Get to Know Us Better

The Wealth Financial Group team is dedicated to providing the best information and guidance for your retirement. Our team is comprised of our home office staff – located in Buffalo Grove, Illinois and our independent advisors – located throughout the United States. Below, read about each individual team members and our diverse portfolio of life experiences. We feel like a family here, and hope that you’ll feel the same when we meet!

All|Financial Advisers|Financial Professionals|Support Team|Executive Team

Kirk Ashburn

Financial Professional

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Kirk Ashburn

Kirk Ashburn

Financial Professional

Get to know Kirk
Hometown:Altoona, PA
Birthday:August 24th
Favorite Food:Risotto
Favorite Movie:Ratatouille
Favorite Color:Black
Favorite Hobby:Hunting, Fishing and Cooking
Favorite Quote:“Anyone can cook, but only the fearless can be great”
- Chef Auguste Gusteau
Favorite Team:Pittsburgh Steelers

About Kirk

Kirk Ashburn has been with Wealth Financial Group for 4 years. In that time, he has become an integral and invaluable member of the WFG team. Kirk spends most of his days meeting with clients, helping them discuss their financial questions, goals, concerns and needs. More importantly, Kirk’s mission is to ensure that all of the clients he meets with continue to get the service and support they are looking for from WFG.

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. No matter what you might need help with, you can feel confident in Kirk’s broad array of skills.

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!

Jim Barnash

Financial Professional

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Jim Barnash

Jim Barnash

Financial Professional

Get to know Jim
Hometown:Chicago, IL
Birthday:February 15th
Favorite Food:Meat loaf with mashed potatoes and gravy
Favorite Color:Red
Favorite Hobby:Hiking, biking, and travel
Favorite Quote:“The strength of the wolf is the pack; the strength of the pack is the wolf.”
- Rudyard Kipling
Favorite Team:Cubs, Bears, Blackhawks and Bulls

About Jim

Jim is a financial services professional with over 30 years of experience. His background includes insurance, investments, retirement planning, income planning and estate planning. In his varied experience, Jim has had his own financial planning and advisory practice, managed, trained and developed other advisors and been a leader of his professional association on the national level. Jim is the former President and Chairman of the national Financial Planning Association, the world’s largest association for the CFP® professional.

An often quoted financial professional and a talented public speaker, Jim connects well with people of all backgrounds and demographics. Having taught the CFP® coursework for 10 years, Jim has an educational style that is highlighted with stories and analogies making challenging topics come to life in understandable dialogue.

Jim is a native of the Chicagoland area growing up in Chicago proper. He moved to the Near North Suburbs after getting married to his wife Kathy and having their daughter, Stephanie. Jim and Kathy are now proud grandparents! A graduate of DePaul University in Chicago, Jim has remained active with his alma mater helping students find their careers post-graduate, teaching adult educational courses and with fund raising, especially around scholarships.

In his spare time Jim loves to hike, bike, travel, read and watch his beloved Chicago sports teams.

Damian Barnes

Web Designer

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Damian Barnes

Damian Barnes

Web Designer

Get to know Damian
Hometown:Bolingbrook, IL
Birthday:October 27th
Favorite Food:Sushi
Favorite Movie:Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Favorite Color:Blue-ish
Favorite Hobby:Soccer, Camping
Favorite Quote:"My one regret in life is that I am not someone else"
- Woody Allen
Favorite Team:Chicago Fire, Blackhawks

About Damian

Damian was born and raised in Illinois, just outside of Chicago. Right out of high school, he began college as an architecture major at the Illinois Institute of Technology. After a few years, he realized that he was far more interested in the actual design process than the technical side, so he changed gears. Switching majors, he graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a BFA in Graphic Design.

After graduating, he worked as a freelance designer for several years, taking on jobs here and there while also working as assistant manager for Ace Hardware (to pay the bills). Eventually he took a job as Creative Marketing Strategist for a large company. There he had to “wear many hats”, and, among other things, began a more in-depth focus into web design for the several internet properties he helped manage.

