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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Todd A. Nelson
Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc.
Managing Director 
Senior Financial Advisor

Call Toll Free: 1.888.606.8633

In 1989, Todd joined Merrill. Todd is a Managing Director and Senior Financial Advisor on the Nelson Wealth Management Group which is registered in approximately thirty states.*

Todd A. Nelson has been named in the following award lists:

Barron's "Top 1,200 Financial Advisors" in 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, and 2014 (Published annually in March. Rankings based on data as of September 30 of prior year).
Barron's "Top 1,000 Financial Advisors" in 2012 and 2011 (Published annually in February. Rankings based on data as of September 30 of prior year).
Financial Times "Top 400 Financial Advisors" in 2020, 2019, 2018, and 2017 (Published annually Mar – April. Rankings based on data as of June 30 of prior year).
Forbes "Best-in-State Wealth Advisors" in 2020, 2019, 2018 and 2017 (Published annually Jan – April. Rankings based on data as of June 30
of prior year).

With over 30 years of experience, Todd is dedicated to providing clients with the finest individually-tailored approach to financial and investment strategies. At the heart of Todd’s philosophy is a passion to build enduring client relationships through his commitment to providing outstanding guidance and service. Todd takes a highly personalized role in following through for clients – to help make sure their needs are always handled with the highest degree of professional courtesy and attention, and that financial strategies are always accurately and timely implemented.

Todd works closely with high-net-worth individuals and institutions through every step of the investment process. In collaborating with clients on developing a robust wealth management strategy, he focuses on in-depth financial options. With Todd’s many years of experience he has developed and successfully implemented strategies that provide asset accumulation and sustainable asset distribution for individuals, family's, and institutions' wealth. As a result, Todd’s client relationships are built on performance, satisfaction and trust.

Todd was born and raised in Central South Dakota. Todd received a Bachelor's degree in political science from the University of South Dakota in 1978. Todd received a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of South Dakota in 1980. Upon graduation, Todd married his wife Dawn, then moved to Sioux Falls where he began work for Mid States Enterprises, Inc., a Wendy’s franchisee restaurant group. As the franchisee Area Director, Todd oversaw the opening and operation of thirty Wendy's restaurants in four states including South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Nevada. Todd’s active in his community through service with his church, the Masonic Lodge, the Scottish Rite, the El Riad Shrine, the Lion's Club, and the Banquet. Todd also supports additional local organizations such as: Children's Home Society, Children's Inn, Lifescape, The Salvation Army, The Ronald McDonald House, McCrossan's Boys Ranch, The University of South Dakota Foundation, Beta Theta Pi Fraternity, Alpha Phi Sorority, VFW, American Legion, and The Wounded Warriors.

Todd and his wife have been blessed with two grown daughters, Maria and Madeleine Nelson, a son in law, Mark Schroeder, and two grandchildren, Caroline and William Schroeder.

*Source: The Barron’s “Top 1,200 Financial Advisors: State-by-State” list, published annually in February-March. Rankings based on data as of
September 30 of prior year.

The Barron’s “Top 1,200 Financial Advisors” ranking considered advisors with a minimum of seven years financial services experience
and who have been employed at their current firm for at least one year. This is a list of the top advisors in each state, with the number
of ranking spots determined by each state’s population and wealth. Other quantitative and qualitative measures include assets under
management, revenues generated by advisors for their firms, and the quality of the advisors’ practices, regulatory records, internal
company documents, and 100-plus points of data provided by the advisors themselves. Rankings and recognition from Barron’s are
no guarantee of future investment success and do not ensure that a current or prospective client will experience a higher level of
performance results, and such rankings should not be construed as an endorsement of the advisor. Barron’s is a trademark of Dow Jones
& Company, Inc. All rights reserved. Years prior to 2014, this list consisted of 1,000 Advisors.

*Source: Financial Times “400 Top Financial Advisers” list, published annually Mar - April. Rankings based on data as of June 30 of prior year.

The Financial Times “400 Top Financial Advisers” (FT 400) list is an independent listing produced annually by Ignites Research, a division
of Money-Media, Inc., on behalf of the Financial Times. The FT 400 is based on data gathered from advisers, broker-dealer home offices,
regulatory disclosures, and the FT’s research. The listing reflects each adviser’s status in six primary areas: assets under management
(AUM), asset growth, compliance record, experience, credentials and online accessibility. This award does not evaluate the quality of
services provided to clients and is not indicative of this adviser’s future performance. Neither the brokerages nor the advisers pay a fee
to the Financial Times in exchange for inclusion in the FT 400. Rankings and recognition from the Financial Times are no guarantee of
future investment success and do not ensure that a current or prospective client will experience a higher level of performance results,
and such rankings should not be construed as an endorsement of the adviser. All rights reserved.

*Source: The Forbes “Best-in-State Wealth Advisors” list, published annually Jan - April. Rankings based on data as of June 30 of prior year.

Data provided by SHOOK® Research, LLC. Forbes Best-in-State Wealth Advisors ranking was developed by SHOOK Research and is based
on in-person, virtual, and telephone due diligence meetings to measure best practices; also considered are: client retention, industry
experience, credentials, review of compliance records, firm nominations; and quantitative criteria, such as: assets under management
and revenue generated for their firms. Investment performance is not a criterion because client objectives and risk tolerances vary, and
advisors rarely have audited performance reports. SHOOK’s research and rankings provide opinions intended to help investors choose the
right financial advisor and are not indicative of future performance or representative of any one client’s experience. Past performance is
not an indication of future results. Neither Forbes nor SHOOK Research receive compensation in exchange for placement on the ranking.
For more information, please see SHOOK is a registered trademark of SHOOK Research, LLC.




    University of South Dakota

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.

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


Based on each client's financial goals, risk tolerance and specific circumstances, The Nelson Group proposes personalized strategies – to help our clients steadily build and preserve their wealth, manage and account for possible liabilities, and plan for future generations. Together with our clients, we select specific strategies, talk often and meet regularly to review progress and present new opportunities we believe will help meet our clients’ immediate and long-term objectives. There is no substitute for performance and there is no limit to the effort we will put forth on our clients’ behalf. Each client is important to us.

Our clients are why we are here.

“Our primary objective has remained consistent through the years – to become a lifetime resource to each of our clients. Our clients have entrusted us to provide personalized financial guidance and tactical strategies to help them achieve the financial future and security that they envision.”

Our Philosophy

The Nelson Wealth Management Group was founded with the mission of providing exceptional client service, superior investment guidance, and wealth management to high-net-worth individuals, families and respected institutions. Collectively, our team of professionals has over 45 years of experience – helping our clients manage risk, plan for the future and retire well. 

Given the challenges many affluent individuals face to preserve their wealth, we offer a collaborative blend of disciplined strategies that come from our multiple advisory resources.  While often our approaches may be complex, always our commitment is to simplify matters for our clients – keeping them focused on their goals, advising them on how to  reach their goals, then updating them on all agreed upon strategies. By applying this philosophy, we free our clients to pursue their lifestyles and their passions they have worked hard to achieve.


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.


Offering you the investment insights of Merrill and access to the credit, lending and banking convenience of Bank of America allows us to help you devise potential strategies designed to grow, preserve and distribute your wealth. We’ll work to exceed your expectations through a proactive approach to communication, attention to personalized service and a commitment to continuing financial education.

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.