to alleviate their financial stress and help them develop a healthier relationship with their money that bases financial decisions on personal goals. Through the wealth management planning we do together, our plan projections show the results of their action or inaction. These projections, coupled with a personalized savings and financial strategy, take an abstract goal (“wanting to retire comfortably on my terms”) and make it definable, actionable, accountable and personally meaningful to each client.

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.