Golden Trail Advisers LLC
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
#Life and Long Term C
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!
I would put a "freeze" on the creation of any new credit accounts and get the advice of your divorce attorney immediately. You need to find out who created these accounts and when they were created. These accounts may have been created fraudulently and/or in violation of the divorce agreement.
It might not be your responsibility to pay the balances. And even if you have the funds, the responsible party should pay. Otherwise, what would prevent additional charges to these accounts?
As you are getting your legal advice, you should call the credit companies and tell them what has happened. If these accounts were created fraudulently, the credit companies may seek payment from the responsible party. Or, they might write off these as bad debts.
When the dust settles, you can contact the credit reporting agencies with the proper documentation to "fix" any damage to your credit rating that might have occurred.
Good luck resolving this issue.
In almost all cases, a living trust could hold individual stocks. However, I have seen some trusts that exclude certain types of investments from their allowable holdings. For example, I have seen stock options excluded. If individual stocks were excluded from the eligible holdings in your trust, you could amend your trust so they would be allowable.
It is all the rage...FIRE: Financial Independence Retire Early. If you Google this, you will see many entries. However, to make early retirement work for you, it is best to sketch out your goals, dreams and plans for your 50+ years of "retirement."
We advise clients to retire to something, rather than from something. What is that something for you? Managing properties is more hands on than I personally enjoy. (I did this for about a year and then sold my interest to my business partners.) Would managing a portfolio of real estate be exchanging one set of work issues with a different set? Spend some time thinking through all aspects of what it would be like managing several properties. Whether you want to do this is a personal choice. Another consideration with real estate is the connection to the area. Do you want to have your resources further tied to the area?
The idea of retiring is scary for many people because there can be a lot of satisfaction in working (relationships, progress, doing a good job, etc.). Finding ways to replicate this kind of satisfaction in retirement can be a challenge. It might take some trial and error to find the right mix of activities, goals, recreation, etc. in retirement. Based on your resources, it looks like the financial part of early retirement will not be as hard as the other aspects.
Good luck with your plans.
I would advise against investing your money in cannabis. As my fellow financial advisor suggests, you should invest more broadly than one stock. However, you should not invest exclusively in the cannabis industry. Why not?
First, the cannabis industry is a long way from being profitable. To stay in the cannabis business, companies are borrowing heavily and/or issuing additional shares stocks (diluting the value of stocks already issued). This industry is in its riskiest phase and you do not have surplus resources to absorb a loss or wait potentially for many years until the industry might become profitable. The second reason is another source of risk in the cannabis industry: legislative risk. With the stroke of a pen, laws around cannabis could change dramatically. What might that do to an industry with high levels of debt and intense competition for sales? It could end up being a disaster for investors who are piling in on very high expectations.
I would advise someone in your situation to invest in a more diversified ETF or mutual fund. We invest client money in several ETFs that include many industries and, at the client's option, could include both stocks for growth and bonds for stability. If you wanted to do that, you could open up an account with one of the online brokerages, such as TD Ameritrade or E-Trade. Move your stock into your new account (they will help you). Sell the stock (they will help you with that, as well). Then invest the proceeds into all growth (stocks) or a combination of growth and stability (stocks and bonds). They can help you pick a fund to do that.
Another tip would be to start setting aside a small amount of money (1% of your pay?) into your new investment account, or even better, into your retirement plan at work. Then, whenever you get a raise, increase the amount you set aside by 1% or 2%. Over time, you will build your investment or retirement account.
Good luck. It's never too late to invest wisely for your future.