Women In Business 2014

Lean in for Shari Merle’s sound financial advice

By From page WIB17 | January 31, 2014


Certified Financial Planner Shari Merle helps her clients find peace of mind. Democrat photo by Pat Dollins

After 27 years in the business, Shari Merle never tires of her job as a certified financial planner. The branch manager of LPL Financial in El Dorado Hills says educating clients about the importance of understanding their financial situations and saving for retirement is what makes her tick, especially when it comes to women.

Merle is concerned for the countless women she sees who don’t plan for their financial futures. “Women outlive men, yet I see so many who completely rely on their husbands when it comes to financial decisions and haven’t a clue what to do when they need to take over,” she said. “Why is it men don’t think someone else will take care of their retirement planning?”

Merle frequently shares her expertise at workshops and lectures for organizations including colleges, hospitals, state and federal government agencies, credit unions and investment clubs.

A graduate of Sacramento State University, Merle has completed professional financial programs, advanced courses and rigorous examinations to earn her credentials of certified financial planner, licensed stock broker, investment advisor representative, life and disability insurance agent and registered principal. She said her knowledge in these areas allows her to offer a full range of products and services to individuals and businesses, which simplifies the financial planning process for them. Merle is also a registered investment advisor and member of FINRA/SIPC.

Merle’s son Stephen is also a certified financial planner and joined her team in 2007, but don’t expect Shari hand over the reins any time soon. “We make a good team,” she said. “But I have no intention of retiring. It seems people that think the most of retirement want to get out of what they’re doing, but I love what I do and making a difference in people’s lives.”

Shari actively works with her clients and values referrals. “If I needed an attorney I wouldn’t pick one out of the yellow pages; I’d want a friend’s recommendation,” she said. “In my field people can be taken advantage of, so people really need to do their research and know who they’re hiring.”

She recommends the free search tool to find qualified investment advisors in the area.

Potential clients may expect to sit down with Shari and Stephen for a free one-hour consultation. “We’re looking to build a lifetime relationship and not just complete a transaction,” she said. “Anyone can invest for you but we see this as a relationship.”

Shari admits the more years in her industry the better. “There’s a lot to say about experience,” she said. “If you had $1 million would you want to roll it over with someone with more or less experience?”

She also believes “going with her gut” has paid off. The secret to her success is simple: “If you do what’s right for the client you can’t help but be successful.”

LPL Financial, the largest independent broker/dealer in the country, is an independent firm, which does not market its own products or use proprietary accounts. Instead Merle’s focus is in finding investments that match her clients’ needs and preferences. She credits her LPL branch’s outstanding team, including son, Stephen, and operations manager Sandie Thomson.

LPL Financial is located at 981 Governor Drive, Suite 101, in El Dorado Hills. Call 916-933-2117 to schedule a consultation.

Julie Samrick

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