When the position became available, he jumped at the opportunity to join Wealth Financial Group, becoming their in-house web designer.

When not fully absorbed by a computer screen, he can be found relaxing with his 5lb chihuahua, enjoying the outdoors, drinking coffee, or eating.

Tom Chrobak

Adviser

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Tom Chrobak

Tom Chrobak

Adviser

Get to know Tom
Hometown:Sieniawa, Poland
Birthday:July 16th
Favorite Food:Sushi, French Food, My Mothers-in-Law’s Roast Duck
Favorite Movie:Green Mile, Powder
Favorite Color:Blue
Favorite Hobby:Hockey, Soccer, Skiing
Favorite Quote:“A fool with a plan is better than a genius with none”
- T. Boone Pickens
Favorite Team:Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Bears

About Tom

Tom Chrobak is a financial advisor, speaker and author with over 15 years of experience in the financial services industry. Tom is famous for helping families that didn’t save enough for retirement get back on track. Tom, along with his wife Sonia and their team, empowers his clients to build financial legacies beyond their lifetimes, while preserving their estates to pay a life time of tax free income during retirement years. Tom is dedicated to educating his clients on how utilizing optimal asset allocation and holistic financial planning strategies they can thrive in these uncertain times and reach all of their financial milestones.

In addition, Tom is one of select few financial advisors to receive the designation of Certified College Planning Specialist (CCPS), a designation that enables him to position his clients for maximum grants and scholarships on their children’s college education. As a result, Tom is very experienced in helping high net worth families save ON college, not just FOR college at the nation’s leading universities. Helping them to avoid ‘raiding’ their retirement accounts by showing them how to pay for college in addition to and not instead of, their retirement.

Tom is often sought after as a speaker for private groups and provides workshops on retirement strategies and the college funding process regularly throughout Illinois. He is an author/co-author of several books on college planning.

Tom enjoys reading, travel, sports and has a great passion for cooking. He lives near his family, in the suburbs of Chicago with his loving wife and business partner, Sonia, two kids, Szymon and Natalia and their big, playful dog, Auron.

Joseph Cordaro

Director of Client Services

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Joseph Cordaro

Joseph Cordaro

Director of Client Services

Get to know Joseph
Hometown:Lake Zurich, IL
Birthday:March 14th
Favorite Food:Khinkali (Georgian Dish) and Sausage & Peppers
Favorite Movie:A Bronx Tale, Open Range & The Hunted
Favorite Color:Black
Favorite Hobby:Kickboxing, Shooting, and Hunting
Favorite Quote:“Practice what you preach”
Favorite Team:Calcio Catania and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

About Joseph

Joseph began his career in the financial services industry in 2013 with 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 financial planners and professionals to establish an atmosphere of trust with their prospective clients, and answers any questions regarding the clients’ accounts. He is the client liaison and ensures that clients receive what they need and expect.

When Joseph was 4 years old he found his passion in martial arts. He studied Tae Kwon Do for 6 years and earned his black belt. After moving to another suburb he found his next art, American Kickboxing. He studied American Kickboxing for 10 years and became an instructor and coach for his gym. He currently is studying the art of Muay Thai and continues to learn something new every day.  During his training in martial arts he also had another passion, horses. Joseph trained horses, and was a volunteer trail guide for a local ranch for 5 years. You can find him spending his time with his wife Tatia and hosting large family parties, dinners, and get-togethers almost every weekend.

Cliff Helfer

Accountant

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Cliff Helfer

Cliff Helfer

Accountant

Get to know Cliff
Hometown:
Birthday:
Favorite Food:
Favorite Movie:
Favorite Color:
Favorite Hobby:
Favorite Quote:
Favorite Team:

About Cliff

Chelsea Jaskowiak

Office Manager

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Chelsea Jaskowiak

Chelsea Jaskowiak

Office Manager

Get to know Chelsea
Hometown:Hubertus, WI
Birthday:March 20
Favorite Food:Italian
Favorite Movie:Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Favorite Color:
Favorite Hobby:Spending time with friends and family
Favorite Quote:“I may not be the most important person in your life, but my wish is that when you hear my name you think to yourself ‘That is my Friend’”
Favorite Team:Green Bay Packers

About Chelsea

Chelsea was born and raised in Wisconsin and graduated from the University of WI Eau Claire with a BS in Biology. Shortly after graduation, she moved to Austin, TX to take care of her niece and while there, began working part time as an Office Manager for a food distribution company.

