Financial advice for those with small nest eggs

Source: Ron Lieber, The New York Times

When Merrill Lynch recently discouraged its thundering herd of brokers from taking on new clients with under $250,000 in assets available for investing, it wasn’t a big surprise. Brokerage firms have been making these sorts of moves for years, and Merrill is notorious for a leaked memo in the late 1990s that discouraged “charity work” for clients with less than $100,000 in assets — “poor people,” as the memo put it. That patrician view is probably a minority one: if the people who run Merrill Lynch felt that way, they wouldn’t be doing what they’re doing now, which is trying like mad to figure out a way to service those smaller accounts profitably.

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