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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Carolina Estes began her career in financial services in 2011 as a retirement plan sales consultant at the John Hancock Seaport headquarters in Boston, MA. In 2015, Carolina was offered a new role at John Hancock, taking her to New York City where she later joined JP Morgan Chase and worked there as a financial advisor. She joined the Merrill Rockefeller Center Market in 2021 and brings over 10 years of experience helping clients with goals based planning analysis, retirement planning, and creating individualized strategies to help meet short and long term needs. Carolina focuses on building meaningful, long-lasting relationships with frequent and friendly contact to help clients accomplish what is important to them and their families while also serving as a source of thought leadership to help them navigate economic and market cycles.

Carolina is committed to being a source of reason and can counsel you on these concerns from a knowledgeable and analytical position. Drawing on the investment insights of Merrill, and with access to comprehensive financial solutions that only Bank of America can offer, she can help you with virtually any financial situation you face. If you’re a business owner, Carolina can assist you in attracting and retaining employees by helping you build company benefit plans.

Carolina dual majored in Economics and Spanish, receiving her bachelor's degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she graduated magna cum laude with awards from the Commonwealth College Honors Society as well as Phi Beta Kappa Society. She then went on to earn her MBA from Babson College in Wellesley, MA. She currently resides in Brooklyn Heights and is an avid Orange Theory fan and during this pandemic she has discovered a passion for camping and the outdoors, including trips to Yellowstone National Park and Great Smokey Mountains.




    Babson College F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business

    University of Massachusetts Amherst

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.

Stanley Escalante

Wealth Management Banking Specialist


Michael B Sullivan

Senior Wealth Management Lending Officer

Bank of America, N.A.

NMLS #208521

Peter Hekl

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


In conducting your financial affairs, it’s not uncommon to have opened multiple investment, credit and banking accounts at a variety of financial institutions. However, weaving them together into the context of an overall financial plan can be difficult. One of Carolina’s objectives is to help bring a planning discipline to your finances and investments and aligning them with your goals.

Patient and easy to talk to, Carolina wants to learn about the needs of those you love, the priorities you have for your family and anything else that may be on your mind. These can be simple challenges, like the escalating cost of credit, or complex concerns that may need an innovative approach. These may include:

  • The impact of market trends, tax policy or election politics on your investment strategy* 
  • A health crisis in your family or the evolving needs of your children
  • Meeting the rising costs of housing, education and other household expenses
  • Accumulating capital and reserves to strike out on your own
  • The need to diversify or monetize company stock or other awards
  • Thematic, ESG or Sharia compliant investing

*Carolina does not provide legal or tax advice in her role at Merrill

*Impact investing and/or Environmental Social Governance (ESG) investing has certain risks based on the fact that ESG criteria excludes securities of certain issuers for nonfinancial reasons and therefore, investors may forgo some market opportunities and the universe of investments available will be smaller.


You can work with Carolina from wherever you choose to be. Changes in your life and family are inevitable and Carolina is committed to making herself accessible whenever needed. Digital conferencing and tools such as MyMerrill, can streamline communications and expand access to your account information anytime you need it, from wherever you are. Her dedication to training, education, personal and technical development, is driven by her commitment to stay on the cutting edge of her profession, assisting  you with innovative financial strategies to help navigate whatever life or your career might throw at you.


My approach to investing is grounded in an understanding of you. It all begins with a conversation. I take the time to get to know you — your children's names, how hard you worked to get where you are and how you define success. I'll work together with you to help understand your personal investment style, prioritize your goals and build an individualized plan that reflects your needs. As an investor you can benefit from the investment insights of Merrill, along with access to trust and fiduciary services from Bank of America Private Bank and credit and lending solutions from Bank of America. There’s only one financial approach that really matters — yours.

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.


In 1914, Charles Merrill said, “The interests of our customers must come first.” That’s a commitment that we still honor today. Charles Merrill would be gratified to see how the business he founded continues to place a premium on service and commitment. With the investment insights of Merrill, and with access to the credit and lending capabilities of Bank of America, services are available that can help you address virtually every financial challenge you face.

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.

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.