Your approach to investing

Our Investment Personality Assessment is one of the ways our advisors get to know you–to understand your goals and priorities. The following four questions will give you a sense of the full assessment and help us provide you with additional insights and resources.

Step 1 of 4

When it comes to your family, are you confident there will be enough financial resources for the rest of their lives?

Why are we asking this?

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Why are we asking this?

The resources you dedicate to family members will have a direct effect on your own financial life. Do you have a special needs child, a spouse or parent who will need care for the rest of their lives? Beyond your family's essential needs, do you want to give more, like funding your grandchildren’s education, or helping your children make a down payment for a house or fund a business?

Step 2 of 4

What about the rest of your life? Do you think you’ll have enough financial resources for everything you want or need to do?

Why are we asking this?

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Why are we asking this?

Nearly half of our clients are concerned that they don't have enough to sustain their wealth throughout their lives. How about you? Do you have enough for your own goals? Are you giving too much to family members or the community without considering your own future needs? Financial independence can be empowering for you, your family and the community.

Step 3 of 4

How about supporting your lifestyle? Does providing for those needs affect how you invest now and in the future?

Why are we asking this?

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Why are we asking this?

89% of our clients say their primary intent for investing is to provide for their lifestyles. It's important to understand your own lifestyle needs now and in the future, from home expenses to health care to travel. This will help in determining an appropriate strategy to help you pursue your goals. And by revisiting your needs on an ongoing basis, we can help you course-correct along the way and adjust your strategy as needed.

Step 4 of 4

What about others? Are you familiar with all of the different ways you can structure your giving?

Why are we asking this?

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Why are we asking this?

Once you've established the amount of money you need and have invested to help you pursue your goals, you may be interested in exploring ways to give money to family or the community. Philanthropic efforts open the door to a diverse set of opportunities, from tax optimization to maximizing the value of the gift. Your choices can benefit you, the recipients as well as promote stewardship rather than dependency.

What your answers reveal

Download your summary

Question 1

When it comes to your family, are you confident there will be enough financial resources for the rest of their lives?
What this means for you:

Having the feeling that the ones closest to you will be financially secure opens the door to other opportunities for your money, whether it be a second home, retiring early or giving to the community.

Things to consider:

• Talk with your family and find a common set of financial values to help sustain your wealth.

• Reexamine how your wealth is structured and whether resources are protected.

• Establish a strategy that works for your goals.

96

96% of clients say that family is the most important part of their lives.

Merrill Lynch Investment Personality Assessment (IPA) research, 2012–2013

What this means for you:

Having the feeling that loved ones may not be financially secure can be troublesome. If this is weighing on your mind, there are some steps you can take.

Things to consider:

• Evaluate your own financial situation.

• See if you have resources left over to provide to family members in need.

• Examine trade-offs that can be made as well as potential investment strategies.

92

92% of clients feel that their own finances should be in order before giving to family or the community.

Merrill Lynch Investment Personality Assessment (IPA) research, 2012–2013

Question 2

What about the rest of your life? Do you think you’ll have enough financial resources for everything you want or need to do?
What this means for you:

While you feel you have enough, you may be interested in understanding how overfunded you are. In other words, do you have just enough or more than enough?

Things to consider:

• Identify dollar amounts and timing as they relate to your lifestyle.

• Evaluate how much you need to set aside to pursue your goals.

• Examine how much you have left over and if there are other goals you may have.

81

81% of clients feel that they can adjust their lifestyles to accommodate changes in the value of their investments.

Merrill Lynch Investment Personality Assessment (IPA) research, 2012–2013

What this means for you:

This is a common concern. In fact, running out of money is one of Americans' top fears. So what's causing the lack of confidence, spending too much, saving or investing too little, high expenses?

Things to consider:

• Know the primary intent for your money, now and for the future.

• Make sure you are dedicating your resources toward that intent.

• Phase out secondary commitments, even if that means sending kids to public school rather than private.

49

49% of clients are concerned that they are not investing enough for their futures.

Merrill Lynch Investment Personality Assessment (IPA) research, 2012–2013

Question 3

How about supporting your lifestyle? Does providing for those needs affect how you invest now and in the future?
What this means for you:

Your life isn’t static. And thinking about how it will change over time can help you invest for your future needs while making the right lifestyle trade-offs in the here and now.

Things to consider:

• Identify life changes, birth of a child, buying a home, retirement.

• Invest accordingly, create a college fund, prepare a down payment or a strategy for retirement.

• Prioritize how much you'll need and when.

73

73% of clients feel their investment yields, dividends or returns will cover their lifestyles.

Merrill Lynch Investment Personality Assessment (IPA) research, 2012–2013

What this means for you:

Life may be more predictable and investing may feel more straightforward for you. You put money away, let it grow, and use it if/when needed. This resonates with long-term investors who are not concerned with short-term fluctuations in the market.

Things to consider:

• Evaluate your risk levels to ensure they are in line with your goals.

• Ensure you have enough liquidity to draw from or to invest when the opportunity is right.

• Rebalance your portfolio on a regular basis.*

*Rebalancing does not ensure a profit or protect against loss in declining markets.

 

78

78% of clients find the ability to withdraw money from their investments appealing.

Merrill Lynch Investment Personality Assessment (IPA) research, 2012–2013

Question 4

What about others? Are you familiar with all of the different ways you can structure your giving?
What this means for you:

Whether it's about the decisions, governance or structure around the gift, giving can be extraordinarily valuable. Ensuring that the structures you've set up are in line with your goals is an ongoing challenge.

Things to consider:

• Review your giving structures annually, so they evolve with you.

• Establish key collaborators to help constructively challenge your thinking.

• Stay up to date since opportunities are constantly changing.

28

28% of clients are interested in leaving a substantial sum of money to a charity or nonprofit.

Merrill Lynch Investment Personality Assessment (IPA) research, 2012–2013

What this means for you:

While you may not have the resources or the desire to explore structured giving via trust, family foundation or donor advised fund, it can be useful to learn about these opportunities in case your circumstances change.

Things to consider:

• Know ways to give whether it's to a partner, parent, child or organization.

• Understand ways to structure your wealth to optimize giving.

• Revisit goals annually to see if structured giving becomes more relevant.

68

68% of clients enjoy giving money to charities or nonprofit organizations.

Merrill Lynch Investment Personality Assessment (IPA) research, 2012–2013

Next steps

You’ve taken a sample of the Investment Personality Assessment; now think about your priorities.

Explore your goals

Share your results with your financial advisor and start the full Investment Personality Assessment.

Find an advisor

What the Investment Personality Assessment reveals

Mindset

Discussing your mindset toward investment risk and complexity can help establish the level of risk exposure you are most comfortable with based on:

• Confidence in the future of the markets

• Adaptability to changing market environments and investment outcomes

Approach

Identifying your preferred approach to investing can help you select strategies that fit your mindset. You and your advisor will discuss:

• Accessibility of your assets

• Protection against downturns in the values of your investments

• Your desired level of involvement in the investment process

Purpose

It is important to understand what you hope to achieve with your investments. For many people, this includes focusing on:

• Self, such as concerns about whether your essential spending needs can be met

• Family, including education funding and estate plans

• Community-related aspirations, such as charitable giving