We are planning enthusiasts. We are excellent listeners.
We are a renegade bunch of list-makers, financial gurus, and math geeks.
Because you want to be prepared when life’s transitions hit.

Here are our stories.

Michael Kay, CFP®

President,
Advisor
B.B.A. Accounting, Adelphi University

How you grow up factors into your life and financial decisions in a big way. My dad was a Depression baby, and worked two jobs as a teacher and a musician. He saved every nickel. My mom was a child prodigy violinist and had no problem spending. Discussions about money were generally “forte”. So, my money mindset eventually resolved toward a balance between thrift and spending. It was not a straight line.

I started working toward my true calling from an unlikely place. After deciding that a career as a trumpet player wasn’t in the cards, I earned my CPA and worked in public accounting for 10 years. It was my background in accounting and my passion for working directly with families that led me to Financial Life Planning.

Listening to your story and planning for the life you want makes my job energizing, rewarding, and well…awesome.

I founded Financial Life Focus because I wanted to work with people who put your success at the forefront of everything they do; people who understand that finding balance is a journey. We built a team whose expertise and working styles complement each other. We’re people first, and advisors second.

We all have pre-conceived notions about money, but you can build money habits that support your values. You can shape your own money mindset—although getting where you want to be may not be a straight line. Appreciate where you are; value where you’ve been. Let’s plan for your next.

Jeremy Levinn, CFP®

Advisor
B.A. Government, Wesleyan University

I was 10 and piano lessons were going well. My parents were inspired to find me a better piano and tracked down a woman selling an old six-foot Yamaha grand for $8,000 firm. My dad offered $7,000, but she wouldn’t budge. Feeling my heart’s desire slipping away, I piped in and offered her all the money I had to my name: $200. How could she say no to a 10-year-old? That piano still holds pride of place in my father’s living room.

It took a long time to save that $200 and it felt strange to spend it all at once. But this experience planted the idea that money is a means of realizing goals and reflecting values, not an end in itself. Up to that point, I had thought about how to acquire and hold on to money, but not about the best ways to use it. And at the end of the day, how you use it is what matters.

That’s ultimately what drew me to Financial Life Planning. You have to integrate unique personal values, life goals, finance, and a million other nuanced, and often intangible, personal drivers. You have to know what’s really important—and what is not. My passion is clearing the way for you to make financial decisions with confidence.

I feel very fortunate to have found a team of like-minded people at Financial Life Focus who are so passionate about the work we do.

Olga Raykhelson, CFP®

Advisor
B.A. Economics, City University of New York
M.B.A. Corporate Finance, Baruch College (CUNY)

I spent most of my formative years in Communist Russia, where you just didn’t talk about money. I only began to think about it when I was twelve and my entire family moved to the United States. We had two months to untether from the group that sponsored our arrival. My parents each had earned PhD’s, but none of us spoke English when we all secured whatever work we could to become—and remain—financially independent.

That experience taught me that we each have the power within us to get where we want to go.

Transitions happen (whether we want them or not), but you can use them as fuel to create the life you want. I will work through your finances with you until we uncover a way to meet your life goals—I’m tireless that way. You can’t necessarily plan for everything, but knowledge is powerful.

I’ve been in investment finance for over 20 years, and a devout New Yorker for almost 35.

I was one of the first advisors at Financial Life Focus in 1997. I’m fluent in Russian, English, and finance.

Hugues Rivard, CFP®

Advisor
B.A. Mathematical Economics, Colgate University
M.B.A. Kellogg School of Business, Northwestern University

I’m a hockey player and a complete math geek. I was studying with pre-med students at college (which is the level between high school and university in my home province of Quebec) and I was on the ice with my hockey team seven days a week. At the year-end banquet, I won Best Student Athlete—a prize that came with a trophy, $500, and a huge sense of accomplishment.

That experience stuck with me (I still have the boom box I bought with the prize money in my attic)—discipline, hard work and striving for balance do pay off.

I left Quebec to play hockey and study in New York at Colgate, later joining Goldman Sachs as a financial analyst. A couple of years on Wall Street and I was off to Chicago, pursuing my M.B.A. at Northwestern University.

