7 questions to ask a Merrill Edge Financial Solutions Advisor™ today

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An advisor can help you hone your investment plan and keep your financial goals on track.

Key points

  • Whether by phone or in person, a Merrill Edge Financial Solutions Advisor™ can help you:
  • Build a realistic budget and tackle debt
  • Learn about strategies to weather volatile markets
  • Calculate retirement income needs
  • Better understand the controllable factors that affect your portfolio's performance
  • An advisor can work with you to create your Merrill Edge Roadmap®, your personalized action plan to help you get, and keep, your financial goals on trackFootnote 1
With so many variables to consider, the path to achieving your financial goals can sometimes seem daunting, but a Merrill Edge Financial Solutions Advisor can help. They provide the tools, investment insights and guidance to help you define your situation and options, develop a strategy, and take the steps necessary to pursue your goals.
Advisors are available to speak with you by telephone or in person at select financial centers. To get the most out of your conversation, here are some suggested questions you may want to ask.

1. How can I reduce expenses and improve my monthly cash flow?

A conversation with a Financial Solutions Advisor can help you clearly identify your options, including needs versus wants and what you may want to keep or cut from your monthly expenditures. They'll also help you build a realistic budget and provide insight into ways to help you tackle your debt.
A financial solutions advisor can talk with you to help you clearly define choices that may be right for your situation.
Together, you and the advisor can create your personalized Merrill Edge Roadmap®, an action plan tailored to your investing needs. An advisor can also help you stay the course by:
  • Helping you create a customized financial summary of where you are today
  • Recommending a personalized action plan and portfolio, or professionally managed portfolio, for your situation
  • Checking on your progress and providing easy-to-read Portfolio and Progress to Goal reviews every six months
  • Providing access to investment insights and guidance as the markets, and your needs, evolve

2. How can I invest more of my money for the future?

A Financial Solutions Advisor helps you pursue your goals based on what you want to achieve. Saving for a home purchase, for example, requires a different investment strategy than saving for college. While reaching both goals requires discipline and time, they each need a distinct investment vehicle. An advisor can work with you to develop an appropriate action plan.

3. Do my investments fit my goals?

Financial needs change as your life evolves. A Financial Solutions Advisor can help you reevaluate your investment strategy in light of any new circumstances, such as the birth of a child or the need for steady retirement income.

4. How much investment risk can I handle?

Investing in riskier investments could provide the opportunity for higher returns, but it must always be balanced against your ability to withstand potential losses, including the loss of the entire principal amount you invested. Many factors, including the length of time until retirement, determine how much investment risk you may want to take. A Financial Solutions Advisor can help you strike the right balance when it comes to the amount of risk you're prepared to take on to help pursue your goals.Footnote 2

5. How often should I review my investments in detail?

Generally speaking, rebalancing the allocation of your assets approximately twice a year may be helpful for maintaining an appropriate portfolio allocation. When you rebalance a portfolio, you bring it back to your desired original target "asset allocation." This is essentially the percentages of your investments allocated in key categories: stocks, bonds and cash. The amount in each category is based on your risk tolerance, liquidity needs and time horizon in order to pursue your investment goals. Periodic rebalancing may be needed because the original allocation may have shifted over time due to market performance.Footnote 3
How often you rebalance depends on your individual financial goals, and external factors such as the health of the overall economy and the financial markets. An advisor can review your portfolio's asset allocation, offer guidance, and help you design a personalized strategy to help keep your investment allocation and goals aligned.

6. How should I invest when the market is volatile?

When markets are unsteady, it's important to maintain discipline. Investors often react by pulling their investments out, and then they're hesitant to get back in when the markets recover. They generally sell low and lose money, as a result.
In a volatile market there are things a Financial Solutions Advisor can suggest you do to help handle the volatility, such as moving some of your investments to sectors that are potentially more stable, but not fundamentally changing the overall composition of the portfolio. Again, maintaining discipline during the positive and negative times is crucial.

7. How much income will I need in retirement?

A Financial Solutions Advisor can help you calculate retirement income needs and recommend an investment strategy based on your risk tolerance, investment time horizon, personal financial goals and more.
The amount of money you'll need in retirement to supplement income from other sources, such as pensions and Social Security, depends on a number of factors, including your individual retirement goals and the age at which you plan to stop working.
These are just a few of the questions an advisor can help you with.
Call or locate a Merrill Edge Financial Solutions Advisor™ near you to get help reviewing your financial goals and evaluating your investing strategy.
Next steps
Choose the most convenient option to speak with a Merrill Edge Financial Solutions Advisor:

Footnote 1 Investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal.

Footnote 2 Ibid.

Footnote 3 Asset allocation and rebalancing do not assure a profit or protect against a loss in declining markets.