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Website Contributors

Theresa and Mark Kotch

Theresa and Mark Kotch have been married for 31 years and are the founders of Our Plan for Life. They have raised threeTheresa and Mark Kotch children and are now grandparents to six grandkids with the seventh due in a few months. As a couple, they are actively involved in preparing couples for marriage. For the last nine years they have prepared couples for marriage by making them aware that they are no longer a ME and but they are becoming a WE.

“We have the pleasure of seeing a lot of wedding pictures from couples with whom we work” states Theresa Kotch. She continues, “Our goal is to see that happy smile and sense of excitement we see in these pictures today many years down the road”. “The mission of this site is to provide current and valuable information to a couple to plan for the next 20 to 30 years of their life together,” states Mark Kotch. “Couples that are in relationships have questions and we think this site can help them find the answers.

Being a full time Realtor, Mark has helped many couples purchase their first home. Mark has noted that couples starting their lives together have a lot of questions that deal with finances, relationships and personnel growth, but do not always have the clear direction to get those answers. The goal for A Plan for Life website is to bring together the “experts” within their field that can provide answers and long term guidance for a strong future together.

You don’t need to be married to use this site, so please check it out and let your friends know about it. Check back often for updates and new posts about the things you want to know. We welcome your input, so please contact us if you have any questions or comments. This is your site and we want to be of service to you to build an even stronger foundation in your relationship.

Let the conversation begin…….

Mike Rosa – State Farm

Although Mike Rosa didn’t take a direct career path, he eventually did find the right one for him. Mike started his educational Mike Rosa – State Farmcareer as a student of Mechanical Engineering. With only three semesters left before he received his degree, Mike realized that this was not his calling. His dream was to be a business owner and have control over his own destiny. As a result, he left college and joined the Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) union to gain training in hopes of opening his own company. However, after three years of learning the ropes, he decided that this wasn’t the right path either. Mike then became a Realtor after meeting so many successful ones. Six years later, he pursued purchasing his own Real Estate office in hopes of realizing his goal of being a business owner. As Mike spoke to his State Farm Agent about his pursuit, the agent in turn introduced him to the State Farm Agency. This was where Mike was meant to be.

He started his career with State Farm in 2006 as an Agency Intern. He received six months of intensive training to become a State Farm Agent. Not only was this a training period but it was also an extremely long interview process. Mike’s hard work paid off when he opened his own office in June of 2007. Mike believes that some companies make insurance a commodity but he says it is much more. “Insurance helps people recover from the unexpected and protect what they have worked for,” said Mike, which is why it is important for couples to spend a little time with a good insurance agent.

Mike has been married for almost ten years to wife, Maria. They have one son, Gavin, and another one is on the way. Mike and his family currently live in San Ramon where they have been for 8 years. In Mike’s free time he races and rides off-road motorcycles.

Jill Daniels - Nutritionist

Jill DanielsAs a Midwest girl at heart, Jill grew up in Illinois even though she has lived in California for most of her life. She has four athletic brothers so it was inevitable for her to also become an athlete. Even though Jill has been a Registered Dietitian for 15 years, her interest in nutrition started long before then. She played collegiate and semi-pro volleyball at University of California Riverside which is where she realized that her diet had a huge impact on her performance.

Jill has a Master’s Degree in Nutritional Science from San Jose State University and is a Board Certified Sports Dietitian, which is the premier professional sports nutrition credential in the United States. She is also a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD) and has a Certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management. Jill is an Intuitive Eating Counselor as well. In addition to her credentials, Jill was also the Director of Nutrition Services a ClubSport in Pleasanton for 11 years and has now been in her private practice for 4 years.

Jill has designed numerous creative and successful programs that help people increase their energy levels, maximize their metabolism, and develop healthier relationships with food and their bodies. Jill also believes it is important for couples to maintain a healthy diet so they can learn the best way to take care of their bodies and enjoy life to the fullest, with great energy levels and excellent health.

Jill has worked with thousands of athletes, athletic teams, individuals and groups helping them achieve improved performance, better health and leaner bodies. She provides practical solutions that bring results and long-term success.
In Jill’s spare time she enjoys traveling – hopefully soon to Africa, Italy, Norway and Greece – and learning about new places to try to experience how other cultures live. Jill enjoys working out, especially yoga, cycling and swimming, and other hobbies like baking and spending time with friends and family. She also volunteers with high school students at Valley Bible Church.

