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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Profile

Christopher Ruiz is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, Senior Portfolio Advisor, and Wealth Management Advisor with The Sheffield Group at Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc.

Christopher has more than 21 years of experience working in the financial services industry. During his exclusive tenure with Bank of America, since 2002, he has held positions in the areas of Consumer Banking, Credit, and most recently by joining the Global Wealth & Investment Management (GWIM) division of the company in 2007.

In his current role, Christopher has been designated as a Senior Portfolio Advisor on Merrill’s Investment Advisory Program. A Senior Portfolio Advisor can help clients pursue their objectives by managing on a discretionary basis custom investment strategies, selecting from a wide range of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management model portfolios and third-party investment strategies.

His areas of focus include investment portfolio management, financial strategies, trading in capital markets, and leveraging his connections at Bank of America, N.A. for custom lending and banking services.

In addition to holding the Series 7 and Series 66 FINRA registrations, Chris' credentials include earning the CFP® certification from the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards in Washington, D.C., a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from California State University Northridge, and insurance licenses for Life, Health, Long-Term Care, and Variable Contracts from the California and Texas Department of Insurance.

Chris and his wife, Rachel, reside in the West University neighborhood of Houston, Texas. His interests and hobbies include road-cycling, and winter sports, such as skiing and snowboarding.

Named to the Forbes "Best-in-State Wealth Management Teams" list, 2024 and 2023, as a member of The Sheffield Group team.

Published annually in January. Rankings based on data as of March 31 of prior year.* 


For more information on Chris' team, please visit The Sheffield Group webpage: https://fa.ml.com/california/los-angeles/sheffieldgroup/
 


*Merrill Life Agency's California License Number 0522776

*Forbes “Best-in-State Wealth Management Teams” list. Opinions provided by SHOOK* Research, LLC and is based on in-person, virtual and telephone due-diligence meetings and a ranking algorithm that measure best practices, client retention, industry experience, credentials, compliance records, firm nominations, assets under management and Firm-generated revenue (investment performance is not a criterion because client objectives and risk tolerance vary). SHOOK’s rankings are available for client evaluation only, are not indicative of future performance and do not represent any one client’s experience and available for investor help in evaluating the right financial advisor and not an endorsement of the advisor. Compensation was not received from anyone for the rankings study. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Details available at www.SHOOKresearch.com. SHOOK is a registered trademark of SHOOK Research, LLC.

    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.

    Ally Bowdoin

    Wealth Strategies Advisor

    Bank of America, N.A.

    Gregory Fry

    Structured Credit Executive

    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

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.