Meet The Team
The team started in 2004 with Brian’s goal of helping families not make the same mistakes he made during the college process. With the cumulative experience of 12 amazing team members, College Planning Experts is dedicated to helping students get into the “Best Fit” college, get FREE money for college, and most importantly helping families fund college without going broke or using all of their life savings/retirement!
The College Planning Experts
Brian Safdari is America’s leading authority on getting your child into the college of their choice without using all your savings, sacrificing your current lifestyle or going plain broke. After his personal tradegy of getting injured playing soccer and counting on a big athletic scholarship, he was left in the dark his senior year wondering how to afford college. After incorrect advice, he turned down his dream school of USC and got himself in over $50,000 in student loan debt. After his painful college experience, he decided to devote his life and career helping kids and parents learn the truth about the college planning process and what it takes to get accepted to any college of the child’s choice, receive thousands of dollars of financial aid, regardless of income or assets, and properly fund for the cost of college without going broke.
Brian has been featured in LA Times, Daily News, The Signal Newspaper, SCV TV, AM 1220 KHTS radio show, and as seen on many TV channels such as Fox News, USA network, Bravo, E network, ABC family, Food Network, TLC, Tru TV, VH1, Animal Planet, Lifetime Movie Network, Oxygen, CNN, and much more. Brian has helped raise over $121,000 in charitable contributions to many non-profit organizations and been awarded by The US House of Representative, Congressman Howard Buck McKeon, Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, California State Assembly, County of Los Angeles, California State Senate, California Legislative, City of Los Angeles, City of Santa Clarita, and more.
Brian is a member of : National Institute of Certified College Planners, National Association for College Admission Counseling, Western Association for College Admission Counseling, Toastmasters International, Ambassador at Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce, San Fernando Valley of Commerce, Better Business Bureau, National Association for College Funding Advisors, National College Advocacy Group, Higher Education Consultants Association, National Collegiate Advocacy Group, and Santa Clarita Valley Concierge.
Raised in the San Fernando Valley, Brian was a four-year varsity soccer player. As Chatsworth High School’s soccer captain and center midfielder, he was one of the highest ranked soccer players in the West. He was a player for Valley League, an Olympic Development Program, for the California State Team, and for the US Junior Tournament Team at the France ’98 World Cup.
Brian had many NCAA Division I colleges recruiting him in his senior year to play soccer. He was banking on a full athletic scholarship and made no other college plans. When a career ending injury took college soccer off the radar for Brian, he was lost. Brian was the first in his family to attend college and did not have anyone to turn to for advice. He decided to attend CSUN and live at home since he thought it was the least expensive plan because he did not understand the financial aid process. After procrastinating and making multiple mistakes on his financial aid forms, Brian took on over $50,000 in student loans.
In 2003, Brian met his mentor, Ron Caruthers, the nation’s leading expert on college planning. Brian decided to devote his career to teaching and guiding families through college planning process to save them from making the same mistakes he made.
Brian has worked with over 1,000 families helping them attain their college dreams. His clients come from as far as Palm Springs and attend educationally diverse schools from junior colleges to Harvard University.
He is the co-host of the monthly smash hit radio show “College Planning Secrets EXPOSED!” on KHTS 1220 AM, Wednesday afternoons from 1:00 to 2:00 PM. Brian has also published his own book College Planning Made Easy
Initially Johanna became associated with College Planning Experts as a parent. After her son was accepted to a private university she had no idea how she would pay for it. Like most families, she had saved some money for her son’s college, but soon realized that it would not even cover the first year’s cost of attendance. Being the eternal optimist, Johanna knew that “if there is a will, there is a way”, and she just happened to see an article about a Free College Planning Workshop for families to attend on “How To Get Free Money For College”. So, she and her son attended the Free Workshop where College Planning Experts opened her eyes and taught her how to save thousands of dollars for college, take control of a very complicated administrative process, and most importantly, showed her and her son how to attend the college of his dreams. Her son has successfully completed his undergraduate in 4 years and has moved on to get his Masters degree in his 5th year. Johanna’s positive experience with College Planning Experts made such a lasting impression that now she is sharing that knowledge with other parents, teachers, counselors, principals, and employees of local businesses by coordinating free workshops, college planning parties, and on-location expos for businesses and the local community.
Nir has been with College Planning Experts since 2007. He started as the Financial Aid Specialist and has had the opportunity to work in different capacities. After high school Nir attended CSUN where he majored in Engineering. Because of lack of direction and knowledge he was not able to get the classes he “thought” he needed so he pursued his lower division math classes at Pierce College instead. He proceeded to take all of the available math classes he could, thinking that is what he would need in order to transfer. Once two years came around, he thought he was ready to start at CSUN, but had no idea that he needed to complete all of the general education courses in addition to the math courses. He wishes that he would’ve known to seek out assistance from an advisor, but didn’t even know he needed it, or where to look for it. In his free time he likes to spend time with his wife and his dog Nico.