Lisa Fairchild – Family on the Edge

Lisa Fairchild, Family on the EdgeLisa started her professional career with over 20 years in Human Resources but switched gears to become a life coach in 2007. Even with a MBA in Human Resource Management from Golden Gate University, going through a divorce provided Lisa with the opportunity to redefine her work and life. She was referred to her now business partner, Carol Satterlee, who she hired as her “What do I want to do with my life” coach and in turn, has gained her own coaching certification through Coach U and is a member of the International Coach Federation.

As a coach for Family on the Edge, Lisa assists individuals to “mind the gap” between the life they have and the life they imagine. In addition to coaching, presentations and workshops, Lisa is actively involved in her church where she serves in a leadership role and is a member of a local Business Networking International (BNI) chapter.

Coaching is a wonderful way for couples to tend to issues, challenges and bumps that arise from transitional events that occur over the course of a marriage. Lisa says when people get caught up in daily responsibilities, they tend to neglect caring and nurturing themselves and their relationships. Being a Family and Relationship Coach allows Lisa to have her work align with her values and integrity and also allows for her skills and experience to transfer to her personal life.

Lisa loves to garden, explore her creativity, cook, and see the world. She plans on traveling to Europe in 2011 and although her itinerary has not been finalized, Prague is definitely a top priority for Lisa to experience. Lisa has a son, Nick, and two step-daughters, Tania and Danielle. She also enjoys the role of “Mae Mae” (or grandma) to her grandchildren.

Bill Heidt – New York Life

Bill HeidtBill began working in the Life Insurance/Financial industry in 2004. Since then he has worked in the largest financial advising, brokerage and life insurance firms in the nation. Bill knew this was the right path for him when his clients started sending him referrals. Life insurance can be complex and intimidating for many people because it is unfamiliar. Having sold over 2,500 life cases, Bill comes to the table with a lot of experience and breaks down complicated products and concepts to achieve his client’s goals more effectively. He noticed that people appreciated his simplicity, which further made him feel passionate about his career.

Having such a diverse working knowledge of Life Insurance puts him in the top five percent of all agents in the nation. In addition, some of the plans that he helps to implement for his clients are: estate planning, Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT’s), basic life Insurance (Term, Universal Life and Whole Life), and many other advanced planning concepts.

Bill graduated from California State University, East Bay in 2004 with a major in Finance and minor in Economics. Bill is a Million Dollar Round Table Agent (MDRT) and has certifications in Long Term Care, Disability Insurance, Annuities and Health and is currently and Executive council agent with New York Life. In addition, Bill is working towards completing his CLU and CFP designation courses.

Bill says that starting a family brings a new kind of financial stress – rent or mortgage payments, car payment or even a child. The problem relies in the question, “What if something were to happen to one of us?” How would the bills get paid, how can I pay my mortgage, how can I feed my baby? Having life insurance is the only financial vehicle to cover the if’s in life.

Bill enjoys anything outdoorsy. He has been racing mountain bikes and dirt bikes for the last 14 years. He also takes pleasure in snowboarding, wakeboarding and water skiing and aspires to complete a triathlon. As a new Livermore resident, Bill and his fiancée, Lauren, are looking forward to their upcoming wedding in August 2011 at Wente Winery.

Tom & Mary Jo Smith – Relationship

Tom & Mary Jo SmithAlmost everyone inevitably asks how Tom and Mary Jo met considering that Tom is originally from California and Mary Jo from Minnesota. Interestingly enough, they started their relationship in Australia. They had both gone there to teach and wound up in the same town but at different high schools. It didn't take Tom and Mary Jo long to realize that they had a very special relationship once they met and within eight months they were married and settled in California. They have now been married for 36 years and the past 30 years residing in Pleasanton, California. They are now blissfully retired but both put in their years at two different national laboratories: Tom retiring from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory early in 2006, and Mary Jo retiring from the National Food Laboratory in late 2005. They consider themselves extremely fortunate to have worked so close for so long – the short commutes allowed for them to spend more time together and long-term jobs instilled a feel of security and purpose.

