Steven Merkel, CFP, ChFC

Steven Merkel, CFP, ChFC

Steven T. Merkel, CFP®, ChFC®, is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional with Ciccarelli Advisory Services, Inc. in Naples/Bonita Springs, Fla. Steve is a former U.S. Army air defense artillery officer and has been giving financial advice for more than 18 years. He holds the Series 6, 7, 63, 66, and life, health, & variable annuity licenses in addition to the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and Chartered Financial Consultant® designations. Mr. Merkel has been featured and widely quoted in numerous publications including The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Entrepreneur, Consumer Reports, Investment News, Financial Planning Magazine and Fidelity's Stages Quarterly. He enjoys motocross, fishing, military history, Miami Hurricane football and spending time with his family & friends.

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  1. Personal Finance

    Understanding Your Mortgage

    We walk through the steps needed to secure the best loan to finance the purchase of your home.
  2. Retirement

    Estate Planning: 16 Things Prince (and You) Should Have ...

    The must-do list Prince and his advisors should have completed to avoid leaving his family without a will and an estate plan.
  3. Home & Auto

    Why is accidental life insurance so inexpensive?

    Accidental life insurance is an inexpensive way of obtaining life insurance coverage for yourself or someone else in your family. These policies typically pay a handsome death benefit to your beneficiary ...
  4. Investing

    What advantages do exchange-traded funds have over mutual ...

    Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) are growing ever more popular, as they were created to combine the best characteristics of both stocks and mutual funds into a combined investment vehicle. Four of the common ...
  5. Investing

    What is a tax-free 1035 Exchange?

    A Section 1035 Exchange refers to the replacement of an annuity or life insurance policy for a new one without incurring any tax consequence for the exchange. The IRS allows holders of these types of contracts ...
  6. Home & Auto

    How are life insurance proceeds taxed?

    Generally, life insurance death benefits that are paid out to a beneficiary in lump sum are not included as income to the recipient of the life insurance payout. This tax-free exclusion also covers death ...
  7. Investing

    What are the advantages and disadvantages of mutual funds?

    Mutual funds are currently the most popular investment vehicle and provide several advantages to investors, including the following: Advanced Portfolio ManagementYou pay a management fee as part of your ...
  8. Retirement

    What's the best kind of IRA for a 20-something?

    There probably is no 100% correct answer here, but let's break it down. Suppose that you are 23, you've been working for a couple of years and are now earning $50,000 per year. For 2008, you can contribute ...
  9. Home & Auto

    Why some insurance policies are more expensive than others?

    There are several reasons that an insurance policy can cost more or less at different agencies. Some of the more common reasons include the following:a) Economies of scale - Larger agencies can often obtain ...
  10. Home & Auto

    Why should I keep track of my insurance policy?

    The number one thing to remember about insurance is that, just like everything else, it changes over time. The top-of-the-line policy that you bought five years ago might not even be available or even ...
  11. Home & Auto

    Should I be worried about my insurance company?

    Yes, policyholders should also take a serious look at the financial stability of their current insurance company especially if annuities or cash value life insurance are involved. During the credit crisis ...
  12. Retirement

    Does it make sense to convert a Traditional IRA to a Roth ...

    If your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) is $100,000 or less and you are not married filing separately, you may initiate a taxable conversion of a Traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. You can do a direct ...
  13. Investing Basics

    Solutions For Concentrated Positions

    Investopedia explains various tactics for divesting your overexposure to any one stock.
  14. Retirement

    Should I collect early Social Security?

    The earliest age that you can start receiving social security benefits is age 62. Full retirement was age 65 for many years; however, the administration realized that people were living longer and that ...
  15. Retirement

    Is it wise to put an IRA account into a fixed or variable ...

    The answer to this depends on an individual's investment goals, requirements and risk tolerance. During the 1990s, the majority of seasoned financial planners would tell you that it's not a wise move to ...
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