Investing: Where do I even start?

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Profile

Phil Zimmerman is a Vice President and Wealth Management Advisor who joined Merrill Lynch Wealth Management in 2005. Prior to joining Merrill, Phil was with Morgan Stanley from 1988 to 2005. Phil graduated from New York University with a BS in Finance and is also a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certificant, a designation awarded by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. Phil also holds the Certified Plan Fiduciary Advisor designation, awarded by the National Association of Plan Advisors.

For Individuals: As a Wealth Management Advisor, Phil helps clients develop and implement highly personalized strategies in the areas of retirement planning, concentrated stock management, college education planning and charitable gifting. He also helps clients focus on estate planning issues and works with their tax and legal advisors in developing their estate plan. Portfolios are available in traditional and ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) investments, whichever clients prefer.

In addition to providing traditional advice and guidance, Phil is a qualified Portfolio Manager who can help clients pursue their objectives by building and managing his own personalized or defined strategies, which may incorporate individual stocks and bonds, Merrill model portfolios, and third-party investment strategies. When servicing clients through the firm’s Investment Advisory Program, a Portfolio Manager may manage his strategies on a discretionary basis.

For Retirement Plan Sponsors: In his capacity as a Retirement Accredited Financial Advisor, Phil assists retirment plan sponsors with plan design geared around optimizing testing issues. He offers access to Merrill's Fiduciary Advisory Services, which encompasses plan menu due diligence, fee benchmarking, employee education and retirement readiness. He also provides access to services that can assist plan trustees and committees with Investment Policy Statement and annual Fiduciary reviews. For more information on this, please go to the Understanding Your Life section near the top of this page, and after that page loads click on Retirement Accredited Financial Advisor.

Phil is on the board of the Delaware County Estate Planning Council and is a member of the Philadelphia Estate Planning Council, the Philadelphia Alliance for Capital & Technologies and the Foreign Policy Research Institute. Phil volunteers as a Community City Leader for Bunker Labs, a non-profit incubator for businesses started by veterans. Phil is also passionate about being a repeat donor to the American Red Cross. He donates platelets, which are needed by cancer patients to prevent blood clotting.


*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. 

I follow the deep-seated Merrill tradition of participating in the communities we serve. This drives my interest in spending time volunteering with organizations in our community.

  • EDUCATION

    Central HS Philadelphia

    New York University

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.

Vivian Turner

Wealth Management Banking Specialist

Merrill

Christopher Caradec

Wealth Strategies Advisor

Bank of America, N.A.

Aileen T. Takio

Employee Benefits 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

Welcome

My mission, first and foremost, is to understand you and what matters most to you. Armed with that information I can ask thoughtful questions -- listening carefully, then understanding in detail where your wealth stands today and where you’d like it to be tomorrow. I help you design and implement a personalized plan intended to help you and your family pursue financial goals while helping manage investment risk. My approach is to focus on potential solutions that can help turn goals into reality.

Philosophy

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.

Approach

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.

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.

Capabilities

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.

Retirement Accredited Financial Advisor (RAFA)

My team and I offer a range of institutional capabilities, customized strategies, insights and best practices to help maximize the value of your benefit plan and help to improve the financial wellness of your employees.  We take the time to listen and learn about the needs and goals of your institution and its employees — it’s these real-world insights that guide our strategies and personalized service.

We bring the resources and thought leadership from Bank of America Corporation and its affiliates to bear in helping you create a strong, compliant benefits program that runs smoothly, engages your employees and makes  your job easier.

Approach/Philosophy
You and your employees are at the center of everything we do. That’s why we take the time to understand the needs and goals of your organization and its employees and then work with you to create a plan that aligns with your benefits philosophy, objectives and budget. We can be a knowledgeable resource for you and can recommend action-based strategies to help improve plan participation. We can also support you with access to investment and fiduciary services, employee education and regular involvement in your plan including periodic plan check-ins.

Retirement and Benefit Plan Services
As a Bank of America Retirement Accredited Financial Advisor (RAFA), I am one of a select group of Merrill advisors specialized in defined contribution plans who can add value to your plan by:

  • Offering access to 3(21) fiduciary services1
  • Helping you shape your investment strategies
  • Offering thoughtful advice without a proprietary investment requirement
  • Providing periodic reporting and helping you understand results and measurements to assist you in managing your plan over time
  • Working with you to create a plan that is designed to drive employee engagement and positive participant behavior
  • Assisting in the delivery of employee financial wellness programs and education
  • Helping employees connect their life priorities with their finances to help them pursue what matters most to them


Additional resources
Phil is supported by talented firm specialists who have experience working with institutions and share a strong commitment to guiding investment programs and strategic decision making.

Services for Institutions
We understand the retirement and financial needs of your employees, as well as the responsibility those needs create for you as an employer. We offer the services your employees may need to help pursue their financial goals and maintain financial wellness. Our array of resources and acumen is designed to help meet your employees’ financial needs in ways that make sense for your company — strategically, operationally and financially. You and your employees will have a team of experienced and passionate advocates for financial wellness on your side. Our team will make your priorities their own so you can focus more on your business.

