Our Team

Our Team

I enjoy coming to work each day because we have a great team! First and foremost, everyone with URPG has a client-centric focus. I have had the privilege of interacting with each team member over many years. Each brings an important skill set and expertise needed for our practice. Click on any photo to find out more!

The URPG team is a dedicated group of professionals, who share the common goal of providing our clients with the expertise, sound judgment and a commitment to service.  Feel free to visit or chat with us to see for yourself. I hope you agree.

Sincerely,

Peter

Peter J. Gallagher, ChFC®, CLU®, CASL®, AIF®

Managing Director

I grew up in Ossining, New York, the oldest son of a fund raiser father and a school teacher mother.  My parents, Peter and Mary, still live in the house that I grew up in. I live in Briarcliff Manor, New York, with my wife, Chris, a public school teacher.  We have been married for over 23 years.

Chris and I are very recent “empty-nesters”, with both of our children, Alison, age 20, and Ryan, age 18, attending college at the same time.  Alison is studying to become an art teacher at Messiah College. Ryan is attending Providence College on a track scholarship.  My family is very important to me and comes first in everything that I do. We are beginning to adjust to living at home without kids, but if you have some advice, I’m happy to listen.

 

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Ryan, Peter, Chris and Alison Gallagher

 

I feel fortunate to have been involved with the music profession at a very young age, beginning studies on the string bass at the age of nine. The discipline and focus required to practice and perform music at a high level has always been of interest and an ongoing challenge to me.  I learned before the age of ten that one of the best ways to achieve your goals is to try to get better at what you are doing a little bit each day and to keep a mindset of always looking for ways to improve.  

Several private music teachers helped me stay on track with my goals, I was fortunate to have several mentors who cared about my work and success in the music field. I am very grateful to have studied with some of the best bass teachers in the industry over the years.  Having reached a level of success in high school allowed me the opportunity to receive full-tuition music scholarships for both undergraduate and graduate school.  

I learned a great deal about setting goals and working hard to achieve them while practicing the string bass over six hours a day in my early 20’s. This determination paid off as I began competing and winning ultra-competitive symphony orchestra auditions and I began my career playing the string bass professionally.  

I was selected to perform with orchestras in Hartford, Connecticut and Orlando, Florida while teaching students privately and performing during the summers in Greensboro, North Carolina. I own a string bass made by Kai Arvi, from Prince Edward Island, Canada.

 

Arvi Bass

 

String Bass made by Kai Arvi

 

During the time that Chris and I were dating, I began to experience a major difference between performing music and the music business.  Although I loved performing music, the music business began to wear on me. Having spent 20 years perfecting a craft, and within a year before Chris and I got married, I walked away from a perfectly decent job and decided that it was time to change careers.  

Having shared the stage with many talented musicians over the years in no way guaranteed me a ticket into another profession. There were many setbacks.  However, while working on changing careers, I used the same discipline that I learned in music, setting goals and working hard to achieve them, and applied this to my job search.  In reflecting what I may want to concentrate on for my next profession, I realized that in addition to my love for music, helping others was a core part of my life. More on this later.

I entered the financial services industry as a temporary employee two-months before I was married in 1994, not your most glamorous job.  Soon after that, I was hired as a full-time assistant.  During this time, I used this opportunity to study and pass several securities exams.  

Over the next 10 years, in addition to passing the minimum number of exams needed to become a financial advisor, I obtained four advanced planning designations.  I thought that it was important to have the knowledge to work on and prepare a financial plan, or “road map”, to help clients set financial goals and work hard to achieve them. Therefore, I studied for and achieved the ChFC designation. Similarly, I felt that it was important to help clients protect their wealth and help pass it on to their loved ones, so I achieved the CLU designation. Because of the complex nature of planning for the over age 50 client, I also felt that it was important to study for and achieve the CASL designation.  Most importantly, I wanted to make sure that every person that I worked with understood that I will seek to act in their best interest in every interaction with them. Therefore, I worked for and obtained the AIF designation.  

Having been in the financial services industry for over 23 years now, I have held positions in several large financial services firms, including TIAA-CREF and Citigroup, as senior retirement consultant and first vice president-financial advisor.  Realizing the need to specialize in helping individuals plan for retirement, invest their assets intelligently, and preserve their legacy for their loved ones, I founded Unified Retirement Planning Group in 2016. 

 

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It was important for me to affiliate with a very respected independent broker dealer so that I may put the needs of my clients first.  The fact that I’ve chosen to work with Commonwealth Financial Network means that our firm remains independent and free to act in our client’s best interest, without any pressure to promote proprietary products, strategies, or answer to shareholders.