She moved back up to Illinois to be closer to her family and started working as a Physiotherapist at a Chiropractic office.

Eager to start something more challenging, she started her career with Wealth Financial Advisory and has enjoyed being the Office Manager since 2013. She has a passion for making sure everything in the office runs smoothly and looks forward to what lies ahead at Wealth Financial Advisory.

When Chelsea is not working she can typically be found relaxing with her friends or family or indulging in her love of cooking!

Gabriel Lewit

COO & Co-Founder
Adviser

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Gabriel Lewit

Gabriel Lewit

COO & Co-Founder
Adviser

Get to know Gabriel
Hometown:Chester, VT
Birthday:May 30
Favorite Food:The "Thanksgiving Meal"
Favorite Movie:Gravity
Favorite Color:Blue
Favorite Hobby:Playing Soccer
Favorite Quote:"Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness is largely a matter of conscious choice.”
- Jim Collins
Favorite Team:Chicago Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks, Fire & White Sox (In that order!)

About Gabriel

Gabriel Lewit joined his father, Steve Lewit, in his financial practice right after graduating college in 2006. At the time, the business was small, yet successful. Soon after, Steve and Gabriel realized they wanted to reinvent the company’s image, philosophy and client goals. Together in 2008, they brainstormed and launched what is now known as Wealth Financial Group, changing the name and embarking on a revitalized client approach and mission.

Since that time, Gabriel passed his Series 65 examination, and launched Wealth Financial Group’s sister-company, Wealth Financial Advisory Services, LLC – to offer additional investment portfolio and wealth management opportunities to clients of Wealth Financial Group and Wealth Financial Advisory Services. As a representative of WFAS, Gabriel is focused on providing clear, candid and unbiased investment advice to all of the company’s clients.

Gabriel is a true believer in work-life balance. Frequently, you can find him spending time with his family, his amazing wife, Dede and his friends. Gabriel is also a die-hard Chicago sports fan, including an avid Chicago Bears and Chicago Bulls fan. When not rooting for the Bears to win every Sunday, Gabriel is often found on the soccer fields in Chicago and the surrounding area – where he plays in many competitive Sunday Soccer Leagues. He also loves to travel, was a snowboard instructor for 7 years, is a technology/computer enthusiast, attempts to cook (not very well) and loves to eat out at the local Chicago restaurants.

Steve Lewit

CEO & Co-Founder
Adviser

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Steve Lewit

Steve Lewit

CEO & Co-Founder
Adviser

Get to know Steve
Hometown:New York, NY
Birthday:December 6
Favorite Food:Sushi
Favorite Movie:The Matrix
Favorite Color:Blue
Favorite Hobby:Reading, Philosophy, and Golf
Favorite Quote:"You cannot run away from a weakness. You must sometimes fight it out or perish. If that be so, why not now, and where you stand?"
- R.L. Stevenson
Favorite Team:Chicago Bulls, New York Giants, New York Yankees

About Steve

Steve Lewit has an extensive career in the financial services industry. Starting over 20 years ago working in the health insurance field, Steve realized that he wanted to provide more comprehensive financial services to his clients above and beyond health insurance.

Steve focuses primarily on comprehensive retirement planning and income planning, utilizing a combination of techniques and experience gained from helping hundreds of clients successfully improve their finances and their lives. Steve is driven by his clients’ success – nothing is more rewarding than creating a successful plan for a client to help ease or eliminate their financial stress, worries and fears.

Steve has also been quoted in, interviewed by or published in many top-name financial publications, including the Wall Street Journal, RTT News, InsuranceNewsNet, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and Worth Magazine.

