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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Tara, Assistant Vice President, Resident Director of the Cool Springs Office - Wealth Management Advisor and Senior Portfolio Advisor, began her financial services career over ten years ago. Previously, Tara spent over 7 years at Waddell & Associates where she was a Wealth Strategist and Financial Advisor. Today, she focuses on serving families, corporate executives, and business owners.

Tara follows a disciplined process that begins with first taking the time to fully understand each client’s particular needs, concerns and priorities. She is passionate about delivering tailored investments, planning and service.

She has experience helping clients manage concentrated stock positions and prepare for the challenges of important transition events like the sale of a business, retirement, or inheritance. In addition, she works with clients’ attorneys, accountants and other advisors to help coordinate strategies.

She is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, a Certified Exit Planning Advisor (CEPA) designee, and holds the Series 7 and 66 FINRA registrations. She received her bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and her law and business degrees [JD/MBA], in corporate finance and closely held corporations from The University of Tennessee.

When appropriate, she provides access to Bank of America Private Bank (formerly US Trust) for clients’ trust and estate planning needs and Bank of America for clients’ commercial banking and financing needs.

She is active in the community supporting her church, the Georgetown Alumni Application Committee, and serves on the board of Renewal House.

She and her husband, Dan, live in Brentwood with their two boys, Lucas and Elliot and their dogs, Lucy & Roxy!

*Tara does not provide legal advice in her role with Merrill.


    Georgetown University

    University of Tennessee - Knoxville JD/MBA

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.

Michael Benoit

Wealth Management Banking Specialist


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

Tara's Mission & Why

What matters most is what matters most to you.  Considering the sale of a business or purchase of a home? Worried about managing future health care expenses? College on the horizon? Preparing to pass your wealth to future generations? We will work with you to develop strategies designed to address your financial needs.  We encourage questions!  

Among the reasons I chose to become a financial advisor is my desire to help others clarify their goals and priorities.  My passion for wealth management and helping to educate clients stems from the financial challenges I have watched friends and family experience in the past. As witness to the challenges faced by important people in my life, I recognized the need for a professional and caring team to help others realize the life they want.

Tara's Philosophy

We place the investor front and center— connecting all aspects of clients’ financial lives while maintaining a focus on the market. 

We believe that no two people are alike. Consequently, there is no singular wealth management strategy that is appropriate for everyone. That’s why, from the start, we talk about your aspirations and encourage you to ask questions about issues that matter most to you. 

We believe that open and clear communication is instrumental to success in managing life’s financial decisions and challenges.

Structured Process

I start with a conversation, building a foundation that helps me understand your risk tolerance, time horizons, liquidity needs, goals, priorities and unique financial concerns.

By listening and understanding you and your priorities, we help you articulate where you see yourself and your family now and in the future.

Together, we will create a financial strategy and plan that reflects your personality and is built around your life priorities.

Once your strategy is in place, we periodically review your portfolio and update your plan and look for new ways to support your goals.

How We Help

Wealth Management is a dynamic, ongoing process because it has to fit your ever-changing life. We believe clients realize the full value of our relationship, including:

  • Helping you make significant decisions
  • Assisting in mitigation of investment taxes and work to increase tax efficient savings
  • Helping you prioritize and pursue goals
  • Clarifying the retirement lifestyle you envision
  • Analyzing your pension, Medicare and Social Security options
  • Understanding your investment personality
  • Being transparent by making possibilities, fees and risks clear
  • Taking steps to help you preserve income during a life challenge
  • Educating the younger generation about investments and the markets
Some clients have additional questions particularly, business owners, executives, and high net worth families including:

  • Answering how much do I need to net from my business or firm’s sale in order to retire
  • Organizing business and personal plans to prepare for a liquidity event
  • Diversifying business interests
  • Managing concentrated equity holdings
  • Preparing for the cost of education for children and grandchildren
  • Finding appropriate methods to transfer wealth to the next generation
  • Helping you engage your family in financial decision-making
  • Establishing a legacy through family foundations and philanthropy 


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 High-Net-Worth Individuals and Business Owners

I offer clients a breadth of potential solutions, premier customer service and financial tools based on their unique circumstances. No matter what your goals may be, the process begins by defining and prioritizing your financial goals based on 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 and giving to charities
  • Work: Working in retirement, selling or starting a business
  • Finance: Bringing it all together; defining your financial goals
The team’s industry knowledge and experience helps them provide you with:
  • Potential risk management strategies
  • Trust and estate planning services
  • Tax-minimization strategies
  • 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 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

      We believe there is no substitute for having a relationship with a team of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Advisors committed to your needs, who can leverage the investment insights of Merrill and offer access to the banking convenience of Bank of America to help clients navigate the financial and economic landscapes. Let’s work together to help you pursue 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.