Three months after my daughter Alison was born, I began my studies as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).  I had no prior experience in this field, other than the desire to volunteer to help others in need.  After studying for and passing the New York State EMT exam, I spent more than 15 years as a volunteer EMT every Saturday evening from 10 pm to 6 am as a member of the Village of Briarcliff Manor Fire Department.  I also became a CPR instructor and donated my time and background to help teach others to become knowledgeable in helping save others’ lives as well.

Being involved with helping strangers, and sometimes saving their lives, is something that I found to be very rewarding. Even though there were evenings when I responded to multiple ambulance calls, from car accidents to house fires, and sometimes not having enough sleep, I always found satisfaction in giving back a little time each week to help make a difference in someone else’s life. 

I feel privileged to have been one of the many first responders who worked at Ground Zero in 2001. Because I consistently volunteered my time over 500 hours each year, I was honored with the President’s Volunteer Service Award for several years in a row. 

At URPG, we have made a commitment as a firm to give back to the community that we serve several times a year. Since URPG was founded in 2016, our company has participated in charity events with the Hillside Food Outreach, the New York Blood Center, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  

Staying in shape is also very important to me.  Along with finding the time to ride my bicycle about 100 miles per month when the weather cooperates, I have been exercising with the P90X workout program for over 10 years.  I have been involved with charity bike events in several states, including New York, Vermont, and Nevada.

 

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On my Trek bike near the Croton Dam. Croton-on-Hudson, New York

 

Committed to always improving my skills in my financial services practice, I attend various retirement, investment, and estate planning conferences each year to keep my knowledge in these areas up to date, so that I may provide current information to my clients. I also have found a way to stay involved with the music profession by combining both my music and financial background.  I’m happy to be a board member with the International Society of Bassists, located in Dallas, Texas.  I also like to read several business-related books each month, and I even struggle nightly with a difficult Sudoku puzzle.

Performing music in a symphony orchestra, responding to a car accident as an EMT, or helping a client prepare for their future, requires many similar qualities, including discipline, teamwork and flexibility. I’ve lived my life dedicated to achieving goals and helping others. 

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about me. If my qualities and background resonate with you, perhaps we could meet to discuss what is important to you and your family.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jacqueline Pedersen, CRPC®

Strategic Marketing Specialist, Licensed

Jacqueline has over 30 years of experience in the financial services industry. Prior to joining United Retirement Planning Group (URPG), Jacqueline held both individual contributor roles and leadership roles within consulting/client services groups at TIAA-CREF and retirement plan product groups at Smith Barney. Her entire professional career has been centered around retirement plans and retirement planning.

Jacqueline’s commitment to servicing the retirement income planning needs of clients over age 50 is invaluable to URPG. She provides a keen understanding of this market segment, excellent customer service skills, and fine attention to detail. Jacqueline has been consistently commended for her service and character throughout her career.

In addition to her day-to-day responsibilities with URPG, Jacqueline provides strategic support and will be developing a specialty on a sub-section of clients over age 50 that focuses on the retirement income needs of women investors.

Education/Designations/Personal Interest
Jacqueline earned a BS from the Trinity College in Hartford, CT. She holds her FINRA Series 7, 24, and 63 securities registrations through Commonwealth Financial Network®. In addition, she has a Charter Retirement Plan CounselorSM (CRPC®) designation from the College for Financial Planning. Jacqueline was also a member of the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA).

Jacqueline believes in giving back, particularly to the underserved community. She is an active board member of KEEPS, Inc., an after-school program for grade-school children. Beginning with the 2016-2017 academic year, she will be serving as the vice president of the board, while continuing to provide support through a variety of sub-committees, including fundraising, marketing, and finance.

In her spare time, Jacqui enjoys spending time with her husband, Rick and her two adult children.  A lifelong Westchester County resident, Jacqui and Rick have resided in Mamaroneck, NY for over 25 years.  Her favorite pastimes include, but are not limited to, spending time with friends and immediate & extended family, walking, hiking, travel and an avid foodie.

Rebecca J. Burfeind

Office Manager

Becky spent over 12 years working in the travel industry. As station manager and district trainer with commuter airlines in the Midwest, she then relocated to New York to work at the Westchester County Airport in 1995. She moved into the world of corporate travel in 1997, where she was employed by a worldwide travel management company.

Becky took a 16-year sabbatical from corporate life in 2000 to be a full-time mom, during which time she was actively involved in the schools and worked part-time as church secretary for two years and as a fitness instructor for 5 years. She brings with her a love of working with people and a dedication to strong work ethic.

Becky lives with her husband of 19 years and their two teenage children. She enjoys walking, reading, and every activity that includes family.