Steve is passionate about spending time with his family, wife Jessica, his children and his grandchildren. He also has a love (and sometimes it’s a tough love) with golfing – and you can frequently find him working on his putting, chipping and swinging skills at the driving range. Steve also spends much of his time speaking in front of and coaching other financial professionals in the industry. He is also an avid philosopher, economist, opera enthusiast, tennis coach, reader and traveler.

Lauren Martin

Graphic Designer

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Lauren Martin

Lauren Martin

Graphic Designer

Get to know Lauren
Hometown:Crystal Lake, IL
Birthday:April 18th
Favorite Food:Sushi
Favorite Movie:Mean Girls and Cruel Intentions
Favorite Color:White
Favorite Hobby:Home improvement projects
Favorite Quote:"On Wednesdays, we wear pink :)"
Favorite Team:All Chicago teams, except the Cubs

About Lauren

Growing up, Lauren watched her father, a graphic designer, create images and layouts and became fascinated with graphic design. She has a Bachelor’s of Science degree from Illinois State University in Marketing with a focus on Advertising/Promotion. She began her time at Wealth Financial Group 4 years ago as the receptionist/office manager. After a year she was offered the opportunity to pursue her interests in design and jumped at the chance.

When not at work, she enjoys spending time with her husband and son. She also enjoys home improvement projects and interior design.

Kelly Moore

Director of Client Services - WFAS

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Kelly Moore

Kelly Moore

Director of Client Services - WFAS

Get to know Kelly
Hometown:Redlands/San Bernardino, California
Birthday:December 22
Favorite Food:Asian, Mexican and Italian. I grew up with my Mother cooking so many ethnic foods; we had an interesting upbringing
Favorite Movie:I have many favorite movies. Grease, Gone with the Wind, Dead Poets, Society, Forest Gump, Ferris Beuller's Day Off and many, many more!
Favorite Color:I like warm hues and some bold ones as well, but if I had to choose one I would say, I love Royal Blue!
Favorite Hobby:I help raise money for the National Scoliosis Foundation, Pediatric Cancer Research and Ronald McDonald Charities
Favorite Quote:“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you EVERYWHERE”
– Albert Einstein
Favorite Team:The Cubs, Bears and Blackhawks, of course!

About Kelly

Kelly Started her financial career as bookkeeper for the accounting firm Lindsay Wineberg and Associates in Los Angeles in the late 80’s and early 1990’s where she managed the accounts of many well-known celebrities in the entertainment  industry until she re-located to Chicago in 1994.  She left the entertainment industry and took a few years off found her new calling in the new construction, home building industry where she flourished as a purchasing and design coordinator until the housing collapse in 2008.

She found her way back into the financial world in 2010 when she started working for an affiliated agent of Wealth Financial Group and then made the smooth transition to Wealth Financial Advisory when the company launched.

When Kelly is not working, she spends her time off with her family. She has three grown children; her oldest being her daughter Megan (27)who is married and a mother of two, her son Michael (26), a father of one and her son Korey (25) who is single and back in college.

Kelly’s youngest, Kaylin (14), just started High School this year and is completely ecstatic about learning how to drive soon.  They spend time together with their family and friends helping to raise money for Pediatric Cancer Research and Rosie Rose’s fight against brain cancer as well as Ronald McDonald House Charities.  Kaylin and Kelly also raise money on their own in partnership with the National Scoliosis Foundation to help with Scoliosis research since Kaylin’s diagnosis at age five.  Of course, last but not least, along with her life partner Gordon, who is a semi-retired chef, they all enjoy spending time creating wonderful meals for their family as well as exploring new areas for shopping and eating on the weekends.