Tom and Mary Jo have three children: Tyler is 34, Mia is 33, and Andrew is 29. All three of their children came to them from Korea at three separate times but they quickly adapted into the loving Smith family and participated in the usual childhood activities like soccer, Scouts, piano, band, and church. Now, their children are all grown and Tom and Mary Jo have two beautiful grandchildren, Callie and Max.

Mary Jo and Tom have long been involved in a number of church ministries. In addition to Tom’s 29-year dedication to the choir and Mary Jo’s leadership in the Parish Council, they have also worked together as a couple in Baptism Preparation, Confirmation Preparation, Engaged Encounter, Marriage Care, and as Wedding Coordinators. They enjoy working as a team and having the opportunities to meld their different strengths and gifts while continually growing their relationship.

In their spare time, Tom and Mary Jo enjoy sharing the all-consuming hobby of home improvement. They are almost always involved in planning, coordinating or implementing some new house project. Tom loves gardening and Mary Jo is often working on one or two needlework projects for a family member or friend. Finally, the Smith’s love to travel and hope to venture off to Egypt and South Africa.

Marge Jensen– Marketing (CEO, TouchStone Marketing)

Marge is the owner of TouchStone Marketing, which specializes in strategic branding and marketing for businesses in the greaterMarge Jensen - TouchStone Marketing Bay Area.  She develops integrated marketing programs for businesses looking to get their name and company out in the public to build market share. Her experience in all aspects of traditional and online marketing makes it easy to build a program that reflects the company’s products and services.

Since 1997, TouchStone Marketing has worked with a broad range of clients, guiding them through a creative process that ensures the final product communicates their message clearly and effectively.  Marge’s products range from logo development, print brochures, websites, and social media tools.

As a corporate speaker, business consultant and entrepreneur, Marge has traveled the US bringing her experience in sales, marketing and business development to audiences. Marge has a long track record of successfully selling and marketing products on a worldwide basis.  One of her greatest wishes is to take a one-month vacation without a laptop or phone.

Marge has been the recipient of the SBA Small Business of the Year Award in 2004, California Downtown Association Crystal Eagle Marketing Award in 2004 and the John Solomn III Leadership Award as voted by her MBA classmates. 

Marge was a member of the Leadership San Ramon Valley class of 2007. As a volunteer, she chaired the Tom Burnett Foundation Golf Tournament, volunteers for Girls for a Change, the YMCA in fundraising, and the Valley Children’s Museum.

Marge also commits her time to many local professional memberships such as the Kiwanis of San Ramon Valley, BOD, PR and 2010 Kiwanis-Danville 4th of July Parade Chair, Leadership San Ramon Valley Board of Directors, Board Member of Alamo Chamber of Commerce, Toastmasters, Past President and Officer, Business Network International, BNI, Chapter Founding Member, the Danville Area Chamber of Commerce, Past Board Member, and the San Ramon Chamber of Commerce, Past Marketing Chair.

When Marge is not working with clients, she is busy writing two books and is currently enrolled at UCSF to obtain a Masters in Internet Marketing.  She earned her BS from Creighton University and MBA from St. Mary’s College in Moraga.

Debi Zentner – Diversified Mortgage

Debi ZentnerAs a mortgage professional since 1993, Debi Zentner knows this area is one of the biggest financial decisions of a person’s life – one that directly impacts a person’s financial future.

“One of the leading causes of divorce is financial difficulties and the stress that accompanies them,” said Debi. “Also, divorce is the number one reason for people filing bankruptcy. Discussing money issues, planning a budget and saving plan is essential for any married couple or any couple thinking about marriage.” Debi also says that couples need to spot money problems early and attack them together to avoid disaster. She really enjoys the opportunity of showing her clients all their purchasing options and thoroughly explaining the mortgage process.

Debi obtained her Paralegal Degree from Santa Clara University and is a Certified Mortgage Planning Specialist (CMPS). She also achieved the Diversified Mortgage Group President Award for 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 & 2010.

In Debi’s free time, she loves to travel and garden in her yard. She married her high school sweetheart 32 years ago and has 2 daughters – one graduated this year from Santa Clara University and the other is a junior at St. Mary’s College. She intends to run two 5K’s this year and hopes to continue her achievement of the President’s Club at Diversified Mortgage for the next five years. Finally, Debi looks forward to taking her three one-week vacations each year.

