Carlos Sera

Carlos Sera
  • Founder of Sera Capital Management, LLC
  • Co-Founder of Chicago Wealth Management, Inc.
  • Registered Investment Advisor
  • Speaker on Financial/Investment Planning
  • Fluent in Spanish – First Generation Cuban/American
  • Author of Financial Tales Blog
  • Johns Hopkins University – BA – Natural Science – 1980
  • University of Rochester – MBA – Finance and Applied Economics – Honors – 1982
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Recent Posts

E Trade Adaptive Portfolio Review - A Millennial Tale

Posted by Carlos Sera on Aug 23, 2016 12:34:35 PM

"How Investment Advisors Hurt Millennials and How Millennials Hurt Themselves"

As the father of four Millennials, I am angry at the blatant disregard Investment Advisors show towards Millennials.  The most egregious disregard is the recent advent of automated investing as a way of catering to the investment wants, not needs, of Millennials.  It is clever marketing but it is bad for the Millennial and bad for this country.  Anytime, you cater to a want and not a need you should probably be selling a luxury good.  But in this case you are selling a necessity.  Saving money for retirement is a necessity and when companies cater to a person’s wants instead of their needs they are only serving themselves. 

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Topics: Stocks and Bonds, millennials

An Idiotic Tale - The Idiot Son - 50% Stocks 50% Bonds

Posted by Carlos Sera on Aug 16, 2016 1:26:23 PM

This is one of my favorite tales because it involves my father, his friends and investments. In this tale I am the idiot son. I left Legg Mason in 1990 and started my own advisory firm. I no longer wanted to dish out conflicted advice as a commission compensated advisor and had to focus my energies on succeeding as a fee-driven advisor. For those that are unfamiliar with the 1990’s, they were a very good period for stock market returns.

I started managing my father’s money professionally in 1987 and have continued to this day. However, I was under the umbrella of a large firm until 1990. This gave my father a sense of security. He was apprehensive when I told him my plans for starting my own firm and though he didn’t say it our show it, I assumed that he also had some hesitancy about me managing his money on my own. He was 64 years old, he was going to place his trust in a 32 year old and the bulk of his money was going to some discount broker named Charles Schwab. I know he had to feel that way because many of my clients at Legg Mason were reluctant to transfer their portfolio and entrust me with their money under these new circumstances

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Financial Calculators - More Harm Than Good? A Draining Tale

Posted by Carlos Sera on Jun 20, 2016 10:46:33 AM

I was recently at lunch with one of my long-time clients and her recent college graduate grandson.  We of course were talking about money and no money conversation is complete without a discussion about rates of return.  The grandson brought up the topic of financial calculators and that he had been playing around with them.  He wanted to know if they were something of value. 

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Topics: Volatility (finance), Volatile Tales, volatility drain, financial calculator

Are Target Dated Funds the Best Option?

Posted by Carlos Sera on Feb 26, 2016 12:14:29 PM

To determine if defaulting employees into Target Dated Funds or Glide Path Funds is a good thing, one must first examine the alternatives. An examination of the history of asset allocations by employees before Target Dated Funds were the default option tells us that it is.

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Topics: Articles, retirement

What Is Tax Efficiency?

Posted by Carlos Sera on Jan 8, 2016 11:00:00 AM

Have you ever heard the phrase tax efficiency or tax efficient portfolio?  Whenever I hear it my muscles tighten up, I get a little nervous, I lean forward to hear better and prepare to be wowed.  Not long after, whatever the opposite of wowed is, I am.  Once I realize that nothing has changed on this topic since the advent of governments taxing people on their investments, I scold myself for allowing this topic to capture so much of my attention.  Nevertheless, I have never written a piece on this topic and thought I would share my thoughts.  I urge you to prepare for some wow.

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Topics: Articles, Taxes

The Financial Advice I Wish I'd Known Then

Posted by Carlos Sera on Jan 6, 2016 8:30:00 AM

One of my favorite musicians is Bob Seger. I saw him perform live while in college and he left a lasting impression. The first time I heard the song “Against the Wind” I was living in Seger’s hometown of Detroit, and the song only elevated his status. I think it is brilliant; containing one of the most poetic and philosophical lines of any song: “Wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then.”  As soon as I heard it, I knew it would be part of my permanent collection of things to ponder.  While he wrote it as mid-thirties musician reflecting on his teenage years, it is applicable at any age looking backwards.     

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Topics: finance, Behavioral Tales

Why Diversification is Temporarily Broken: A What to Do Today Tale

Posted by Carlos Sera on Dec 23, 2015 9:32:00 AM

This tale is a major departure from my other tales.  The last time I actually made a market call was in October of 2008.  It was a bullish market call since it was clear to me that stocks were cheap, quality Blue Chip stocks were paying high and sustainable dividends, and the future of the stock market would be one of reduced volatility. 

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Topics: FINANCIAL TALE, Stock market, Volatile Tales

Why Shouldn’t I Use a Financial Checklist?

Posted by Carlos Sera on Dec 23, 2015 8:30:00 AM

"So Carlos, what do you think about when you step up to the tee on a par 5?"  

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Topics: Investing, financial checklist

3 Barriers to Successful Investment Returns

Posted by Carlos Sera on Dec 9, 2015 4:25:11 PM

What Is Holding Back Your Investments?

As the old saying goes, "When you lose 100 percent of your money on an investment, no matter how much you put in, it's all gone." 

Watch our short video below to learn about:

  • The top the barriers to success in your investment returns 
  • Which one of those barriers is the worst offender 
  • What investment management goals you should have and why
  • Why it's so important to understand market unpredictability
  • And much more... 
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Topics: Stock market, volatility

A Financial Tales Philosophy Blog: "What Do CNBC and ESPN Have in Common?"

Posted by Carlos Sera on Nov 12, 2015 3:30:00 PM

A long, long time ago in what seems like a galaxy far, far away, I was a graduate student doing my best to master finance and economics.  There was this one great professor with a mission - it was to teach us to think.  Our twicee-a-week assignment was to read what others had written about finance, economics or business and to find a flaw or fatal assumption.  Each class, we had to come prepared to expose the faulty writing, incorrect assumption or some other clear violation of what, at that time, was the “only one and true way” to view money, finance and economics.  Our source material was the universe of publications and one of our favorites was the Wall Street Journal, the business section of most any newspaper, as well as countless business magazines.

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Topics: Articles