Steve Thomas

Chief Compliance Officer - WFAS
Adviser

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 Steve Thomas

Steve Thomas

Chief Compliance Officer - WFAS
Adviser

Get to know Steve
Hometown:Mitchell, SD
Birthday:September 4
Favorite Food:Steak and Corn on the Cob
Favorite Movie:All the Star Trek Movies (except the 1st one, Air Force One, All the Indiana Jones movies (except the last one)
Favorite Color:Blue
Favorite Hobby:Golf and Gadgets
Favorite Quote:"DOn't quIT"
Favorite Team:Minnesota Vikings (although most years it is VikQueens), Tiger and Adam Scott - Golf, Roger Federer - Tennis

About Steve

After a year of college following high school I decided that I wanted to be a “rock star” so we took our band on the road for 2 years. After learning that being a rock star was more about who you know than how talented you are, I decided to pursue my second love – flying. So I went to flight school in TX for 2 years and received my BS in Aviation with a minor in Computer Science and Meteorology. Unfortunately I graduated in the same year that President Reagan decided to deregulate the airline industry and put about 8000 pilots out of work. So this lead to my entry into the financial services business with a friend of mine from college. I spent the next 17 years in the insurance, mortgage, and securities sales business. This was followed by 12 years in retail where I started my own company and was involved in several business including TMG Production (a Sound, Lighting, and Staging Concert Production business), TMG Transportation (an over the road trucking / car hauling and used car sales business), TMG Financial Services (insurance sales and brokerage business), TMG Electronic Services (a repair service for consumer and professional electronics business), TMG Music (a retail music store business). After the sale or closing of those businesses, I took a job as the Chief Compliance Examiner for the State of South Dakota.  In my 8 years with the state I conducted over 400 office examinations and worked with various state regulators through NASAA (North American Securities Administrators Association) and the SEC. This led to an offer from RIA in a Box / Lexington Compliance to help administer and expand their ongoing compliance division. In my 4 years there the compliance clientele grew from 27 to over 600. One of those clients was Wealth Financial Advisory Services, LLC.  After 2+ years of discussions with Gabriel and Steve Lewit and Kurt Arseneau I accepted their offer to become the Chief Operation Officer and Chief Compliance Officer for WFAS on July 1, 2014. After 52 years in SD we are now making the move to the Buffalo Grove area.

I have been married to a wonderful woman Deanna who has “put up with me” for 33 years now. We have 3 children – 2 boys and a girl who are all on their own. One lives in New York, one in San Francisco, and one in Sioux Falls, SD. We are looking forward to a new chapter in our lives. I am “live” on the golf course when I am not working or spending time with the family so I am looking forward to checking out many of the courses in the Chicago area.

Michael Watkins

Financial Professional

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Michael Watkins

Michael Watkins

Financial Professional

Get to know Michael
Hometown:Richmond, VA
Birthday:December 15th
Favorite Food:Big Ole Fat Steak/Baked Potato/Super Salad
Favorite Movie:What About Bob
Favorite Color:All Blue spectrums
Favorite Hobby:Outdoor activities, Golf, Travel, Creative writing
Favorite Quote: “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence… Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” -Calvin Coolidge
Favorite Team:The “Buclightingrays” – All Tampa teams

About Michael

Michael started his investment career in 1999 trading stocks and commodities. He soon realized his passion was helping people plan for a successful retirement and a secure financial future. To better serve his clients, Michael became an Investment Adviser Representative as well as a Registered Financial Consultant (RFC). As an Investment Adviser Representative, Michael acts as a fiduciary to his clients, which means he is bound by legal duty to always put his clients’ best interests first. With his knowledge and experience, Michael focuses on helping clients to safely and efficiently make the transition from the Accumulation Phase of investing into the Preservation and Distribution Phases – their retirement! Michael has a rare ability to blend balanced, holistic financial advice in an easy-to-understand approach, helping provide his clients with confidence and peace of mind about their financial future. Michael manages the Wealth Financial Group Tampa Bay office which is located in Oldsmar, Florida making it very accessible from Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough counties.

Michael regularly holds workshops teaching pre-retirees about Social Security Strategies and he is the Founder of “Social Security Saturdays”™.

Michael has been a Pinellas County resident since 1980 and he is married to his wife Annie and they have three daughters and five grandchildren.