Beth Cassidy – Attorney, CPA, Trust, Wills

Elizabeth Cassidy (Beth) is an attorney with two main practice areas, estate planning and taxation. She is in the process of obtaining certification for legal specialization in estate planning, trust and probate law. Beth helps her clients in all aspects of home and rental property ownership, from tax planning to filing tax returns, as well as creating a customized estate plans. Beth believes that estate planning is especially important for purposes of avoiding probate, nominating guardians for minor children, making decisions about distribution of assets to children or other beneficiaries, and setting forth wishes for healthcare.

Beth is a graduate of the University of Kentucky School of Law, where she was an editor on Law Review. Prior to establishing her own practice, she was a tax attorney with the Internal Revenue Service for nine years and also was an associate in the business litigation department of a large law firm in Los Angeles. Currently, Beth has her own practice in downtown Livermore at 486 So. K Street.

Beth strives to offer personalized service and availability to her clients at all times. She lives with her husband Bruce in Livermore where she enjoys golfing, reading and traveling when time permits. She loves dogs and has three canine companions, Oscar, Suzie and Bennie. Beth is an active member of Livermore Rotary and Chamber of Commerce.

Matt Wright – Financial Planner

Matt WrightMatt Wright remembers reading in his older brother’s high school economic text books when he was eight years old, beginning his interest in finance. Growing up in a house with nine older brothers and sisters, understanding concepts of scarcity and supply and demand came in handy.

Matt attended University of Nevada, Las Vegas to pursue a double major in Hospitality Management and Business Finance. Through prior work experience, Matt started to really pay attention to his own personal financial statements and think further ahead rather than about the next week or month. “Once I began working on my own financial life, I realized how rewarding helping others do the same thing could be,” said Matt.

Matt has now been in the financial services industry for 13 years, starting in 1998 with his father-in-law. He became a partner in the firm in 2005, with assets under management at that time around $35 million. Today, they have over $75 million of client investment assets under management. In Matt’s time at the firm, the country has seen two asset bubbles burst (technology stocks in 2000, housing in 2008) and two recessions with accompanying bear markets – one being the worst economic and stock market meltdown since the Great Depression. Despite the downturn, the firm has almost tripled in size over the past ten years.

“One of the biggest mistakes married couples make is to avoid talking about money,” said Matt. “It’s extremely important for married couples to establish guidelines on how they will handle finances early on in marriage. When you’re falling in love, the last thing you’re thinking about as you gaze into their eyes is “I wonder if they’re maxing out their contributions to their 401(k)?” It’s vital to share with your loved one how you were raised to look at, think about and handle money. Too many marriages end because of financial stress.” Matt has received his Series 7, 24, and 65 licenses from FINRA (the self-regulatory organization for the financial services industry). 

Matt grew up on a family farm in southeastern Idaho. He owes everything he has learned in life to his father, the hardest working man he has ever known. Matt and his wife, Julie, have been married for 18 years. They have five children ranging in ages from 14 down to age 5 (Madisen, Zac, Lauren, Mallory & Jaxson). Matt enjoys coaching his children in golf, baseball, tennis, and basketball – the same sports he grew up playing. In addition, Matt is a volunteer on the board of directors for the local baseball league. Matt is also a volunteer with Boy Scouts of America. 

The Wrights are very active in their faith and love family outings and road trips. Matt hopes to prepare his children to someday take over the family business and is determined to play a round of golf on the Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland before he turns 50.

Sue & Ted Selna - Relationship

Sue & Ted SelnaTed and Sue Selna met at a friend’s party in 1958 and dated for two years while they were in college. They married in August of 1960 in Los Angeles but quickly found their newlywed bliss developed into little sleep and domestic challenges when they happily welcomed twins (girl/boy) to their new family. Ted and Sue lived in Southern California until October 1993 when they decided to make the big moved to Pleasanton, California.

Ted and Sue always made an effort to spend quality time together at least one night a week as well as making going to church as a family a priority. They believe that marriages change almost daily so it is important to continually understand the changes and work to improve life together. These changes are due to the responsibilities of children, dealing with in-laws, job commitments and just the simple fact of getting older.

