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Michael Sedlak

Personal Finance, Retirement, Investing
“Mike Sedlak, Principal of Golden Trail Advisers, helps his clients to continually refine their personal financial plan to meet their ever-changing financial goals.”

Golden Trail Advisers LLC

Job Title:

Founder, Principal


Mike Sedlak, founder and managing member of Golden Trial Advisers, LLC. advises executives, business owners and individuals on their financial planning and investments. Since 1998, Mike has worked on cases with people at all stages of their financial lives, from establishing savings targets and investment portfolios to developing business and estate transfer strategies. Mike is an investment analyst by training. He sets investment policy at Golden Trail Advisers, including holdings acceptable for model portfolios.

Mike has a high level of education and credentials in the financial services industry. He has broad designations such as his MBA from Northwestern's Kellogg Graduate School of Management. Mike has specific designations such as Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), and Certified Exit Planning Advisor (CEPA). Mike also has securities licenses through the supervisory level. Mike is a recognized authority on estate planning from a financial planning perspective. He has taught an "Advanced Estate Planning Concepts" course for the Exit Planning Institute, a national organization for advisers.

Mike's depth of financial education and experience enable him to advise clients on a broad range of financial issues. One specialty is the transfer and use of wealth for the next generation. In addition, for clients who own a business, Mike is experienced and credentialed as a CEPA adviser to guide business owners through the transfer process (including estate tax minimization). For business owners, transferring or selling the business can be the most important financial decision in their lives.

Mike has held top leadership positions in volunteer organizations including the YMCA (head of Southwest Adventure Guides) and the Rotary Club of Hinsdale (President, Vice President and Board Member). Mike lives in suburban Chicago with his wife and two children.


MBA, Business, Northwestern University
BS, Business Administration, University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign

CRD Number:


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Should I use most of my savings to pay off my student loans?

I agree with my colleagues that there is no one right answer to your question about paying down student loan debt. 

If you go by "the book," you would set aside 6-12 months of expenses between you and your husband.  You would then add the amount of out-of-pocket expenses for the possible birth of your child to get the amount that you should keep in cash (or a high interest savings account as has been suggested).

Let's say your expenses are $8,000 a month, for example, and it will cost you $5,000 out of pocket to have your baby.  You should leave $53,000 ($8,000 x 6 months + $5,000) in a high-interest savings account and use the remaining $23,000 to pay down student loan debt.

Why six months contingency fund instead of 12 months?  With a two-income family, we recommend six months of contingency because with one income still accruing (assuming it's about 1/2 the household income), the contingency fund should last about 12 months.

I hope this helps you with your decision.  Good luck with your family!

1 week ago
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Should I pay collections accounts in full just to stop them from hurting my credit score?
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Can I hold individual stocks in my living trust?
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1 week ago
    Retirement, Investing, IRAs, Real Estate
I have $300,000 to invest; is early retirement on my horizon?
3 weeks ago
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I am invested in one stock and have no retirement savings; how can I diversify into other industries and begin saving for retirement?
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3 weeks ago