For Employees
All our efforts revolve around helping your employees pursue their goals. With Bank of America Corporation’s long legacy of service excellence, we take a holistic approach to helping your employees connect their life priorities and financial priorities — in and beyond their benefit plans. By broadening our view to include an employee’s entire financial picture, both in and out of plan, we believe we can help your employees better manage and gain control of their finances.

  • Holistic approach to helping improve overall financial wellness
  • Personalized plan saving and investing advice through Advice Access4
  • Comprehensive employee education program
  • Choice of service channels — in person, by phone or self-directed online

Additional Capabilities
1.  And more: Beyond my own experience, I offer access to the deep intellectual capital and broad capabilities of  Bank of America Corporation and its affiliates. If we identify a need we can’t service ourselves, we can connect you with the people and resources to help you. Through our network of advisors, we strive to deliver strategies to help you manage the day-to-day and long-term responsibilities required in pursuing your institution’s goals. As we work together to address your evolving needs, we can make the broad capabilities of Bank of America Corporation feel much more accessible.
2.  Additional resources for your organization: When you work with me, you benefit from the experience and knowledge I’ve gained from working with many institutions across the nation. I’ll bring all the latest thinking, insights and research6 from across Bank of America Corporation: 

Bank of America Global Commercial Banking (GCB) provides a full range of commercial banking services to help your organization meet today’s challenges head-on and fuel sustainable growth. Specialists are committed to providing institutions like yours with banking solutions, including cash management and lending as well as investment strategies through Merrill. GCB offers institutions solutions to help increase cash flow, streamline benefits plans and expand geographically. GCB brings clients the full capabilities of Bank of America Corporation and its affiliates paired with local service. 
Merrill Lynch Wealth Management (MLWM) provides access to market knowledge and financial experience. Merrill can help your organization make decisions that suit its needs and goals. Our education and insights can help your organization understand what’s driving today’s markets and tomorrow’s potential global opportunities. MLWM serves clients across the wealth spectrum, with personal advisor relationships that helps each individual investor plan for and pursue their unique financial goals.

 

1.  Fiduciary Advisory Services is an investment advisory program sponsored by Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (also referred to as “MLPF&S” or “Merrill”). Merrill offers a broad range of brokerage, investment advisory and other services. There are important differences between brokerage and investment advisory services, including the type of advice and assistance provided, the fees charged, and the rights and obligations of the parties. It is important to understand the differences, particularly when determining which service or services to select. All recommendations must be based on your best interest. Please refer to the Fiduciary Advisory Services Brochure for information on the program including a description of the series and related fees.
3.  Merrill and its representatives [or advisors] will provide investment advice or recommendations solely on a nondiscretionary basis with regard to qualified retirement plans. All discretionary and investment decisions concerning qualified plans, including which investments to offer under a qualified plan and approval of the IPS, are to be made solely by the plan sponsor. Please see the Merrill Lynch Fiduciary Advisory Services program Brochure for additional information.
4.  Advice Access is an investment advisory program sponsored by Merrill that uses a probabilistic approach to determine the likelihood that participants in the program may be able to achieve their specified annual retirement income goal and/or to identify a potential wealth outcome that
could be realized. Additionally, the recommendations provided by Advice Access may include a higher level of investment risk than a participant may be personally comfortable with. Participants are strongly advised to consider their personal goals, overall risk tolerance, and retirement horizon before accepting any recommendations made by Advice Access. Participants should carefully review the explanation of the methodology used, including key assumptions and limitations, which is provided in the Advice Access disclosure document (ADV Part 2A) statement. It can be obtained through Benefits OnLine or through your representative.
IMPORTANT: The projections or other information shown in the Advice Access program regarding the likelihood of various investment outcomes are hypothetical in nature, do not reflect actual investment results and are not guarantees of future results. Results may vary with
each use and over time.
5.  “Bank of America” and “BofA Securities” are the marketing names used by the Global Banking and Global Markets divisions of Bank of America Corporation. Lending, other commercial banking activities, and trading in certain financial instruments are performed globally by banking
affiliates of Bank of America Corporation, including Bank of America, N.A., Member FDIC. Trading in securities and financial instruments, and strategic advisory, and other investment banking activities, are performed globally by investment banking affiliates of Bank of America Corporation (“Investment Banking Affiliates”), including, in the United States, BofA Securities, Inc. and Merrill Lynch Professional Clearing Corp., both of which are registered broker-dealers and Members of SIPC, and, in other jurisdictions, by locally registered entities. BofA Securities, Inc. and Merrill Lynch Professional Clearing Corp. are registered as futures commission merchants with the CFTC and are members of the NFA.
6. Any information presented in connection with BofA Global Research is general in nature and is not intended to provide personal investment advice. The information does not take into account the specific investment objectives, financial situation and particular needs of any specific person who may receive it. Investors should understand that statements regarding future prospects may not be realized. BofA Global Research is equity research produced by BofA Securities, Inc. (“BofAS”) and/or one or more of its affiliates. BofA Global Research does and seeks to do business with companies covered in its research reports. As a result, investors should be aware that the firm may have a conflict of interest that could affect the objectivity of this report. Investors should consider this report as only a single factor in making their investment decision. 

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.

    #DigitalMerrill

    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.


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      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.