Nowadays, the Selna’s are happily retired. Ted spent his days as an aerospace engineer where he was often traveling for business in addition to his long hours. Sue, being a homemaker, was utilized and appreciated for being a mother-at-home. Since retirement Ted and Sue have learned how to live together nearly 24 hours a day and discovered all the difficulties of having to share everything. It took some time to find a new kind of harmony. As Ted's Aunt Virginia used to say, "I married you for better or worse but not for lunch."

Ted and Sue have five children: one girl and four boys. All of them have their own families with unique identities. They feel blessed to have a warm and loving relationship with all of them but sometimes they rue the day that they instilled the importance of being so independent. Ted and Sue also feel extremely lucky to share in the always challenging but fun lives of their eight grandchildren.
Ted and Sue have belonged to Catholic Engaged Encounter for ten years, coordinated marriage care for their parish for eight years and continue to present talks to the engaged at their local church.

In their spare time, Ted enjoys gardening, wood working, collecting miniature cars and working and showing off his 1964 1/2 Mustang. “I am proud to have owned it since it came off the assembly line,” said Ted. Susie likes spending her time cooking, entertaining their friends and being in the company of her grandchildren.

Ted and Sue still have a little more traveling they would like to do with Ireland and Hawaii on the list of places they want to revisit. Their large family spreads from California to North Carolina so every three years they all meet at Disney World in Florida.

Vicki Espiritu – Writer/Editor

Vicki EspirituVicki Espiritu graduated from California State University, East Bay in 2008 and has a BA degree in Communications. Her "fun" courses of emphasis included Graphic Design, Advertising Management and Media Law. With a hidden knack for writing that did not emerge until college, she found her natural stride when it came to writing articles in her Journalism and Public Relations courses.

Currently, Vicki works as a Marketing professional but one day hopes to become a full-time writer. Her aspirations include writing a novel but thinks it could be challenging since she never stops moving long enough to be able to complete one.

Vicki is an avid swimmer and has participated as a competitive swimmer since the age of four. She has an ingrained will to win – whether against a competitor or herself and never settles for “good enough”. She has been a member for Tri Valley Masters Swim Team in Pleasanton for five years and believes the team has helped to shape her as a person with fun, friendships and fitness. Vicki has used her design skills for events the team hosts like the National Open Water Championship in 2010 at Lake Del Valle in Livermore.

Vicki and her husband, Brian, married in October 2008 and purchased their first home last year in Livermore, California. With their effort to swooped on the great housing prices, the Espiritus feel they have had to experience more than most new home owners with their fixer-upper home.

Vicki is still working on her “bucket list” but wishes to travel the world with her husband at their leisure with Italy, Spain and New Zealand at the top of her list. Finally, she loves being welcomed home to her dog, Tahoe, and anything active like yoga, a good laugh or just sitting at the beach.

Michael Krueger

Michael KruegerMike Krueger opened his law practice in September 2010. He started his professional career as a law clerk for the firm Loughrey & Woelfel in Walnut Creek. Mike was unsure if law was the right pathway for him until his second year at Valparaiso University School of Law when he worked as a law clerk near at a firm near Chicago but he found gratification when he received a thank you card from a client after settling a difficult case and helping her through the hard experience. Prior to opening his own practice, he worked as in-house counsel and VP of operations for Catalyst Financial, a business and financial advising company with offices in San Francisco and New York.

Mike has focused his practice in downtown Livermore on business law and personal bankruptcy. “Understanding bankruptcy law allows me to advise young couples on the best way to handle debt,” said Mike. “California is a community property state. This means that any money earned or debt incurred during the marriage is assumed to be shared 50/50. If one spouse has a large amount of credit card debt the debt could be shared by the other spouse.” Mike has a license to practice law in California and lectures at Dominican University in the Green MBA program.

Mikes enjoys taking advantage of the great hiking trails and golf courses in the Tri-Valley area. He also can be found running, snow skiing, fishing and camping. One of Mike's long-term goals is climbing a 14,000-foot mountain. Mike has known his wife, Erin, since his first semester of law school and credits her for helping him graduate and pass the bar exam. They currently live in Livermore with their Norwegian Elkhound puppy, Osa.


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