The Transparent Legacy

Conversations you must have with your loved ones before it’s too late.

Merriman advisor and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Cheryl Curran provides advice and encouragement on educating young children about money to talking with your spouse about spending, and making health care or end-of-life decisions.
Through her own real-life experiences, and those of her clients, Cheryl shows what to do – and what not to do.

How we help

We employ a proactive and collaborative process to understand who you are and what you want to accomplish so we can implement a customized plan for all areas of your financial life: Investments, taxes, estate planning, insurance, charitable giving, and more.

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Who we are

Merriman was founded in 1983 as a fee-only investment advisory firm with a strong focus on excellent service, smart investing and long-term goals. We’ve grown significantly since then, and have also come to realize that investment advice is only a small piece of the puzzle.

Our process

To help our clients be truly successful in achieving their goals, we offer a comprehensive approach to wealth management that includes not only investment planning, but also encompasses taxes, estate planning, insurance, risk management, charitable giving and more.

How we think about investing

Investing is a sort of science. Our investment philosophy and method are grounded on decades of academic research, and rely on objective data rather than emotions and forecasts. Above all, we seek to balance return and risk considerations over longer-term time horizons.



Watch some Merriman employees at an evening roundtable talking about why they work at Merriman, how Merriman works with clients and what makes a good team.

Stock options can be best path to satisfaction

Merriman Advisor Rebecca Conner recently co-wrote an article with Joe Wallin from Seattle law firm Carney Badley Spellman for Puget Sound Business Journal, about the questions employees should ask to better understand their stock options. Read the entire article here.  ... read more


Umbrella insurance

When you hear the term “umbrella insurance,” your first thought might be, “What do umbrellas have to do with insurance? Is this just another product the insurance industry is trying to sell me?” Actually, umbrella insurance has nothing to do with conventional umbrellas. Umbrella insurance is “extra insurance,” like an umbrella is extra protection against the rain, even though you have a raincoat on. Think of your regular car and homeowners insurance as the raincoat, and the umbrella insurance as the “umbrella” you carry for torrential downpours. Many people tell me they have liability coverage with their auto and home policies, so why would they want to buy more? A typical individual does in fact have liability coverage on their auto policy and their homeowners policy, usually between $100,000 and $300,000 in coverage. This is indeed a lot of money. But imagine you are driving your car when it’s wet out and you don’t see a cyclist when you make a turn. You hit the cyclist, who sustains serious injuries. In this situation, you may owe for lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering. If this person is the CEO of a large corporation and can’t work for, say, five years, the wages alone might exceed $1,000,000. Medical bills, including physical and occupational therapy, could easily be over $1,000,000. You will have far exceeded the limits of your auto policy. In situations where losses aren’t covered by your other policies, umbrella insurance can provide the following: Additional lawsuit coverage. Added coverage for defense costs. Liability coverage for some lawsuits not covered by your underlying auto or home insurance... read more


Have you written your letter of instruction?

Maybe you’ve heard of this before. A letter of instruction is a document you write to your executor and family that contains your personalized wishes and instructions for settling your estate. Although it does not carry any legal authority, a letter of instruction can be used to provide tremendous added detail about your financial affairs that doesn’t fit within a will or trust. One of the most important purposes of a letter of instruction is to lead the person in charge of settling your estate through the process step by step. A good letter of instruction should contain the following: Detailed list of your assets and belongings. Copy of your monthly budget. Login ID and password list. Contact information for financial professionals and beneficiaries. Location of important documents such as the will, trust, deeds, birth certificate, tax returns, bank statements, bills, life insurance, etc. Creditor statements for any mortgages, credit cards or other loans. Location of keys for house, auto or safe deposit box. A key function of the letter of instruction is to specifically indicate which household belongings go to which heirs. Your will and/or trust will generally only address big ticket items. Through the letter you can decide who receives the family albums, the silverware, stamp collection, artworks or family knickknacks. Providing clear guidance can keep your family from devolving into arguments and resentment when emotions and grief run high. Burial Arrangements You can also use a letter of instruction to tell your family how and where you would like to be buried or cremated. You can be as elaborate as you desire. If you want, you... read more

Charitable Giving

Seahawks, Merriman and Bowling

We recently had the opportunity to be the title sponsor for Merriman Live Bowl United Presented by Team Avril, a bowling tournament for all ages and skill levels hosted by Seattle Seahawk Cliff Avril. He was joined by several of his teammates: Red Bryant, Brandon Mebane, Michael Bennett and Clinton Mc Donald. During this fun evening, a few Merriman clients and employees got to hang out with some Seahawks and show off their bowling skills at West Seattle Bowl. I think I threw more gutter balls than strikes, but that did not matter because the evening was about having fun and supporting a great nonprofit organization. Net proceeds benefited United Way of King County and Strikes for Kids, a nonprofit organization that partners with professional athletes in bringing local business, fans, children and sports together for great causes. There is no better feeling seeing the excitement that the children have to meet their favorite Seahawk while having fun with their family. Strikes For Kids coordinates these bowling and golf tournaments across the United States. We were thrilled and honored to sponsor this first event in the Seattle area. Below are some links to check out video coverage and photos from this event. Go Hawks! Seahawks video Komo News coverage Live Bowl United  ... read more