It was my final stint in investment banking at CIBC Wood Gundy that convinced me: I needed to do work that was about the financial future of people, not companies.

I found my business soul mate in Michael Kay in 2006. We have mirroring philosophies on investments and personal finance, and agree that the goal in financial planning is overall satisfaction with life. Which is why today I coach my son’s hockey team—The Rockets.

Erin Peek M.D.

Associate Advisor
B.S, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Pennsylvania State University
M.D. UMDNJ, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

When you live off student loans and make close to minimum wage—which I did throughout medical school and my residency in emergency medicine—you don’t think about money other than bare-bones survival. It wasn’t until I finished my training and faced a stunning amount of student debt that the role of money in my life began to sink in.

Money was never an issue growing up—my parents took care of things while I buried myself in the science and sports that I loved. I never bothered to learn about money beyond carefully living on my earnings.

Fast forward to my fast-paced, outwardly successful life as an ER doc, with a husband and daughter I cherish. Unfortunately, the erratic shift work was creating chaos and my personal satisfaction was plummeting. The lack of routine made regular exercise and feeling rested challenging and the constant on-the-job stress of making life or death decisions weighed on me.

When I finally decided to take some time off to focus on my family’s quality of life, I began reading about the estate planning we’d delayed—and I became determined to teach myself about money so I could trust we were making the right decisions. But it wasn’t until I heard a financial life planner speak at a conference that I realized I’d found my next career.

After I peppered him with questions, the speaker introduced me to Michael Kay and I started a whirlwind of research and coursework—and now, an internship with Financial Life Focus. My ultimate goal? To help others in stressful careers make great decisions on using their money to live a more balanced and fulfilling life.

Patrice Nicita

Client Service, Office Manager

In 2011, I had the surreal and unforgettable experience of watching my house burn down. I watched a fireman take off his boots and give them to my husband, who had no shoes. I watched—humbled—as friends and neighbors gave us what they could—clothes, a place to sleep.

It reminded me of the absolute necessity to give it if you’ve got it.

My friends joke that I won’t spend a dollar on a ringtone (seriously—it adds up!), but they know I’ll give what they need at the drop of a hat. Especially now.

When I started at Financial Life Focus, I was the only administrative person. The key to managing a growing office is keeping everything moving in perfect harmony. I look for something that needs to be done, and I do it. What kind of office manager would I be without a “can do” attitude?

It’s exhilarating to be a foundational part of a growing group of people who change lives for the better. Together, we’re building something meaningful.

Kathy Molinaro

Client Service

My father taught me that good deeds don’t go unnoticed. While my mom was sick when I was 10, I took over running the household until she recovered. To show me that he appreciated what I’d done, my dad bought me a green radio shaped like a ball—it was all the rage at the time. I loved that radio, but feeling that what I did mattered to my dad meant more.

He passed away too soon afterward, but I will always remember his gesture of gratitude. It instilled in me the philosophy that if you put people first, you’re always rich.

I try to live and work by that.

I spent 10 years supporting the business development staff at Nabisco and then worked part-time and as a stay-at-home-mom for six years so I could raise my three boys.

When they started school in 2005, I joined the team at Financial Life Focus. I love nurturing and inspiring my two “families”—it makes me feel connected to everyone, and rich indeed.

Ashley Fox

Client Service

It was a nearly ideal situation for anyone in his or her early 20’s, but I asked my parents to take me off the dole. I was moving in with two of my girlfriends, who had both been financially independent for a while.

My mom was proud of me, and a little confused by my urge towards independence—she still wanted to play Momma Bear. I knew that my parents struggled to help me get through early adulthood without missing a single credit card or car payment, and I wanted that responsibility off of their plate.

Contributing to my team—my family—makes me truly happy.

I want people who call or walk into the office to know that they’re in good hands just by the way that I greet them. I want them to feel at home.

Financial Life Focus functions like a family. I fell in love with the people when I first walked through the doors, and I’ve been here since 2007.