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 s ummers 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 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, and specifically those 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 and special programming support. Additionally, she hopes to develop a specialty on a sub-section of clients over age 50 that focuses on the retirement income needs of women investors.

Jacqueline loves being a part of the URPG family because of its strong and sound values. She especially enjoys the challenge of finding new ways to ‘delight’ their client base, every day.

Education / Designations / Community 

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 Planning CounselorSM (CRPC®) designation  from the College for Financial Planning® to help navigate through the complex issues surrounding retirement planning. Jacqueline was also a member of the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA), providing her with insights to operational risk management.

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.

Personal Interest 

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 reside in Mamaroneck, NY.  Her favorite pastimes include, but are not limited to, spending time with friends & family, walking, hiking, travel, and meeting new people. She is also an avid foodie. 

Now that Jacqui’s adult children are gainfully employed, she hopes to embark on travels to far-away continents, such as Asia, Australia, and Africa. She is a firm believer of, ‘to truly know the culture one must embrace their food’.  Her other guilty pleasures include visiting national baseball parks and seeking out Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives recommendations. Recently, Jacqui enjoyed a family vacation to Sedona which included a hike along the Grand Canyon rim, combining all of her favorite pastimes! 

Rebecca J. Burfeind

Office Manager

Becky spent over 12 years working in the travel industry as a station manager and district trainer with commuter airlines in the Midwest before she relocated to New York to work at the Westchester County Airport in 1995. As the building of a new terminal brought restructuring of ground operations, she moved into the world of corporate travel in 1996, 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 this time, she was actively involved in the schools, volunteering many hours in the classroom and with the PTA. She continues to serve on the PTA Executive Board as both of her children continue in high school. She is involved in her church and volunteers in various capacities, along with working   part-time as the church secretary for two years. Additionally, Becky worked as a kickboxing instructor for 5 years prior to joining URPG in 2016.

Becky has become actively involved with The Children’s Heart Foundation -  New York Chapter, while her daughter has lived with congenital heart disease her whole life. Becky eagerly supports other families navigate the complexities of living with this disease. Her entire family is dedicated to raising awareness and funds for research, to expand medical knowledge and treatment options for these very special children. They participate in the Congenital Heart Walk and Hospital Toy Drive annually, with the CHF in NYC.

Becky lives with her husband of over 20 years and their two teenage children. She enjoys walking, reading, board games and every activity that includes family.