Nathan is a Southern California native, born and raised in Bakersfield, where he attended high school and college. Nathan was an athlete in school and maintained a 3.80 GPA while doing so but he didn’t take advantage of any guidance during his high school years. Because of that, Nathan neglected taking the SAT’s and had no choice but to attend his local Jr. College. After squandering around trying to figure out what he wanted to do in life, he spent an extra year at his Jr. College not realizing that the financial aid he was receiving to pay for school was only good for 4 years. He wasted a whole year of financial aid due to a lack of planning and not seeking out guidance.
Once Jr. College was completed, he found out that if he wanted to transfer to a 4 year University and continue his education that he would have to pay full price for his final year of school since he wasted an extra year of financial aid at his Jr. College. Knowing that his final year of college would have to come from out of pocket and that his family would not be able to afford the rising cost of college, he decided to head into the work force.
Now Nathan is a proud father of 2 young boys and wants to make sure his son’s don’t go through the same mistakes that he made in regards to receiving a higher education. After a lot a research he found College Planning Experts. After learning about all the mistakes that he made when going through the college planning process himself and being so impressed with the passion that College Planning Experts had for helping him and others navigate the daunting task of planning for college, he joined their mission of “No Parent Left Behind” to help create a generation of parents that understand what it takes to get their child into the best fit college without sacrificing all their savings, retirement, or going plan broke.
High School & College Counselors
Angela has been a member of the College Planning Experts team since 2010, when she started as the College Counselor. Currently, she is in charge of the Financial Aid and Student Planning departments. She is the counselor for transfer students from various community colleges and college students interested in changing schools. Before joining the team, she was a public High School College and Guidance Counselor for many years. She also worked as a Financial Aid Advisor and a Program Advisor at the community college level. She has a Bachelor Degree in Liberal Studies, a Master’s Degree in School Counseling and a Pupil Personal Services Credential. She also has a Certificate in College Counseling from UCLA Extension. She is also an instructor for other Counselors in the UCLA Extension College Counseling Certificate Program. In her free time Angela enjoys spending time with her husband and stays active by chasing around her two young kids.
Nicole joined College Planning Experts in 2013. Before joining the team, she was a public High School College and Guidance Counselor. She received a Masters Degree in Counseling with a Pupil Personnel Services Credential from St. Mary’s College of California in Moraga and a Bachelors Degree from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Nicole is the counselor for students currently in Middle School or High School. When she is not helping students achieve their college admission goals, she enjoys living a healthy lifestyle and spending time with her husband and family.
Marie has been the Financial Aid Specialist at College Planning Experts since 2012. She joined the team after working as a Financial Aid Advisor at a private school in Florida. She graduated from the University of Central Florida cum lade with a Bachelor’s Degree in Theater and a minor in Early Childhood Education. She has extensive Federal Financial Aid training and many years of experience as a Financial Aid Advisor. Her goal is to help families throughout the overwhelming and daunting process of Financial Aid. She takes pride in helping alleviate the stress and confusion of the financial aid maze and is passionate about helping families and students achieve their college goals. When not helping families maneuver the financial aid puzzle, she enjoys living an active and healthy lifestyle and the arts, including musical theater.
Laura joined College Planning Experts in 2012. Her financial planning experience began in 2005, in addition to her extensive experience as a District Trainer for Farmers Insurance. As the College Funding Specialist Laura reviews all family’s financial situations thoroughly in order to provide a solid approach to funding college while keeping their retirement and other goals intact. She assists all families in developing and implementing a plan for them to be able to send their child to their best fit school while not interrupting their current cash flow or lifestyle. When she is not helping families achieve their college funding goals, she enjoys traveling and spending time with her husband and daughter.
Genessy has been a member of the College Planning Experts team since 2006. Before joining our team, she was in the real estate industry. She is a graduate of Alemany High School and attended Pierce College because she wasn’t aware of any other options. She didn’t know what she wanted to major in. She quickly decided that she would rather enter the workforce than dabble in random classes at Pierce College. In her free time she enjoys traveling and spending time with her husband, 2 kids and 3 dogs.
Christine joined College Planning Experts in 2007. Before joining the team she was in the mortgage industry. As the Client Services Manager she administers and coordinates all communication, interaction and administrative aspects for our new and current member families. In her free time she likes to spend time with her family and her dogs.
Monica has been a member of the College Planning Experts team since 2011. She joined the team after completing a yearlong internship at College Planning Experts. She has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management from CSUN, where she was an active member of her sorority, a member of the cheerleading squad, swim team and a new student orientation leader. She administers and coordinates workshops, and assists new and current families with the administrative aspects of being a member of College Planning Experts. In her free time Monica likes to spend time with her family and attend concerts.
Gary was a Senior at Bishop Alemany High School in 2008, and wasn’t sure where he wanted to go for college. His first option was CSUN, but after attending a free College Planning Workshop, Gary and his family became knowledgeable of the current college system and how he could possibly attend a private school cheaper than a state school.
Gary and his family joined College Planning Experts in 2008 to find the best fit school and realized there were more options than attending a local state school. With help from The Experts he narrowed his selection down and chose to attend Whittier College. He recently graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Administration (Marketing) and started his working career in 2013 as a Marketing Assistant for College Planning Experts. He hopes to encourage families to start planning ahead of time to maximize opportunities.