We are a community of financial aid specialists, college admission experts, student services coaches, and financial professionals that recognize that choices regarding college can have a significant impact on your financial wellbeing. We are experts when it comes to financial aid options and regulations. We help to build strategic plans for you to increase financial aid packages, scholarships, and grants to discount the overall out of pocket cost to you and your family. Below, you can get to know our team.
Founder – Financial Adviser
College Planning Specialist
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College Planning Specialist
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Thomas is the founder and president of Plan on College. He has over 15 years of experience helping families successfully strategize their college planning efforts while saving them money and time in the process. His unique blend of credentials as a licensed financial adviser and Certified College Planning Specialist allows him to provide a holistic approach to college and retirement planning.
After seeing countless families for financial and retirement counsel, most with their retirement savings in shambles due to the high costs of their children’s college, Tom had a vision of how familes could have the best of both worlds. He strategically positions clients for maximum grants and scholarships on their children’s college education while creating a financially secure plan for their retirement years.
Thomas is highly sought after as a speaker for private groups. He teaches classes on retirement and the college funding process regularly throughout Illinois and is an author/co-author of several books on college planning. He teaches adult continuing education classes on retirement income and tactical college planning strategies at the University of Illinois and other college campuses throughout the Chicagoland area.
In his free time, Tom enjoys activities with his family, reading, travel, sports and has a great passion for cooking. He lives in the suburbs of Chicago with his loving wife and business partner, Sonia, and two beautiful kids, Szymon and Natalia and their big, playful dog, Auron.
At Wealth Financial Group/ Plan on College, Kirk teaches clients how to spend with confidence throughout their retirement. He wants his clients to sleep well at night knowing their retirement income will be safe and secure. Through sound financial principles and education Kirk helps his clients have the peace of mind they deserve.
Kirk’s background in the financial industry is extensive, with over 12 years of client planning experience. He has dealt with a vast range of client issues – ranging from the simple to the complex. His number one mission is client education. He wants to work with you to ensure that you make informed, educated decisions that will best suit your current needs and enable you to achieve your long-term financial goals.
The one area that has created such havoc on Kirk’s clients’ is retirement, college expenses, year after year. Kirk provides unmatched services and support to those who want to pay the least amount of money for the best fit college for their child. Plan on College has created an environment that delivers the most possibilities for each and every child to succeed on their life’s plan.
Most importantly, you’ll find that Kirk is just a hoot to be around. Sometimes jokingly called “Captain Kirk” in the office, Kirk’s always ready with a quick smile and something funny to say. He’s a proud father of 8 children, a proud husband, and a quite accomplished Chef. Just ask him to cook you something and you can guarantee he’ll drop everything and head right to your kitchen!
As a career coach, Ms. Pelaez brings clarity, meaning, purpose and direction to the career development process. Her coaching method eliminates stress and anxiety and it is comprehensive and inspiring.
Her individualized and personal approach creates an invaluable working partnership that empowers the student and provides an early edge by focusing on their talents, strengths, interests, personality and values. She is the bridge between the gap of what is and the potential of what could be. Ms. Pelaez is passionate about her work with college-bound students and she is dedicated in helping them find their passion in life through career coaching.
Jessica began her journey with Plan on College in 2013 as an Administrative Assistant and has since transitioned into the Student Services Coordinator. Her passion for wanting to help others offers families reassurance during the most important years of a student’s life. She maintains a close relationship with clients throughout the entire process of working with Plan on College. Jessica is responsible for arranging the timeline of services specifically pertaining to each family. She also works hand in hand with each individual student to help narrow down their list of colleges that best fit their criteria. Additionally Jessica assists with providing research to college options, finding scholarship resources, and helps with the submission of all financial aid forms.
Jessica enjoys working with Plan on College because she likes being a part of a team that educates families on all options available to them and guides them throughout the entire college planning maze. She truly enjoys helping families find their college dreams.
On her free time Jessica enjoys long runs around the park, listening to music and spending time with her family.
Jackie is our College Funding Coordinator with Plan on College. She works with parents and students to educate them through the college planning process and ensures each family is moving smoothly along their individual timeline. She started her professional career working in a financial aid office, processing loans and guiding students through the FAFSA. Jackie’s firsthand experience with the internal processes of the college maze provides a vital asset to our team.
“When a college receives a student’s financial aid application, it is apparent if they have planned smart or not. After seeing many families forfeit financial aid dollars because of mistakes and finance entire degrees with loans, I felt a strong desire to educate families on the importance of planning ahead, before the FAFSA gets submitted. Because of ‘gainful employment’ laws, I was not in the position to give such advice while employed as a school’s financial aid advisor. That is when I joined the Plan on College team and found my calling.”
Outside of work Jackie enjoys baking and decorating specialty cookies. Her core mantra is “balance” so she equally enjoys staying active with yoga, boxing, and weight training.
Joseph began his career in the financial services industry in 2013 with Plan on College and Wealth Financial Group. He has 2 years’ experience in the industry and is Life and Health Insurance licensed through the State of Illinois. In his role as Director of Client Services, Joseph works with the college and financial professionals to establish an atmosphere of trust with their prospective clients, and answers any questions regarding the clients’ financial accounts. He is the client liaison and ensures that clients receive what they need and expect. Joseph’s passion to help people find their true fit is what makes him strive to do his very best for each and every individual.
Outside of the office, Joseph has been studying martial arts since he was 4 years old. He studied Tae Kwon Do for 6 years and earned his black belt. After that, he moved to new teachings. He began studying American and Muay Thai Kickboxing. He became an instructor and coach for his gym and continues to master his art. In his free time, you can find him with his family hosting large parties, dinners, and get-togethers almost every weekend.